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Fishing report: Know your bugs
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Fishing report: Know your bugs

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Bitterroot River (copy) (copy)

We are finally going to get a break from the smoke and haze that has covered the Northwest for several weeks.

We are finally going to get a break from the smoke and haze that has covered the Northwest for several weeks. The meteorologists have promised a welcome break of rain and clear weather for the past week. I feel badly for the fishermen from out of state who planned their annual trip to the Bitterroot this past month. Let’s hope for some good weather for the fall fishing months. I know I am counting on it.

How important is it for us to know about what insects are in the Bitterroot and when they hatch? I have always promoted the pocket guide for insects written and published by Orvis. A new book has been published, written by Paul Weamer, titled “The Bug Book: A Fly Fisher’s Guide to Trout Stream Insects.” This book promises us a complete guide to aquatic entomology for fly fishermen, covering all the important insects and their imitations for the entire United States. I don’t know about you but I don’t plan to fish all of the United States in the remaining years of my life. I plan to fish a few rivers in Montana and maybe Wyoming, but do I care about the hatches in New York or Maine? Are the insects the same there as they are here? The answer to these questions and others that you may have are in the book or books that have been published in the past. Insects won’t evolve in my lifetime or in several lifetimes to come, but knowing about your own home river might be a challenge to the novice fly fisherman.

One example I have learned in my lifetime is that the green drake mayfly of the West is quite different than the green drake mayfly in the Eastern states. If I happen to get invited to fish in the East, would the green drake patterns that I tie here work there also? I don’t think that they would but I can provide any evidence that would be true. The question of fish seeing different colors has never been answered by experts but we know that they can see shades of dark and light so I would tie my flies for the East with darker dyed elk hair rather than light.

We can argue the facts about entomology all year long and if we were experts we would head to the river with so much confidence that fishing would probably become boring. We would have to develop different hobbies to take the place of fly fishing. Maybe we could take up sailing or golf. I am going to order “The Bug Book” and see what I might have been missing for the past 30 years. It will give me something to read when the snow covers the valley and the ice forms on the river.

I am really looking forward to the fall fishing. It should be very good because the fish have had a good long rest. I want to try some new patterns that have been developed this year.

Good Fishing,

Bill Bean.

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