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Lateral view of a Female Hexagenia limbata (Ephemeridae) (Hex) Mayfly Dun from the Namekagon River in Wisconsin
Hex Mayflies
Hexagenia limbata

The famous nocturnal Hex hatch of the Midwest (and a few other lucky locations) stirs to the surface mythically large brown trout that only touch streamers for the rest of the year.

Dorsal view of a Amphizoa (Amphizoidae) Beetle Larva from Sears Creek in Washington
This is the first of it's family I've seen, collected from a tiny, fishless stream in the Cascades. The three species of this genus all live in the Northwest and are predators that primarily eat stonefly nymphs Merritt R.W., Cummins, K.W., and Berg, M.B. (2019).
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

GONZO
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
GONZO on Oct 23, 2007October 23rd, 2007, 7:21 pm EDT
The following thoughts were prompted by some of the discussions in other threads. They have some application to fly fishing, though I'll admit it's a bit of a stretch.

Jason recently made some comments about simplicity in the "educated fish?" thread that I thought were very well put. It made me think about the oft-repeated KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle and the reasons why I sometimes bridle at its use. Don't get me wrong, simplicity is almost always a virtue, and who needs a lot of unnecessary complication? And I certainly intend no offense to anyone who likes that expression as an injunction against pointless complications. Yet, the line between the simple and the simplistic is not always well drawn these days.

Long ago, when Emerson said that "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," he inadvertently provided a convenient excuse for anyone expressing foolish inconsistency. I think something similar happens with the KISS principle. It can be used to present ignorance as a virtue. The tendency toward that kind of distortion coincides with a strong anti-intellectual trend that has some really nasty ramifications (like electing ignorant or incompetent leaders, or promoting superstition over science). And it's worth remembering that simple and elegant expressions usually draw their strength from depth, not shallowness. I think that's what Jason had in mind.

So, in the interest of encouraging both knowledge and simplicity, perhaps a slight tweaking of that much-abused principle is in order--Keep It Simple, not Stupid.

-Gonzo
Troutnut
Troutnut's profile picture
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Oct 23, 2007October 23rd, 2007, 9:42 pm EDT
Very well-put. There's a huge difference between "simple" and "easy to understand." I like your redefinition of K.I.S.S.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Quillgordon
Schuylkill County, PA.

Posts: 109
Quillgordon on Oct 24, 2007October 24th, 2007, 1:23 am EDT
Jason said:
Very well-put. There's a huge difference between "simple" and "easy to understand." I like your redefinition of K.I.S.S.
*******************************************************************
Actually there isn't Jason. One definition of 'simple' is "easy to understand or perform". See #9 of Merriam Webster link below......
The word 'simple' has many meanings, as do most words in the English language.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/simple


Gonzo.....
Some guys just love to 'stir the pot'. I can see this post going a long ways! You really need to get out and do some fishing and less 'cooking' ( stirring the pot)............ LOL.
John....
Flyfishing is a state of mind! .............. Q.g.

C/R........barbless
Softhackle
Softhackle's profile picture
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Oct 24, 2007October 24th, 2007, 1:30 am EDT
Interesting, Lloyd. I guess your definition definitely coincides with the oft-used term in the art field-- "Less is More". I sometimes believe this is also misinterpreted. In art, the term is used to denote the beauty of "fundamental" elements and how, when used correctly, produce art that is basic, beautiful and works. I believe this is also the basis for "Keep it simple". I think the the "stupid" might be eliminated altogether.

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
JAD
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Alexandria Pa

Posts: 362
JAD on Oct 24, 2007October 24th, 2007, 4:26 am EDT


Hello all.
I missed you Gonzo ha ha (And it's worth remembering that simple and elegant expressions usually draw their strength from depth, not shallowness.) ---------I used to show my simple and common flie box in shame NOW--I can hold my head up and walk like a man.

One of the Johns

They fasten red (crimson red) wool around a hook, and fix onto the wool two feathers which grow under a cock’s wattles, and which in colour are like wax.
Radcliffe's Fishing from the Earliest Times,
Dano
Vanderbilt, Michigan

Posts: 101
Dano on Oct 24, 2007October 24th, 2007, 5:23 am EDT
I agree with Mark, Lloyd; "interesting"....

