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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.

Lateral view of a Male Baetidae (Blue-Winged Olive) Mayfly Dun from Mystery Creek #308 in Washington
This dun emerged from a mature nymph on my desk. Unfortunately its wings didn't perfectly dry out.
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.

PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Oct 13, 2011October 13th, 2011, 9:51 am EDT
I spent last week in a forest along the Hudson River visiting an old university buddy, Jeff. He'd just taken a new position as Education Director for a forest consortium and asked if I'd fly out and help brainstorm with him. This consortium contains some heavy hitters in terms of resources including the American Musuem of Natural History, Columbia University, and NYC public and private schools. They hired the right guy in Jeff, as I couldn’t think of someone better able to tap a natural landscape, science, and the awe and wonder every kid and adult holds, whether they know it at first or not. I'm very excited to see what comes. As for me, I proposed various ideas including a watershed ecology program, and as an off-shoot, a fly-fishing camp.

While there, we wandered the forest for untold hours day and night, caught critters, taught on-site aquatic ecology, food chain relationships, and natural history to groups of middle and high school kids, and met teachers, development people, and consortium members. The main modern buildings are active and passive solar, as well as harness geothermal resources; It sells energy, rather than purchases it. The geothermal tap also allows the Forest Manager to raise brook trout on-site. I’m picturing a giant stream tank. :)

Here are a few images I whacked while there. I say "whacked" bc I only brought a point-n-shoot, which has its limitations.


There are several small, mostly warmwater, lakes and reservoirs on the property, although the deepest ones stratify and hold trout. They were mostly boggy, and acidic, with slow growth rates as evidenced by the bass and sunfish I could see. I was told there are some “bigger” bass in a couple of the lakes. The streams are small and hold various dace and minnows, as well as some brook trout.


Originally owned by Harvard, the place has been a forestry research site as well as a water supply for many years. It has buildings on it that date back to 1834.

The forest is very much alive and kicking:









Jeff teaching about energy flow (the food chain) using a large orbweaver spider that also offered a super-high “shriek factor” as it could be lured to pounce out from its hide with the light touch of a grass leaf. The girls shrieked and leapt backwards with the synchrony of a flock of starlings! By the end they wanted to touch her.


This hapless creature is a Southern Bog Lemming, and someone’s mid-night snack; Just who is hard to say, as many creatures will target the brains of their prey. A weasel is a prime suspect.


Can you see what's hiding in here? Look for the eye. Don't put your hand in there!


It was denning time, and we visited a couple hibernacula on prime sunny afternoons.


One den site was located a bit close for comfort, and potential liability, so we had to move some snakes. These were part of a mark-recapture study too.


This one was a real bruiser. I wonder how many chipmunks it could liquify and gulp in a summer?


We watched our steps with intensity. That rattle sounds like a hive of wasps and stays in your mind for a long time. We tallied 16 rattlers one afternoon.




We stayed in this building, built in 1834, sans water, heat, or lights. The first night we forgot a flashlight and had to feel around for the matches and candles we knew had to be there.



Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Oct 13, 2011October 13th, 2011, 10:25 am EDT
WOW, that's just beautiful! Glad to see there are still some timber rattlers left in that part of the world, too - I think they are (or are damned near) listed as Threatened by FWS. Those point-n-shoots don't do a half-bad job these days (that's all I got!)...I myself am hoping to teach a field biology class around here next summer, and several of my current students are already enthusiastic about it.

A giant stream tank would be wonderful. I am currently planning a 20-gallion set-up (all I can afford right now) with fish caught locally, like in the lower Au Sable, some of the feeder creeks, and a few local ponds.

Again, nice photos there, Paul. Looks like a wonderful trip.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Oct 13, 2011October 13th, 2011, 10:27 am EDT
Hi Paul,

Great trip. Great photos. Some snake!

The picture of the kids looking at the spider-web is special. The look of wonderment and inquisitiveness on their beautiful faces is a real uplift and bodes well for the future. It is interesting to note the effects of cultural change over the last 50 years. When I was a kid, the girls would have been shrieking and you wouldn't have got them within 20 feet of that web.:) BTW - where are the boys? They weren't running back up the trail shrieking, were they?:)

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
Goose
Posts: 77
Goose on Oct 13, 2011October 13th, 2011, 10:35 am EDT
Nice photos and good report. It was fun for us, too.
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Oct 13, 2011October 13th, 2011, 10:55 am EDT
Nice stuff Paul...It sounds like a few TroutNuts still have a little curious child inside and want to tag-a-long with you next time. Getting them youngsters outside is a really big first step these days.

