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  • Tuesday, January 23, 2007

    Snow Flies

    COLD WEATHER MIDGES
    Invaders In California
    more rock snot
    ho-ha trout news

    .. They are small. They are flies. Trout eat them. Start with size 20 and then 22 and then move on to the small sizes. In this part of the world they are called snow flies. The problem is that different people call different species and families "snow flies." (See: Snow Fly #1, Snow Fly #2.)
    .. These cold-temperature critters are midges that hatch all winter. They are not famous. They are not the inspiration for many fly patterns. They are seldom recognized for what they are: mostly because fly-fisher-folk don't do much fishing in the snow.
    .. Just about 15 miles from beautiful downtown West Yellowstone is a bit of water that is open to fishing all year. And . . . you can find trout rising at temperatures that are not associated with fly fishing.
    .. The most common fly that the fish are eating is a "midge" which is a cold-tolerant fly - a real fly! They are small and appear on very sunny days that somehow don't feel quite as cold as they really are. The midges appear in swarms about mid day. They don't fly far and can be seen dotting the snow -- if you look closely. The trout love them.
    .. However, not all cold tolerant flies are midges. There are some mayflies, and some caddis flies, and even some stone flies. These are the flies that fly fishers need to know about if they are going to fish in the cold water, and the cold weather of the greater Yellowstone area. Some of these are even mosquitoes.
    .. An excellent guide to the cold weather flies is found at the University Of Minnesota's "Chironomidae Research Group" web page. These folks are busy studying primarily cold-adapted midges.
    .. As noted on the site's mission statement page:
    Climate change is predicted to have a greater impact in colder regions and therefore will have a large influence on the organisms that inhabit or thrive in these cold environments. Anthropogenically induced climate change will likely result in range shifts and extinctions leading to alterations in the composition and structure of insect communities. Research to reveal adaptations for survival at low temperatures in cold-adapted aquatic insects will be used to determine the influence of temperature on their large-scale geographic distributions and to model and predict the effects of climate change on these organisms.

    .. The site has extensive pictures, and identification keys for many of the aquatic forms and should prove fruitful for creative fly tiers. Especially during cold evenings at the bench - and by the fire. There also is a literature review section, and the identification keys are well illustrated.
    .. It's hard to tell if this is an ongoing project or just the report of a short-term research study. What every the case may be; the site is worth a visit for the "bug-inclined."
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    .. From Protect Your Waters comes news about invaders in California. Zebra mussels and Quagga mussels have been found in several waters in California. The San Francisco Chronicle has a full report.
    .. Rock Snot is continuing to make news in New Zealand. The New Zealand Herald reports the story in graphic fashion.
    .. The promising news about the Ho-Ha trout is also reported, and gives hope for combating Whirling Disease. The cross breeding of the Hofer & Harrison Trout has proven to be one solution to the stocking program in Utah. The new trout is 10 times more resistant to whirling disease than previous strains. The Deseret News carries a story about the continuing breeding and stocking program.
    Ho-Ha Photo by Kevin Rogers