I didn't see where "KISS" was actually used in the "educated fish?" discussion, though I agree that "KIS" is more "appropriate"; never liked the "stupid" part. Like "selective", "opportunistic", and other such adjectives that appear herein, methinks it's just a way to convey a point with a well known acronym. At least that was the case when I used it in the "Does anyone use Copper Johns?" discussion...;)

True story: About a month ago I met an angler from out of state as I was putting my gear in the car. He was just "passing through" and had been fishing the Williamson for the past two days without any "luck". Well, I felt for the guy and offered to not only take him down to "my stretch" but to "my hole" as well. He grabbed his 3 fully rigged rods and fly boxes and we proceeded down to where I get in...Once we arrived streamside he inquired about the best patterns to use. The "Orange Caddis" (Fall Caddis) hatch was just getting into full swing and, naturally, he didn't have a pattern that even closely resembled this fly so I gave him a few that I tied up a long with a few other patterns that I use....

Any who, to make a long story short; this guy had 3 rods, fly boxes bigger than Baltimore with more flies than Carter has pills. It was pretty clear to me why he had gone fishless for two days on the Williamson. Keeping it simple defintely has its merits.

Dano



Eventually, all things merge into one...and a river runs through it.
CaseyP
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Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Oct 24, 2007October 24th, 2007, 8:40 am EDT
in the politically correct world of community college English as a Second Language classes, we called it the KISS system: Keep It Simple, Students!

and here is the most important concept of them all:
simple doesn't mean easy
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Falsifly
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Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on Oct 24, 2007October 24th, 2007, 8:51 am EDT
I believe the term "stupid" in the KISS principle is not meant to be derogatory. It is a term used by many highly educated people to remind them that we often complicate issues by putting too much educated thought into the problem at hand. It is a humorous reminder that our so called "intelligence" often hides the simple truth.


Lets keep the STUPID in KEEP IT SIMPLE.
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
RleeP
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Oct 24, 2007October 24th, 2007, 10:32 am EDT
In this great country, I value the fact that we are free to over complicate to our heart's content as well as free to over simplify if that is what trips our trigger.

I have a dear friend, probably my favorite fishing buddy. When we go fishing together, he seems to have a need to attribute virtually all the actions of the fish to some complex entomological reasoning. I fish a simple parachute hare's ear and hammer the fish. He tells me it is happening this way because the silhouette of my fly resembles this or that emerging caddis, and then he names it (the caddis). I thought it was because trout are trout and to their pea-sized brains, my fly looks like something good to eat. He's probably right, but the way I'm wired I seldom think about that sort of stuff.

The next time we go out, I'm hammering fish on big #10 deer hair ants slapped up along the banks like they were a #4 Gaines popper. He's hammering them too by bopping risers on the head with a size 22 olive PT nymph on 6X and then stripping it past them. Back at the car, he tells me: "They were on the dinky olives, but not the adults. I had to fish a nymph and I had to strip it by them." I could tell him: "They were just active and hungry today and they would have taken a crescent wrench so long as it wasn't any longer than your foot and so long as you had a rod strong enough to cast it."

But I don't and I never will. Much of his joy is in the complexity with which he approaches the sport. Much of mine is in the deliberate simplification of the sport. We're good friends and have a great time proving out our theories on this stuff to ourselves over and over.

And that's what freedom is all about.

All I have to say is that if we ever come to a place in this sport where we no longer feel comfortable accommodating both those like my buddy who love to immerse themselves in the minutiae as well as those like me who rebel against rampant, radical Schweibertism (!) through deliberate eschewal of complexity and multi-layered meanings, well then the terrorists have won...:)
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Oct 24, 2007October 24th, 2007, 10:36 am EDT
I think that this principle is also often used in flyfishing to justify doing exactly what everybody else does. One of the biggest rushes for me is catching a fish with flies or techniques I have invented myself (even when someone else, unbeknownst to me, has probably done something similar before). I am not really concerned with maximizing my catching when I go fishing, I'm more interested in being inventive and immersing myself in the endless puzzle. Remove this aspect from flyfishing, and I simply wouldn't do it. In fact, I get bored with fishing quicker when the catching is too easy than when it is too hard.

To each his own, but I feel like if you just want to do what everyone else does and catch a few fish in the process, you might as well just end the charade and take up bait-fishing.

