Header image
Enter a name
Lateral view of a Male Baetis (Baetidae) (Blue-Winged Olive) Mayfly Dun from Mystery Creek #43 in New York
Blue-winged Olives
Baetis

Tiny Baetis mayflies are perhaps the most commonly encountered and imitated by anglers on all American trout streams due to their great abundance, widespread distribution, and trout-friendly emergence habits.

Dorsal view of a Setvena wahkeena (Perlodidae) (Wahkeena Springfly) Stonefly Nymph from Mystery Creek #199 in Washington
As far as I can tell, this species has only previously been reported from one site in Oregon along the Columbia gorge. However, the key characteristics are fairly unmistakable in all except for one minor detail:
— 4 small yellow spots on frons visible in photos
— Narrow occipital spinule row curves forward (but doesn’t quite meet on stem of ecdysial suture, as it's supposed to in this species)
— Short spinules on anterior margin of front legs
— Short rposterior row of blunt spinules on abdominal tergae, rather than elongated spinules dorsally
I caught several of these mature nymphs in the fishless, tiny headwaters of a creek high in the Wenatchee Mountains.
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.

Falsifly
Falsifly's profile picture
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on Sep 28, 2011September 28th, 2011, 6:53 pm EDT
On another thread DrMartin mentioned the term “Expert”, which got me to wondering….. Just what is a fly fishing “Expert”? Throughout the history and evolution of fly fishing there is certainly no shortage of names that come to mind. I doubt that a day could go by that some “Sage”, of the past or present, isn’t mentioned in the myriad of magazines articles, catalogs, books and internet sites pertaining to the sport. And rightfully so, as many have had a profound influence on the sport, and some may even be credited with determining the course of its future through a strict apologist following. But that is a given in terms of science, technology, technique and philosophy. I find it not too difficult to accept expertise in the aforementioned “science, technology, technique and philosophy” when considered as individual distinctions making up the sport of fly fishing, but when considered collectively, how is a fly fishing “Expert” defined?
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."
Adirman
Adirman's profile picture
Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on Sep 29, 2011September 29th, 2011, 3:11 am EDT
I smell a new thread comin on w/ a LOT of life to it (maybe)!!

I would define a fly-fishing expert by his/her knowledge and demonstrated prowess in the following areas:
1)Equipment-In-depth Knowledge of fly rods and reels in terms of sizes/weights etc. ,flylines, tippets and also, is able to completely rig up ones own rod with properly tied knots. %This also includes BTW, re-rigging or changing rigs when necessary and of course, tying on your own flies!!
2)Knowledge of a variety of rigs for different aspects of fly-fishing-You shouldnt see an "expert" always fishing 1 single dry-fly becuase they arent aware of multiple fly rig-ups and also, how to set them up properly. I would expect an expert to have knowledge of all the basic rigs for dry, wet, and nymph fly-fishing and of course, variations among these facets as well such as euro-nymphing, multiple wet fly setups, double-dries, etc. Of course most importantly, the expert knows when to use each one and why its use would be pragmatic and effective at the time!
3)Flycasting-Doesn't have to be able to write their name in the air w/ their casts or, be able to cast the full line but should be able to cast effectively up to 60-70ft distance wise, should be able to double-haul, roll-cast, reach cast and pile cast at a minimum, effectively. also, should be able to mend line well during drifts and should be accurate w/ their fly presentation while fishing.
4)Bug knowledge-Should have more than a basic knowledge of Mayflies, Caddis Stoneflies, Midges, Scuds, etc. and be able to identify them in the air and/or onstream. Missing one now and then is expected as an expert would not have to have a level of knowledge equivalent to an entomologist but be able to identify the bug close enough to be able to effectively catch fish w/ an imitation of that bug, selection of fly based on the bug recognition/identification.
5)Should be able to read water effectively
6)Should have extensive knowledge of trout and/or other game fish pursued by the flyfisherman such as bass, salmon etc. Be able to identify various species of such gamefish and have extensive knowledge of their biology, ecological niche, reproductive patterns, etc.
7)Should have successfully caught AT LEAST 100 fish on a fly! This # is arbitrary, maybe others would argue!
8)Should have AT LEAST 5 yrs of flyfishing experience in terms of seasons of flyfishing. Again, this is arbitrary and others might have a btter one.


