Mayflies have two Penises

“Aquatic entomologists place little emphasis on body color when attempting to identify a mayfly species. They collect virgin, male, mayfly spinners, and dissect them to clearly see their penes (mayflies have two). They then count the spines on the penes and compare them to photos in books to identify each species. There is no way to be sure of the species from a female spinner, and you may not be able to tell from a nonvirgin male. No kidding! I couldn’t make this stuff up.”

see ? as seemingly far-fetched, mind-boggling, thought-provoking and mostly giggly because it’s not like these two thingies are going to double their pleasure..,  as much as i like to make up shit i didn’t make up this post’s title either.

seeing how some aquatic bugs breathe through their butts and then all the others do all sorts of other weird things, that one little fact (ok, two) doesn’t help us all that much if we’re trying to match a hatch on the stream but it’s all good to know because well, knowing is better than not knowing, it’s cool and this kind of stuff is just a reminder that fiction usually isn’t so far-fetched after all. the weird and mostly wonderful is all around us and it’s real.

crazy chiro m.fauvet-TLC 3-6-16
sometimes it’s a little confusing. can you name these bugs ?

Paul Weamer’s excellent article, Understanding Mayflies on Fly Fisherman -via Erin Block’s super-duper Tippet section at MidCurrent- doesn’t give us all the answers either but goes a long way in getting to know our little friends a little better.

click either pick to access the complete article and please excuse the fact that the main character in the second image isn’t a mayfly but hey, it might turn into one if you stare at it long enough… enjoy !

Two flies for Friday

just sent in by buddy Trevor Hayman, a Large Dark Olive spinner – Baetis rhodani
“Quite a few of these around on the (Southern England) chalk streams right now.”

Trevor Haymen Large Dark Olive spinner

this kind of ultra-lovely bug image gets me going in a good way. i wish i was on those chalkstreams right now but that’ll have to wait till next month so, to get in the mood i immediately went to the local café, ordered a double espresso and got to work on making a few somewhat dark olive imitations for the trip. i’m feeling really positive about this one !

friday's candy fly m.fauvet-TLC 6-6-16

thanks again Trevor !

“I look into … my fly box, and think about all the elements I should consider in choosing the perfect fly: water temperature, what stage of development the bugs are in, what the fish are eating right now. Then I remember what a guide told me: ‘Ninety percent of what a trout eats is brown and fuzzy and about five-eighths of an inch long.'”

~by Allison Moir, “Love the Man, Love the Fly Rod”, in A Different Angle: Fly Fishing Stories by Women~

interestingly enough, in many if not most conversations amongst fellow anglers it would seem that those two ‘philosophies’ or rather, approaches fall into an either/or category. maybe because i have a hard time sometimes making my mind up about some things… i rather prefer to take the longer route and combine both.
after-all, observation, and not only for the sake of being a more efficient fisher is just part of the whole experience, besides, staring at the water all day makes me dizzy.

there really isn’t much to say about the ‘brown & fuzzy’ approach. pick, tie on, cast and present but before doing all that the lookers however have the possibility to use at least two more senses, vision and hearing (ok, it’s not like we can usually differentiate different species of bugs by their sounds but at least we can be alerted to their presence if they buzz around nearby). the more obvious methods being turning over stones from the riverbed, watching hunting birds, using a kick-net, or simply see what’s floating downstream or flying by.
Moir’s quote reminded me of another trick i was taught as a kid: search for spiderwebs. our little eight-legged friends do a great job at collecting and giving us the chance to have a rather perfect view of what the fishes might be eating.
if we’re lucky we might even get the chance to see the spider coming in for the feast ! (which is of course enthralling and would probably mean missing out on some fish and finally resorting to using ‘brown and fuzzy’ to make up for lost time…. )

bugweb Speyside TLC 5-13
Speyside chironomid display, Scotland

related articles

caddis portraits

i’m going off to talk to the trout  for a few days next to the Norwegian border and wanted to leave you some creepy-crawly caddis portraits for your enjoyment.
there may or may not be internet connexion but i’ll try to post at least some images during the stay.

and the weirdest and rarest one of all, a USNM Trichoptera

image source: Google Images

enjoy and have a great week-end !

not imitations

photos by Mårten Lindhé

what i’m noticing more and more are fly tiers focussing on imitating other fly tier’s imitations rather than the naturals. true, very effective fishing flies don’t necessarily have to have a lot of detail and many, many of these effective flies don’t really look at all like their model… but i kind of see this situation similar to when a story gets passed on from word of mouth: it always gets transformed at each telling and often to the point where the end has little to do with the beginning. anyhow, here’s not only some eye candy but hopefully a little food for thought.

Baetidae from above and below –

Rhyacophila larva from the top –

and from the side –

Hydropsyche-larva side view and from above –

Leptophlebia marginata –

Leptophlebia marginata spent –

be sure to visit Mårten’s site XtremeFlyFishing.se for more awesome images. enjoy !