I would bet big bucks that for most of us here on this site, we started out wandering around some local woods like those or grandma's back 40, or some interested adult took us hunting or fishing...Those early sparks are difficult, happily, to extinguish and remain with us our whole lives.

As I've told you in a PM, you never know mister, the positive effect you could have on someone...Start an avalanche there brother! :)

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
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Oct 13, 2011October 13th, 2011, 11:20 am EDT
Jonathan, that sounds exciting –sharing your passion. And if it creates or leaves something for future generations, what could be more awesome?

Kurt, they were from a private girl’s school. Yeah things have changed. We both commented on how nice it is for girl’s to be there without the boys though, as many girls can get quiet in mixed groups.

Spence, there’s getting them outside away from urban life. And then there’s showing them how it all works. I am encouraged since the vast majority of kids are easily fascinated. This venture, having a mostly urban audience, will suffer bumps along the way. One development person, wringing her hands, asked if the fly-fishing would hurt the fish. I responded by pulling a lemming from my pocket and knarfing it’s head off. Kidding…I was tactful.
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Oct 13, 2011October 13th, 2011, 11:55 am EDT
One development person, wringing her hands, asked if the fly-fishing would hurt the fish. I responded by pulling a lemming from my pocket and knarfing it’s head off. Kidding…


Ha! So now we know how the little fella "lost-his-head"...;)

My wife and I are having some work done on our bedroom and bath and have been sleeping in the guest room. Last night as I was lying down my wife said, "Listen! What's that noise?" There was an owl in the tree just outside the bedroom and we live in a pretty urbanized neighborhood...

We drove home from work a few weeks back and standing right in the street in front of our house was a Cooper's Hawk. There were a half-dozen or so crows in a nearby tree and on the lawn hassling this poor guy pretty hard. He had this puzzled look like, "Hey Spence. Can you help a fella out here? These guys are a pain."

How far up the Hudson is that? My late mother-in-law was from Long Island and went to Cortland NY to teacher's college and her first teaching job was there along the Hudson...We were going through some of her stuff and found a post card she had mailed to my wife's father back in Cortland and it had a penny taped to it...This was late 40's.

So the story goes, he had asked her to marry and she said not now and wanted to see how she could do, just finishing college and getting her first job...He gave her the penny and said that when you are ready mail me the penny...It was addressed to the family restaurant in Cortland and only said..."Here's that penny!" Maybe they didn't have them back then but it was sans zip code or even a street...Just the name of the restaurant and the town.

My wife seems to remember Croton may be where the school was, but she can't be sure.

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
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Oct 13, 2011October 13th, 2011, 12:24 pm EDT
Ha! So now we know how the little fella "lost-his-head"...;)

You know...if I could just get over my wimpiness (and be willing to suffer the parasites) and narf the heads off of mice and stuff, living off the land might not be so difficult. My son and I did a live off the land backpacking trip this summer, and he quickly learned how valuable, rare, and hard-earned protein is! He chased ground squirrels and chipmunks with his bow, to no avail, although his shooting finally came together on that trip. We ate a few grasshoppers and even tried ant larvae the bears love; Taste like formic acid. I packed some PB+J's and a freeze-dried lasagna -boy was he appreciative of those. When we left, my son hiked up to where he'd chased several squirrels and left some gorp as an offering -unsolicited by me. He wanted to be sure they'd make it through the winter for next year. He said, "Next time someone asks how I could hunt and love animals at the same time, I'll know better what to say."

I have some just wonderful images from that trip and would share them but I'm possibly pushing the limits of a fishing site as it is here. Come to think of it though, trout were the easiest protein source we found. Next time my son said we should bring salt, pepper, and some cooking oil though. Trout soup and trout on a stick, are not terribly tasty, at least when you've only gone hungry for a day and a night.