Ok, I'm done! Just my take on it anyway! On this forum, I would nominate many but clearly Entoman and probably Sayfu and Gonzo as well would qualify in all major categories mentioned!
Sayfu
Posts: 560
Sayfu on Sep 29, 2011September 29th, 2011, 6:05 am EDT

The real beauty of being a flyfishing "expert" is you can just self anoint yourself..no degree required.
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Sep 29, 2011September 29th, 2011, 11:00 am EDT
Adirman, great post. I think you have it pretty much covered. I would most definitely NOT consider my self an expert fly fisherman, though most definitely an experienced one after 26 years of throwing flies and 21 years of tying them. However, my experience is limited to my favorite kinds of fly fishing - dry flies and streamers, places - smaller streams and lakes/ponds, and fish - trout, bass, and panfish. Even in those aspects I am not an expert, as there are plenty of dry flies and streamers I have yet to fish. And though I have done entomology on a professional basis (i.e., I got paid for it), I have not immersed myself in fly-fishing entomology to nearly the degree that others on this site have. Nevertheless, I catch plenty of fish on fly rods using flies that I tied myself and have one hell of a lot of fun doing it! That's what counts the most to me, not being able to go around professing that I am an "expert". I have just too many darned hobbies to become an "expert" on any one of them! That would require a certain degree of obsession that I just don't seem to posess.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Softhackle
Softhackle's profile picture
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Sep 29, 2011September 29th, 2011, 11:44 am EDT
Woah! Interesting question and responses. Seriously, all the knowledge mentioned by Adirman is great criteria by which we judge who knows what, however, I think while this knowledge helps us reasonably fish using flies, these things are secondary.

I don't think what we consider an "expert" needs to even say he is one. The expert is confident in the fact that he knows what he knows serves him well, albeit, may not serve anyone else as well. In addition there are so many different views and approaches, how do we determine who has the answer(s). I truly am annoyed by those who think they, and only they know what they are talking about regarding fly fishing. I know a few.

We judge who the expert is by how what they tell us works for US. That's not a bad idea, but in turn we must acknowledge that someone else's approach, which is completely different, works just as well.

Fly fishing is a game of variables, and when we think we have found the the guru, the sage or the expert, something happens that blows holes into the ideas and theories of those "experts".

I can, however, show you who I think the expert is, in realty. Here is the expert: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/html/drawing4.html

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
GONZO
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
GONZO on Sep 29, 2011September 29th, 2011, 3:52 pm EDT
On this forum, I would nominate many but clearly Entoman and probably Sayfu and Gonzo as well would qualify in all major categories mentioned!
I'm flattered, A-man, but I respectfully decline the nomination. I agree with Mark that fish and not fishermen are the best judges of fly-fishing expertise. Fish don't post their opinions on the Web, but even they would probably disagree on the subject. ;)
WestCO
WestCO's profile picture
Palisade, CO

Posts: 65
WestCO on Sep 29, 2011September 29th, 2011, 7:51 pm EDT
I feel like anyone who accepts this title probably fishes for the wrong reasons. I heard a great thing on the TU show the other day about the stages of fishing. First you try to catch a fish, then you try to catch a difficult fish, it goes on and on and then finally they have the final stage where you work to improve fishing. There are always more challenges to be presented and I think the real "experts" have dedicated their lives to the art and science of fishing. Those people have no interest in the title in my opinion.
...but fishermen I have noticed, they don't care if I'm rich or poor, wearing robes or waders, all they care about is the fish, the river, and the game we play. For fishermen, the only virtues are patience, tolerance, and humility. I like this.
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Sep 29, 2011September 29th, 2011, 9:09 pm EDT
Aiderman -

Thanks for the compliment.

Authorities darken council. An Authority is a person engaged in the invidious business of stereotyping and disseminating information, frequently incorrect... It was not until I realized this that my reading became any use to me. Up to that point I had been swallowing wholesale, with my facts, all sorts of fallacies and inaccuracies, alike in the matter of dressings and their use, and what they were intended to represent. From that point on an author became merely a suggester of experiment - a means of testing and checking my own observations by the water side, and no longer a small god to be believed in and trusted as infallible. And that is all an author, writing on any progressive art or science ought to be.

G.E.M. Skues, The Way of a Trout with a Fly


In the end, we're all just sharing what we know, and what we think we know.

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 Sep 30, 2011September 30th, 2011, 2:49 am EDT
Yes, determining a true "expert" is difficult, probably unnecessary but still may have utility if it helps us understand criteria that are impt to our sport. I certainly know that i'm no expert as I'm not in the same league as some of those most knowedgeable flyfisherman that frequent this forum; however, I'm also no rookie, as I've amassed considerable knowledge to date and have found that my catch rates have increased considerably over the last couple of seasons, especially since I became a member of Troutnut (seriously)!!
Softhackle
Softhackle's profile picture
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Sep 30, 2011September 30th, 2011, 3:07 am EDT
I think that I would prefer to call those that have and share ideas, theories and techniques - teachers or "professors". They guide, share and teach us what they have learned through their experience, but they are also wise enough to know that what they know does not answer every question, fit every occasion, or solve every problem. Their experience helps them to respond to a given situation in a way that they may solve the problem faster than the average fly fisherman.

