Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Black Flies and the Lower

Just finished up with one of our regular groups that come to us through a fly shop in Ann Arbor, MI. a couple times a year. Colton Bay Outfitters is the name of the shop if you are ever in the area. The owner is a great guy and he always brings an eclectic group of mostly great folks just out to have a good time. As with just about any group, there is always  sour grape in the group. Fortunately this one was small enough so that the sour grape didn't ruin the bunch!

Fished the lower today and found it to be pretty consistent and good throughout the day. Flows are very low which makes it hard to get through some of the stuff and for slim pickens in some of the skinny stuff too. Fish are on crawdads and lightning bugs pretty good right now and the buckets have been getting thumped pretty well.

If you pump the fish, they have some black fly pupae in their stomachs. An interesting phenom. that I've seen guys confuse for black caddis on the Bighorn and I thought were Tricos for several years. Not that this is very important though as around here I've never really found a small black fly that gets them better than anything else does. However, I have had days on the Mo and the Horn when a black Zebra Midge or black Tailwater Tiny put the wood to 'em, so it's always worth a try. I think it probably goes back to the fact that Tailwaters have biomass of a limited number of invert species while freestones and quazi-freestones like the Madison have biomass in diversity of species. Or who knows, maybe the shiny silver lightning bug looks like one of these things as it emerges through the water column. All I know is that black flies on the lower madison means lightning bugs. The other thing that you will find in their stomachs and the weeds right now are tiny size 20 something caddis larvae. Didn't see them in the fish today but they were full of them a couple of days ago. These pics are of the black fly pupa and larvae (i believe).

Ended up getting cancelled for tomorrow so I'm going fishing with the good ol' Huggy Bear himself in search of some cutties. Cutthroats have always been pretty low on my list of desirable species as they don't get that big and fight with the intensity of a water balloon being dragged across a pool. Oh Boy. I don enjoy seeing them rise though.

Also, they have become the pet project for neo-conservationists in their quest to buck evolution. They are a beautiful fish to be sure and eat a dry fly as pretty as any trout anywhere, but they are also a species on their way out. Who's fault is it? Our for putting rainbows in the rivers, ours for catching the crap out of em in the 1800's, ours for degrading stream quality, ours for bringing them whirling disease and Lake Trout. So, either we back it up or they're gonna go away.

I could continue down this though line but I get pretty detached emotionally from these sorts of topics and may come across as cold. I like cutthroats, but our efforts to restore them to their native range will ultimatley result in a story similar to the Tigers of India.  SO, I'm gointg to go get

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