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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 Skwala (Perlodidae) (Large Springfly) Stonefly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
This Skwala nymph still has a couple months left to go before hatching, but it's still a good representative of its species, which was extremely abundant in my sample for a stonefly of this size. It's obvious why the Yakima is known for its Skwala hatch.
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.

Adirman
Adirman's profile picture
Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on Jul 4, 2011July 4th, 2011, 1:51 pm EDT
Went fishing up in the Adriondacks yesterday and man, did I have a good day!! Caught 14 brookies, not counting the 2 I lost from not getting my net out in time, total of 16!! Could have caught more but I had to quit to get home and pack. At first, I was catching nothing using nymph patterns. Then, I switched to a dry Royal Wulff and/or Black Gnat, both #12 w/ a classic wet tied to the bend of the dry hook 8" below. Wet patterns that were effective included Montreal, Neversink, and Ray Bergman. Man, were they slammin' em'!! I couldn't miss!! I never really fished these classic wets before; just ordered a few recently and started using them. Man, were they effective!! I just wonder why the trout were so indifferent to the nymphs??
Softhackle
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Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Jul 4, 2011July 4th, 2011, 6:30 pm EDT
Adir,
Well, many of the classic wets were actually created for brookie fishing in the Adirondacks.

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
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jul 4, 2011July 4th, 2011, 9:25 pm EDT
Adir- Sounds like you had a great time. There was a recent topic on the black gnat wet fly you might find enteresting. Do a query and check it out. it must have just dropped off the Recent Topics list.

Mark - Beautiful painting! What a gifted man with color and working in his choice of medium. Homer is the original isn't he? Though I love some of Chet Reneson's work as well. I got the "Salmon & Squaretail" bug a few years back and spent a week or two every year at iceout in Maine's Western Mountain region. I made some good friends over the years and one sent me several prints with boxed classic Rangeley streamers he tied that I cherish. One is titled "Ouananiche Fishing" by Winslow Homer. The other is "Adios. farewell" by Reneson. Both really capture the essence of landlocked salmon fishing for me and invoke memories every time I look at them. Wished I could scan them like you can to share, do you know them?

Regards,

Kurt
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Adirman
Adirman's profile picture
Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on Jul 5, 2011July 5th, 2011, 3:40 am EDT
SH;

Thanks so much for the pic!! You're right, very beautiful!! Entoman, I will research the black gnat pattern like you said.

Again, I hate to be redundant, but I was amazed at the aggression exhibited by these trout for the dry/wets! If I missed them on the drift or the swing, as I was retrieving, I would sometimes lift the dry out of the water just a bit like Ray Bergman used to say and they would leap out of the water for that as well!! It seemed to me that quite often, the trout would be initially turned on by the dry, rise half-heartedly to it, and then nail the wet w/ all abandon! W/ just a dry or just a wet, I noted that I would get strikes, but the fish would hit it half-heartedly and/or spit it out before I could set the hook. Not always, as I got a few that way, but most of the time. Weird huh?
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jul 5, 2011July 5th, 2011, 9:14 am EDT
Mark,

I know this isn't the "art" site, but back in the 80's sometime I visited Little Rock to see an old friend who had worked with me at the Detroit Free Press at one time. He was a reporter for a paper down there and had invitied me down to see the Razorbacks play Texas A & M...

He had to work one day while I was down there and I visited their art museum and they had a show that featured Remington & Russel and I was surprised on how much I enjoyed it. I had stereotyped them and thought of them as "cowboy" artists and some of their stuff was amazing. I remember one painting that I think was called "The Hunting Party" and it showed some Indians out in a snow storm and the way they were obsured by the snow etc was well done.

I also toured their capitol building and some guy was governor then called Clinton...Ever heard of the fella?

Spence

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jul 5, 2011July 5th, 2011, 11:52 am EDT
"I know this isn't the "art" site..." Why, Spence, fly fishing itself is an art!! And what are our flies besides "functional art", i.e., they catch fish? If a Royal Coachman/Wulff or especially a fancy salmon or steelhead fly isn't art, I don't know what is!

And a funny aside, last night I was talking with a fellow fly fisherman who ties his own. I commented to him while showing him my fly boxes, "When I show this to non-fly-fisherman, folks always like the really bright, gaudily-colored flies the best. I'm sure I would have a hard time convincing them that it's the little, drab, naturally colored flies that REALLY HAMMER the fish!" And of course he couldn't have agreed more...

Art is in the eye of the beholder, but I don't think there's many folks out there that wouldn't consider what we do art.