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
Troutnut
Troutnut's profile picture
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Sep 30, 2011September 30th, 2011, 11:55 am EDT
I'm flattered, A-man, but I respectfully decline the nomination. I agree with Mark that fish and not fishermen are the best judges of fly-fishing expertise.


Sorry Gonzo, you're busted. Having fished with you, I've seen that the fish consider you to be an expert, too!

Overall, this is a pretty interesting question. I would define "expert" more loosely, and include many of the people here who have disavowed the term for themselves. An expert can still have a tremendous amount left to learn -- in fact, an expert may be more acutely aware of that than anyone else.

I would save another level of designation -- perhaps "master" or even "grandmaster" -- for the likes of Ernest Schwiebert, Gary LaFontaine, Joe Humphreys, etc. That level is much, much harder to reach.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Konchu
Konchu's profile picture
Site Editor
Indiana

Posts: 498
Konchu on Sep 30, 2011September 30th, 2011, 5:56 pm EDT
Early on, I learned an expert was someone more than 50 miles from home. ;)

I think Jason's comments about experts vs. masters is a good one. One can be an expert on something without having any first hand experience. Mastery is another matter.
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Oct 1, 2011October 1st, 2011, 1:42 pm EDT
Troutnut wrote;

"I would save another level of designation -- perhaps "master" or even "grandmaster" -- for the likes of Ernest Schwiebert, Gary LaFontaine, Joe Humphreys, etc. That level is much, much harder to reach."

Your selection of master anglers is defined by your age. Those guys most likely became interested in fly fishing from the writings of grandmasters with the names of Joe Brooks, A.J. McClane, and Ted Trueblood. They were my heros and idols.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Softhackle
Softhackle's profile picture
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Oct 1, 2011October 1st, 2011, 2:15 pm EDT
Wbranch,
I know those names well. I learned to tie flies looking at McClane's Fishing Encyclopedia. It had great illustrations, and there was a section of fly photos and their dressings tied by some of the best tiers around. Included, if I'm not mistaken was a pattern called Trueblood's Caddis Nymph.

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
FredH
FredH's profile picture
Lake Charles , Louisiana

Posts: 108
FredH on Oct 1, 2011October 1st, 2011, 3:31 pm EDT
In my part of the country fly fishing is in it's infancy compared to coldwater states. Down here when the crappie are spawning in the spring everyone is an expert.
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Oct 2, 2011October 2nd, 2011, 7:20 am EDT
Expert: Someone who catches more fish than you do. If there are lots of people who catch more fish than you do, then you're not an expert and you should probably try to learn something from those who do.

There are lots of people who catch more fish than I do, which means I learn a lot when I fish with others. It's not so bad, really.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Oct 2, 2011October 2nd, 2011, 7:34 am EDT
OK, now I've read the whole thread (wanted to post my own definition without having read everyone else's). Some of the points made remind me of a line from Plato's Apology of Socrates, in which Socrates concludes after conversing with a man purported to be wise: “Well, I am certainly wiser than this man. It is only too likely that neither of us has any knowledge to boast of; but he thinks that he knows something which he does not know, whereas I am quite conscious of my ignorance. At any rate it seems that I am wiser than he is to this small extent, that I do not think that I know what I do not know.”

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Oct 2, 2011October 2nd, 2011, 11:37 am EDT
I'm an expert in my own mind, just ask my wife!
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Troutnut
Troutnut's profile picture
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Oct 2, 2011October 2nd, 2011, 12:03 pm EDT
OK, now I've read the whole thread (wanted to post my own definition without having read everyone else's). Some of the points made remind me of a line from Plato's Apology of Socrates, in which Socrates concludes after conversing with a man purported to be wise: “Well, I am certainly wiser than this man. It is only too likely that neither of us has any knowledge to boast of; but he thinks that he knows something which he does not know, whereas I am quite conscious of my ignorance. At any rate it seems that I am wiser than he is to this small extent, that I do not think that I know what I do not know.”

-Shawn


That's a good quote. If we define an "expert" as someone who has nothing left to learn, then there are no experts and the word is useless. That's why I would define it by percentile, and say maybe it includes the top 5-10% of fly fishermen or so.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
DrMartin
Posts: 6
DrMartin on Oct 2, 2011October 2nd, 2011, 1:15 pm EDT
I know for a fact it is not a term I would use to describe myself!!

Don't you think there might be "experts" at certain aspects of the sport and craft/art of fly fishing???

Casting, netting and handling of fish, aquatic insects on a given water, spinning deerhair, nail knots etc???

I'm just throwing these comments in to "muddy the waters" so to speak...Since I usually stay in "my little world" which is in another part of this forum...
David Martin

Quick Reply

Related Discussions

Topic
Replies
Last Reply
7
Jan 29, 2008
by Taxon
1
Aug 26, 2013
by Crepuscular
7
May 27, 2017
by David82nd
Troutnut.com is copyright © 2004-2024 (email Jason). privacy policy