Fly Fishing

Ravalli Republic's longtime fishing columnist, Bill Bean, will spend the winter refilling his fly box, oiling his reels and checking his fly line in order to be ready to get back out on the water this spring.

There was a picture of a fish that hung in my fly shop for many years.

Below the fish there was a quote that said: “Fish Don’t Speak Latin.”

It was there when I bought the fly shop so I don’t know who gave it to the original owner but I think it was supposed to be a spoof on those who know the Latin names of flies. I have never memorized the Latin names of some species of flies but I admire those who have taken the time to learn and study them.

According to The Smithsonian, there are over 900,000 different kinds of living insects that are known to science. It has been said that this is only an estimate of present and past studies suggest it represents only about 80% of the world’s species. This would mean that there are over two million species of insects, although some suggest there could be as many as 30 million species.

 The Smithsonian also believes that there are approximately 91,000 species in the U.S. and over 73,000 species that are unsubscribed. The largest numbers of species fall into four insect Orders that are labeled Coleoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera. These are just the Orders and there are many thousands of species that fall under these four orders.

My question is does this really matter?

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 We know that fish respond to stimuli and when a fly hits the water the fish can relate to it as food and they don’t have the brainpower to understand what species the fly is that they see. When a hatch of a particular species starts, either in the water or on shore, the fish key on the multitude of flies rather than on one particular pattern. If blue wing olives hatch starts at the same time as the Salmon Fly hatch, which one do you think the fish would key on. The largest one, of course.

There are a few good books that have been written on what and when trout feed on different species and I am going to spend some of my reading time this winter reading them again. I appreciate the time and effort these authors have taken to study and write so that other fishermen can spend their time fishing and not memorizing.

I think I will spend some time this winter cleaning and oiling my fly reels, make sure that my fly lines are clean and floating before spring and reorganize my fly boxes to make sure I am ready for the spring hatches. I will also spend some time tying flies to fill in the blank spaces that are left from fishing this past season.

It’s time to start thinking about the special fly fishermen in your life and what you might get them for Christmas. We always need nippers, hemostats and other small items that we may have lost or misplaced over the last six months.

Good Fishing,

Bill Bean.