Jonathon

P.S. Some of those "classic wets" get pretty artsy-fartsy so, and still catch lots of fish!
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Adirman
Adirman's profile picture
Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on Jul 5, 2011July 5th, 2011, 1:28 pm EDT
JMD;

Yes, in particular, the Montreal pattern looks alot like a piece of an American flag w/o the blue of course!! Couldn't believe something so gaudy would be so productive but it was!!
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jul 6, 2011July 6th, 2011, 9:28 am EDT
Art is in the eye of the beholder, but I don't think there's many folks out there that wouldn't consider what we do art.


"For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity to exist, a certain physioligical precondition is indispensable: intoxication."

-Friedrich Nietzsche

When I was a younger man, just beginning to wrap feather and fur to the shank of a hook (iron), when my mentor just began calling my flies "passable", we would be sitting in his basement around an old kitchen table, TV on "Hockey Night in Canada", enjoying his mom's pierogies, several Molson's in to the evening...He could tell that I was just about to get over excited, overwhelmed by the lore and the smell of camphor (or is it naphthalalene?), and before I'd begin to wax poetic he'd say, "Spence. Fly tying is just a craft! The more you tie the better at it you'll get. Period. Let's not start over thinking it, eh?!"

Not to say it isn't fun and quality, after all, is quality, but unless we are an innovator, and unfortunately a great many of them are now gone, we are scrivener's, copyists.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Softhackle
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Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Jul 6, 2011July 6th, 2011, 6:17 pm EDT
Spence,
I'd have to differ with you on fly tying being an art. To me, it is. No two tiers tie alike-even the same pattern. Slight variations show through. No two tiers see alike, thus this difference comes through.

I think of it as a miniature soft sculpture, created in the round using an armature-the hook-which is adorned with various materials to create an overall effect. Some tiers are very creative and prolific, making new patterns, using materials, and pushing the envelope we know as tying.

Yes, fly tying is an art. There is no question in my mind.

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
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jul 7, 2011July 7th, 2011, 5:30 am EDT
Yes, fly tying is an art. There is no question in my mind.


Mark...When it's you wrapping the silk I couldn't agree with you more...There's no doubt in my mind!

In the above post you can see my tongue-ever-so-slightly-in-my-cheek, right?! ;) Though the story is true. My friends nick-name for me, when he's not calling me "Mr. Hockey", is "Mr. Lore" and he feels he needs to reel me in from outerspace once in a while and get my feet firmly back on the ground. I used to be an excitable boy.

Back in 1991 he and I were sitting on the bank of the Pere Marquette, not too far from where my grandparents grew up, and I had discovered some GORP in the back of my vest that my wife had placed there before we left for up north the weekend before...The sun was down below the trees and the light was cutting through the forest at an angle and way back in there the ferns were just popping up...a real elfin scene complete with a snorting buck somewhere back in there upset with us being around...We were just about to witness a sulpher spinner fall second to none...It was incredible! My friend looked over at me and gave me a little half smile and said, "Spence. What would Ernie say?"

Art? Never heard of him ;)...

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jul 7, 2011July 7th, 2011, 11:46 am EDT
Spence -

...but unless we are an innovator, and unfortunately a great many of them are now gone, we are scrivener's, copyists.


Certainly food for thought, though with this line of reasoning I guess the only impressionist landscape that could be considered art is Monet's first canvass? Taken a step further, perhaps only the first application of pigment on a cave wall somewhere? It seems to me that art always involves elements of invention and craft to some degree and these vary with the intent, skills, and inspiration of the practioner. I agree though that a commercial tier replicating a pattern by the droves isn't engaging in art, especially with the use of prescribed methods of factory trained construction that is now a common practice. Oh, and Freddie? He was one sick puppy...

Mark -
I think of it as a miniature soft sculpture, created in the round using an armature-the hook-which is adorned with various materials to create an overall effect. Some tiers are very creative and prolific, making new patterns, using materials, and pushing the envelope we know as tying


Insightful, Mark. Never thought of it that way before. Kind of a sculpture in reverse where material is added instead of subtracted. I've never heard the term "soft sculpture" before, but seems like a good description. Is that what you meant?



Kurt
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Softhackle
Softhackle's profile picture
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Jul 7, 2011July 7th, 2011, 6:19 pm EDT
Hi Kurt,
Soft scripture is a real art form. Here's some info:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soft_sculpture

The armature mentioned is something used as a support for wax or clay sculpture. It is usually wire.

In every artistic process, there is an additive and subtractive process. In sculpture, the additive process is done by the addition of the sculpting material like wax or clay. The subtractive, as you have said, is usually done by taking away the sculptural material like stone, wood, ivory, etc.

In painting, as most people think of it, it is a subtractive process, By adding color to a white ground the painter is subtracting the amount of light being reflected by the ground (paper,canvas, etc.) All colors mixed generally result in black.

