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  • Wednesday, August 18, 2010

    A Touch Of Warm

    Hoppers, Ants, Moths, Beetles
    dig out the "T" box

    .. After some gray and wonderfully cool August days Mom has complied with the seasonal imperative and cranked some therms into the daytime temperatures.
    .. This coming week will see the thermometer climb toward 80 degrees and will have the hoppers hopping.
    .. Spruce moths have finally made their appearance in numbers sufficient to be noticed by the savvy trout. These along with a very large crop of beetles and ants are driving fisher folk nuts with the quandary of which terrestrial to use. After all it's hopper time!
    .. We've no sage advice or ultimate truth in this regard. There are literally hundreds of truth-tellers in West Yellowstone this time of year. They will give you the absolute, divinely inspired, inside scoop about the correct fly. Some of them fish on occasion.
    .. Hoppers of course are present in significant numbers as well. The high country has not yet seen the anticipated overwhelming numbers predicted for the rest of the western states. However there are reports of the invasion from not too far away LINK.
    .. There are at least 4 species, locally, that occur in numbers sufficient to garner the attention of fly fishers. Not a one of them is known by it's Latin name in the dusty corners of the feather merchants. Asemoplus montanus is our own species and has been studied the least.
    .. Adult grasshoppers in the neighborhood can be as large as two inches. Fisher folk seldom throw an imitation that large, (some of our more eccentric neighbors insist that trout won't eat anything that big on the surface.)
    .. On the Madison River, the Gallatin River, Duck Creek, Nez Perce Creek, Fan Creek, Bacon Rind Creek, Taylor Fork Creek, west fork Gallatin River, Slough Creek, Lamar River, Obsidian Creek, and even Specimen Creek, there are hoppers approaching the two inch mark. The poor dumb fish are missing a bet - or the fishers are.
    .. Ants, (including the flying variety,) are very apparent and very busy right now. They are a staple of the fishy diet in the slow moving foam lines near the shore. These critters are a necessary item in the current terrestrial box. None of them are reported to be as large as 2".
    .. Beetles are mostly black dots in the fly box. There are over 40 species of common beetles in Montana. The Mountain Pine Beetle, (Dendroctonus ponderosae,) is a black dot in real life and the usual prototype for fly patterns. They are just 5mm long as an adult and attractive for the fly fisher.
    .. However, the Blister Beetle (Meloidae sp.,) can be copper colored or even an oxidized copper-green. They can reach a length of over an inch. Locally they occur in numbers sufficient to fall in the water frequently. What patterns are used for these? Have you got one in your box?
    .. Tiger Beetles come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors: green, blue, red, yellow, orange & brown, etc. Seldom are they all black. They are not as common as the Pine Beetle but are more common than the Blister Beetle. The most prevalent one in the neighborhood is Cicindela nebraskana, a beautiful shiny reddish copper colored beetle that loves the open stream-side meadows in the woodlands of our high country. Not a one of them ever falls into the water and the trout ignore them in favor of black dots.
    .. All this by way of saying: if your favorite hopper imitation won't get the job done try a beetle pattern of your own creation. The fish will not have seen a unique imitation, and it should be better that the little black dots sold by the feather merchants.