-Shawn

P.S. I just read your post after I made mine, RLeeP. Very well put. I especially liked the terrorist comment - funny stuff. To each his own, indeed - this isn't exactly a moral issue, is it?
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Falsifly
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Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on Oct 24, 2007October 24th, 2007, 4:20 pm EDT
RleeP,
I find it interesting how you mince minutiae, radical Schweibertism and terrorist in the same sentence. Ernest where are you?
Shawn, I believe this has become a moral issue.
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Oct 25, 2007October 25th, 2007, 12:31 am EDT
Not to mention 'rebel', 'rampant', and 'eschewal'. That was quite a sentence, to be sure. One for the Best Quotes thread, in my opinion.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
GONZO
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
GONZO on Oct 25, 2007October 25th, 2007, 2:36 pm EDT
You need to get out and do some fishing . . . .

You're so right, John! And I really didn't mean to "stir the pot." As you might guess from the time indicated on my post, I was just in need of sleep (as well as fishing). :)
Troutnut
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Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Oct 25, 2007October 25th, 2007, 3:15 pm EDT
Actually there isn't Jason. One definition of 'simple' is "easy to understand or perform".


Well, technically, there's a difference in that "simple" has many different meanings, of which "easy to understand" is one. Problems arise when people use "simple" to mean "parsimonious" and someone mistakes them for meaning "easy to understand." Those two definitions don't always overlap.

Also, I agree with Falsifly -- keep the 'Stupid' in K.I.S.S. I can't stand political correctness!

All I have to say is that if we ever come to a place in this sport where we no longer feel comfortable accommodating both those like my buddy who love to immerse themselves in the minutiae as well as those like me who rebel against rampant, radical Schweibertism (!) through deliberate eschewal of complexity and multi-layered meanings, well then the terrorists have won...:)


Great sentence! I'd never heard the phrase "radical Schwiebertism" before. That said, I'm not sure from reading Schwiebert that he was a radical Schwiebertist himself. It's not contradictory to be both fascinated with entomology and aware of how often it's unnecessary for catching trout.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
GONZO
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
GONZO on Oct 25, 2007October 25th, 2007, 4:20 pm EDT
Hah! Lee's witty expressions crack me up. I was tempted to object to his beating up on poor dead Ernie, but his clever use of qualifiers put it in a different context. I suppose it's like the term "radical Islamist"--you're not necessarily faulting the religion by objecting to the extremism of some of its followers. :)

PS-Hey, John (JAD), I missed you, too! And I'm bummed that we never got to fish together this season. :(
Falsifly
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Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on Oct 25, 2007October 25th, 2007, 7:12 pm EDT
Jason,
How succinctly put."It's not contradictory to be both fascinated with entomology and aware of how often it's unnecessary for catching trout". So much for the science.
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
Falsifly
Falsifly's profile picture
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on Oct 25, 2007October 25th, 2007, 7:40 pm EDT
Gonzo, "you're not necessarily faulting the religion by objecting to the extremism of some of its followers. :)"

Were it not for the religion, from where would the extremism come?


Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
Quillgordon
Schuylkill County, PA.

Posts: 109
Quillgordon on Oct 26, 2007October 26th, 2007, 2:58 am EDT
Jason,
Well, technically, there's a difference in that "simple" has many different meanings, of which "easy to understand" is one.
.....................................................
It's not technical at all. The word has many meanings. Science is science and English is English.

There's a huge difference between "simple" and "easy to understand."
..................................................
No..... that is one of the meanings of the word 'simple'.
You are choosing to use a different meaning for the word. That is fine, but you should clarify that in that post. You did that later.
Sorry for the English lesson...... I'm not trying to be a 'PIA'


Flyfishing is a state of mind! .............. Q.g.

C/R........barbless
RleeP
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Oct 26, 2007October 26th, 2007, 5:55 am EDT
I meant no disrespect to Ernie or his memory. I met him briefly once when I was active with Pennsylvania TU and our quarterly leadership meeting coincided with some event the Harrisburg FF's were having and there was some mingling before and after. He seemed a fine gentleman.

Beyond this, I cannot always be help responsible for everything I say...:)

I am, after all the same guy that just last month, while working at home and snacking on sharp cheddar with green Tabasco remembered I had to take a book back to the library. I jumped up and grabbed the book and put it in the refrigerator and drove to the library and tried to return the Tabasco.

The tread wear markers are starting to show....:) So, don't pay any attention to me...:)



Falsifly
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Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on Oct 26, 2007October 26th, 2007, 6:31 am EDT
Lee,
I for one found no disrespect towards Ernie in your comment. After reviewing all the different definitions for radical I think we might all agree it may very well be fitting.
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."

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