The Hudson area is near Newburgh, across the river from Beacon.
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Oct 13, 2011October 13th, 2011, 1:50 pm EDT
"One development person, wringing her hands, asked if the fly-fishing would hurt the fish." Your answer could have been, "Well, not any more than your development projects do!!" Whereupon you could have gone into a discussion of erosion, siltation, loss of cover, water warming, impervious surfaces, flashy flows, impoundment, fertilizers, storm water pollution, etc. etc. etc...."Will it hurt the poor fish?" Give me a break!!

Trust me, if I do teach my hoped-for field biology class next summer, we will be discussing ALL of these things. And, my students already know I love flyfishing!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Oct 13, 2011October 13th, 2011, 2:12 pm EDT
Oh, she finds and tracks money for the outfit; Has nothing to do with real estate development.

Yeah, that feels good, but only in the short term. I've found it's best to befriend and enlighten, not attack. That just makes people defensive, and then you've lost the opportunities for meaningful discussion. I'm a patient man when it counts.
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Oct 13, 2011October 13th, 2011, 4:06 pm EDT
My mistake, I should have known you meant some other kind of development, but one can never be sure. Being in the environmental consulting field, "development person" means land developer, and that's what I thought you meant. Many of whom, by the way, ARE environmentally conscious and do their best to protect the natural world, such as my former employer in Ann Arbor, JJR. Sorry to go off on a "mini-rant" here...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Keystoner
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Eugene, OR - formerly Eastern PA

Posts: 145
Keystoner on Nov 13, 2011November 13th, 2011, 8:17 am EST
Thanks a lot, Paul! Now I'm homesick!! Great stuff though, especially the stuff with the kids.

One of my best memories is of a time when I was able to take my now ex-girlfriend's oldest son fishing. He was 9 at the time, so in the interest of just having fun I opted for a worms and bobber set-up. I cast out into an old canal, and started hooking big crappies hand over fist. Literally, EVERY cast caught a big fish. Long story short, he went totally ballistic. The best part is that when we started he was sitting on the bank with his face buried in a PSP, but by the time the fourth fish was brought in, he had forgotten all about it. He was totally involved in/excited about what we were doing and the PSP was laying in the bushes. He didn't pick it up again for the rest of the day, and when we finally ran out of worms he was frantically searching for more in the woods so we could keep fishing!! Great day.

Thanks again, Paul.
"Out into the cool of the evening, strolls the Pretender. He knows that all his hopes and dreams, begin and end there." -JB
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Nov 13, 2011November 13th, 2011, 9:41 am EST
Great story, Keystoner! Yep, get 'em to catch a few fish and they're hooked, pun intended. My Mom and Dad never had to ask me if I would rather watch televison instead of going fishing (since we didn't have all of those portable electronic devices when I was growing up)...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Keystoner
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Eugene, OR - formerly Eastern PA

Posts: 145
Keystoner on Nov 14, 2011November 14th, 2011, 9:28 pm EST
My parents never asked me or my brother, either. They pretty much told us. TV/Video games were not an option 90% of the time. I HATED it then, but now, I'm glad they did it that way. Whatya know, the old man was right. Now that I'm older, I DO understand.
"Out into the cool of the evening, strolls the Pretender. He knows that all his hopes and dreams, begin and end there." -JB
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Nov 21, 2011November 21st, 2011, 8:05 am EST
I'm the same way with my son. He earns much of his entertainment -and develops himself in the process. Life is physical. At least, that's the idea.

One big hurdle is the landscapes so many kids grow up on now. At one time I was developing a slideshow on children and landuse trends and went back and photographed my old stomping grounds, where our family would go hiking, creek walking, and berry picking. Most of those places didn't even exist anymore, having been turned into housing tracts as far as the eye could see. One day I stood on a high hill and watched mini-vans streaming in and out of garages, taking kids to all their scheduled events. What fascinated me were the names chosen for these places: Deerfield, Pheasant Hollow, Heron Hill, Hawk's Eerie, Cobblestone Creek (now silted in), etc, etc, ad nauseum.

Where I live now we back up to National Forest that backs up to designated wilderness. The only hesitancy I have is mountain lions. As my son has grown I've extended his range, and heck, he could also be struck by lightning. He's got forts out there now, and I find little fairy houses and gnome towns he and his friends have built. What fun.

