Sunday, July 29, 2012
North Fork Yuba Entomology Class A Huge Success!
The Wild Plum area on the North Fork Yuba River offered 5 students the perfect ambiance to increase their knowledge on the aquatic insects that reside there. Biologist, educator, and entomological illustrator Christine Elder (http://www.christineelder.com/) led the lecture segment of the class teaching simple solutions for fly anglers for making positive identifications of the bugs.
Her highly informative hand outs and anatomically correct illustrations gave the students the necessary tools to be able to refresh their memory well after the class was done.
A booster pack hooked up to a power inverter supplied the juice to run an aerator to keep the live aquatic specimens in good condition. We added chunks of ice to cool the the water temps as well.
It was amazing how the golden stones would sit right on top of the aerator taking in large amounts of oxygen to satisfy their needs. All bugs were released unharmed back into the same stretch of water where they came from. This set-up kept the bugs happy and the students could check out how each bug's gills worked with the assistance of a magnifying glass. They found it really fascinating!
Our group of beginning anglers said they were amazed to be shown the high density of aquatic insects inhabiting just a short reach of Haypress Creek, including the prolific populations of the dobsonfly (hellgrammite). The main stem of the NFYR had an abundance of net spinning caddis, and Baetis nymphs.
Our complete species list included October caddis, Glossosoma caddis, Rhyacophila caddis, net-spinning Hydropsychid caddis, Epeorus mayfly, Baetis mayfly, Drunella mayfly, golden stone, Isoperla stonefly, Alloperla stonefly, and midge & cranefly larva.
I went over fly patterns for the major groups from nymph to emerger to adult stages right on through to the egg laying spent adult. I also covered reasons why certain patterns work so well, like how a flashback pattern simulated the gas bubble trapped under an emerging insect's skin. I also performed on -water demos with effective presentations for the students giving them some new skills to try on their own.
At the end of the day Christine pulled out the flash cards and gave the students a little quiz to access the knowledge gained over the day. They passed with flying colors! There where lots of laughs with this simple game and each student won one of my custom flies for their efforts.
It was such a rewarding day for Christine and me to be able to share our knowledge and to see our students gain a real appreciation for the diversity of insects upon which trout depend!
Announcement - We will be doing another class on Saturday August 25th on the North Fork Yuba River at the same location. Click the link below for more information, we hope to see you there!