Additive painting is accomplished by actually mixing colored light(s) All colors mixed together give white light.

Hope this helps to understand my definition.

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
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jul 7, 2011July 7th, 2011, 7:16 pm EDT
Fascinating Mark, Thanks for the link.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Jul 8, 2011July 8th, 2011, 5:29 am EDT
Interesting definitions, Mark. I would have thought of painting as an additive process, but your explanation makes sense. As someone with no formal art training, I'm curious: Are these standard, textbook definitions or your own, practical definitions?

Would white paint being placed over a black background be additive or subtractive? It's adding light but subtracting background.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
PaulRoberts
PaulRoberts's profile picture
Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Jul 8, 2011July 8th, 2011, 5:47 am EDT
I'll agree that fly-tying, and other such creations that support our fishing, can be art. (Most rarely make it out of the "craft" stage I suppose). I consider most of my tying more "crafty" than art as I don't apply criteria much beyond function. (OK I like them to be pleasing to look at.) But Mark takes it further, as does Shawnny.

So...is/could fly-fishing be "performance art"?

Not the way I practice it. But there is a guy I saw on Youtube that does fancy casting -lotsa aerial mends set to music. Kinda cool and the ability to handle line expertly could be useful -but it's not fishing.
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jul 8, 2011July 8th, 2011, 7:12 am EDT
Would white paint being placed over a black background be additive or subtractive? It's adding light but subtracting background.


Shawn please forgive me if you were being serious here, but I'm laughing so hard for some reason I'm tearing up!!!

Remember Groucho Marx??? "Is it further father or father further?" (I hope I'm not messing this up!)...see below.

In a PM Kurt suggested, in a loving way, that maybe I needed to seek counseling because, for some reason, from childhood on I've been unable to just walk by a sleeping grizzly...I always have to poke him with a very short pointed stick...:)

Though I truly believe that humor is good for the soul...We are having too much fun here for this not to be down right sinful!

Paul & Shawn are going to be our last word on semantics here on this site...I'm nominating them right here and now...Do I hear a second?! :)

Spence

PS "ZEPPO: "Anything further, father?"

GROUCHO: "Anything further, father? That can't be right. Isn't it "anything father, further"? The idea! I married your mother because I wanted children. Imagine my disappointment when you arrived!"

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Troutnut
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Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Jul 8, 2011July 8th, 2011, 10:22 am EDT
So...is/could fly-fishing be "performance art"?


Compared to many things I've seen labeled "performance art," fly fishing is far more worthy of the word "art." However, if it were actually judged by art critics, it would get all messed up. Catching trout would be considered trite, and it would pay better to be a post-modern fly fishing artist who meticulously places his fly in such a way that he is guaranteed not to catch a fish. Anyone who points out that his two-year-old can also go to the river and not catch fish would be shunned as an uncivilized troglodyte who does not understand the art.

Perhaps we should steer clear of that world.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Softhackle
Softhackle's profile picture
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Jul 8, 2011July 8th, 2011, 11:14 am EDT
Shawn,
To answer your question of white on black-you are correct to some extent. The more you increase the amount of light being reflected back to the eye, you are adding, not subtracting. You must remember, however that in order to be additive when mixing pigments like this- WHITE pigment and a dark or black background must be used. White must be added to the pigments to lighten or increase reflectivity of the pigments. Each addition, in order to be considered additive, must be lighter than the previous to be considered additive. Once you eliminate the white, you go back to the subtractive system.

These are not my definitions. In dealing with color, there are two color mixing system that are true and real. There are many other mixing systems that work, somewhat, but are not actually based on color and light. As you know color is a wavelength of light.



Jason,
I might be considered performance art, but if you go to the heart of the creating, it is the act of doing that is most important to the artist. Of course, there is concern with the result, but the most important aspect of making art is doing it-participating. It does not matter if it's singing a song, performing a ballet, painting a painting, writing a poem, or casting to rising trout. It is immersing oneself in the act, and in the process, enjoying the process thus learning more about oneself.

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
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jul 8, 2011July 8th, 2011, 11:50 am EDT
Got that Shawnny? There's going to be an exam! :)
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jul 8, 2011July 8th, 2011, 12:07 pm EDT
"I(t) might be considered performance art, but if you go to the heart of the creating, it is the act of doing that is most important to the artist. Of course, there is concern with the result, but the most important aspect of making art is doing it-participating. It does not matter if it's singing a song, performing a ballet, painting a painting, writing a poem, or casting to rising trout. It is immersing oneself in the act, and in the process, enjoying the process thus learning more about oneself.(emph. added)."

Performance art or not, that's about the best short definition of properly practiced flyfishing I've ever read (and I've read quite a few in my day). Kudo's Mark.

Regards,

Kurt
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman

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