"I'm bored." ... "Go outside. A creative kid like you can't spend 20 minutes out there. or anywhere, and still be bored." A couple hours later I have to go find him. Inside or out, he IS one creative little guy, he makes cool things out of found stuff all the time. I ask him what he wants for his birthday, and he actually has to think long and hard. Interestingly, there's one thing that gets him wanting stuff, and that's child focused advertising. We don't have TV reception but he gets a Lego "magazine" -actually a slick advertising rag touting their latest character sets. We've explained what the mag is to him, and he enjoys them, but is more apt to sit down and turn that motivation into making his own comic strip, or Lego adventure (he has plenty).

Here's a pic of some spruce cone animals he and I made, (his discovery), one morning in the forest. Aren't they lovely?


Video is not bad per say. But it is very powerful. I discovered that when my son was very small. Thomas the Tank Engine got him train crazy. He became a "train kid". So...I've used that power, steering his interests, or expanding his interests, with MUCH better stuff. There's lots of great stories out there, and non-fiction so few kids get provided handed as entertainment. My son has watched David Attenborough for years now, and other BBC science productions, as well as NOVA specials, Sagan's Cpsmos, etc... And he just loves it all.

Well...I'm almost sorry I started this thread since it has little directly to do with fishing. I've NOT been fishing lately, but hunting, so my body, and mind with it, has been elsewhere. Will be back to talk fishing someday, probably sooner rather than later. Happy holidays all.
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Nov 21, 2011November 21st, 2011, 9:40 am EST
Paul, that's fun stuff!! Reminds me of where I grew up down in Troy, MI where my folks still live (now over 40 years in the same house). Our subdivision was built, like so many in that part of the world, on an old farm (which you can see on 1963 aerial photography, sometimes available for viewing on the Troy city website, hasn't worked much lately). When we were kids my Mom and Dad would take us walking back there on a very regular basis, and there were fields, forests, pheasants, rabbits, quail, and even a pond that held green sunfish, black bullheads, and creek chubs that we caught on spinning and spincasting tackle and worms. (My Dad once hooked something considerably larger that we think might have been a bass.)

Most of the city was like that when we were kids. We could drive not five minutes from our house and find local farm stands right on the main roads with fresh sweet corn and tomatoes. There were farms and creeks and woodlots all over the place. Of course, our subdivision was one of the first, and more were to follow...

Now nearly the entire city is one big subdivision interspersed with strip malls and office buildings. However, the woods behind my folks' place that we walked in as kids is STILL THERE, in fact the woods themselves have grown and swallowed up some of the surrounding old fields. The pond is gone and a new one was built along the same drainage, which had the same fish for a few years but is now crowded with feral goldfish (there's still some creek chubs and a few white suckers try to "run the dam" every spring). However, we have blue and green herons and great egrets visiting the pond now, and there are lots of deer, fox, a few pheasants, occasional coyotes, and the usual mix of varmints (woodchuck, possum, skunks, raccoons, a few bunnies, lots of squirrels). In fact, I think the wildlife that used to be found all over the area when we were young is now all concentrated into our immediate area because they have nowhere else to go!

To bring this discussion back to fishing, there is also a lake a few miles away from my folks' place that I have been fishing since 1974. I caught my first flyrod bluegill, bass (just a little guy about 6"), and crappie in there a couple of decades ago, and since 2005 I have fly fished it exclusively. While living with my folks due to lack of employment in 2009 and 2010, fishing this lake sustained me, and I did pretty well there in spring on the sunfish, crappie, largemouth, and occasional yellow perch. There is also a beautiful woodlot of mature deciduous forest (beech, maple, oak) on the western shore that is fabulous for wildflowers in spring. During the winter the place is great for cross-country skiiing, in fact I did my first ski ever there with my Mom and sister when I was 14 (and have been addicted to it ever since) on the adjacent golf course where they groom trails.

Now that I live in northern Michigan right on the edge of the (Huron) National Forest myself, I don't enjoy going back to Troy all that much except to see my folks, as the traffic is horrible and nature down there is pretty beat-up looking, not to mention the fact that they live right next to I-75 (built not long before we moved there in 1971). But, at least the woods and trails and creek and lake of my youth are still there as an oasis of nature in a sea of overdevelopment.

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

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