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Entomology: fly life in rivers and lochs

Started by Black-Don, February 17, 2011, 09:40:09 PM

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whinging pom

Quote from: deergravy on February 24, 2011, 10:37:51 PM
Very true.
Deer hair sedges and sedgehog-type patterns are, by some distance, the flies I use most often on northern lochs. I've never thought of them as sedge imitators at all, even when figure-of-eighted across the surface in a rather sedge-like fashion.

Strange how trout will take a seemingly good imitation of a natural fly they usually ignore!

The answer maybe in just trigger points rather than full on imitations. I tend to tie as simple as possible. So losing flies to the Hawthorns along our overgrown banks isn't quite so painful. Tails and wings seem superfluous, whereas size, shape, footprint and good dragfree drift is what I concentrate on.

It would be intersesting to see this season how many of you guys fishing the lochs and catching on the dry 'sedge' patterns, spoon out a few a see if they are actually ignoring the naturals.
I am happy to go along with the taste like 'shite' theory. Frank sawyer certainly felt that was the case with some of our favoured offerings. mayfly's for instance (and i wouldn't argue with him!).
But G+H sedges and sedgehogs are undeniably great fish catchers on running and still waters. why?
I think a few of the posters have had some interesting conclusionsand may have come close with the theories that despite huge numbers that we see the caddis from above the surface, it is really more of an opportunist snack on the water for the trout.
There are few times that we see trout locked onto them, in the way we see BWO's and Caenis exclusively chosen. But a few of the sedges do seem to get this response, micro caddis (hydroptila) is one that springs to mind on our particular water, hydropsyches ( grey flags) are another. I am sure that Rhyacs would be too but as they're return to the water is usually at the end of dusk and into the wee small hours I tend to be not at the river when they could be an offering.

One thing that I expect we will see from these threads is that no two waters are really the same and what seems a 'given' for us in Northhants is complete bollocks for some one in the Great Glen or even Ayrshire. We have to come to each water with a different assumption


This thread reminded me of this.

The air, motorway and front of the car was covered in them.

The Large Red Sedge is waited on with anticipation up at Hillend every year. The fly men with their imitations and the bait fishers with a live sedge off a bubble float take a lot of big fish off the surface on many a June night :)
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Carried it in full, then carry it out empty.

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whinging pom

Quote from: wee bri on February 26, 2011, 05:46:43 PM
Steve, Col,
In my reccollection of Brian Harris' article he was giving an explanation of his general lack of success during grousewing hatches. Particularly as they seem to often occur in those evenings when the wind falls away to a flat calm.
I did say that in desperation he ate a few of them himself and said they tasted crap.
I no way could this ever equate to a trouts sense of taste though surely.
His remarks were tongue in cheek.
Apologies for any confusion.

wee bri.........

I am reluctant to keep going with taste issue as I don't think in this its the case of why we seem to see caddis in large numbers above or near the water, but in some cases few appear to be taken taken on the surface.
Nor is it the point i was making,I was just trying not dismiss another posters ideas out of hand.
The taste issue and do trout taste or care, is a distraction from this thread and deserves it's own discussion,.

But to qualify why i don't totally dismiss it totally, is due to the writings of Frank Sawyer, who seems to be as great an observer of the natural worlds to do with fisheries as we have seen write or broadcast on the subject.
He looked at why certain flies that dominated some hatches were widely ignored, for smaller morsels. From memory these tended to be the silt living Nymphs such as Mayflies. When the river was in poor condition and the silt's sour, huge mayfly hatches could be pretty much ignored. Whereas when the river had been cleaned up and the PH raised this abstinence seemed to reduce.

I do think with sedges it is to do with the habits and behaviour of the caddis themselves , the Trouts need to be efficient in taking in food..... Preferring consistency of the food lanes.
And also the periods of activity for many of the  caddis species falling outside the times we are usually at the water ( we know this from setting surface traps over night and seeing whats hatched or fallen). So we may not actually be seeing the peak activity.
Certainly with micro caddis which get great response on our stream the main activity seems to be way past the time you can still see to tie knots on, and as the naturals are about the size of a size 20 hook. Beyond my abilities to deal with i am afraid.

I sorry I should have written 'Plant material' rather than weeds, that was careless of me.

Female Welshmans button Sericostoma personatum Another wide spread and very common caddis that seem to be with us throughout much of the season.
Personatum is Latin for a mask of a face held on a stick. Like used at masquerade balls.
This caddis is identified in the field by the huge Palp/ mouthpart, covering the face and looking like it is holding one of these personatum masks.
In the photo she has dropped it down so it sticking out front from the face. Usually though it his held up, making the head appear over large.


Education is important.
But fishing is importanter

Clan Ford

A damsel fly nymph - just caught it in my fish tank!


whinging pom

Sounds like a sound theory.
I have mentioned the fluttered take off before, which involves a chase. We get a number of trout each year making what look like desperate leaps to dislodge a Silverhorn from its flight above the surface, these seem to be smaller trout... but maybe that's just my memory and possibly says more about the size of our trout.  Whether they are sucessfull or not I have never really been able to tell but a few times when the silver horns are about i have had trout jump at my fly just as its about to land. ( I am willing to concede that this is such a rare occurence in the amount of casts that I do a season, that it just could be coincidence that a trout is jumping just near where i am casting... theyr'e fast but surely not that fast!)

The micro caddis make fast runs just below the surface at dusk and into the dark. You can see these as V wakes on the surface with no apparent cause. But the trout learn to target them and get the knack of hitting the trajectory... no mean feat. And lets face it a micro caddis cant pack much protein in return.
Caddis with a long flight period like the Cinnamon's, that need to take on water to sustain the many days or weeks, do those crazy dives where they seem to smash the surface like ovipositing, but are up and gone again in an instant must drive the hungry trout nuts.
I see all sizes of Ephem drifting down as hatching nymphs or drying the wings ready for take off from small dark olives up to Mayflies that seem to drift for 20 or 30 yds. But sedges i never really get to see doing this.
You could well be right, unless they are dead in the food lane,it seems they are rarely a casual feed.


Does anyone have any pictures of a pre-emerging, ascending Caddis/Sedge ?

whinging pom

I have been looking for you but they seem as rare as hens teeth. Staurt Crofts is on holiday in Eygpt at present if he ever gets back i will ask him if he has any images that i can post up.

Meanwhile heres Two WelshmansButtons making babies..... look at the enlarged head on the right as the give away.


I had a copy of trout Fly Recognition delivered today.
In pretty good nick with postage and packing it was only a tenner.

Just need to get my kick sample net sorted now.



Looking through some files I came across these and thought they might be of interest.



Don't worry, be happy.
Carried it in full, then carry it out empty.

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