Spring is here. More and more anglers are on the river with each passing day. They're out there flailing those lines. Some are hooking fish, some are hooking themselves. Some of them aren't just fishing. There are some anglers that study their water, their environment, and there are anglers who study what insects are in the water.
It is a good idea to get to know what insects are in the water, and also to see which ones are below all that sediment and rock. Those hungry trout are eating something other than those artfully crafted flies you whipped up last week, right? But what is it? How do we find out what they're eating?
|Professor Melichar of Cutthroat Anglers putting on a clinic in the ways of using a seine.|
Sometimes, we get lucky, and the trouts are munching on some flies that are swarming around. We can see that the Hexagenia Limbata is hatching. The fish rise and gulp down those big yellow bugs, giving us a pretty big clue that we should tie on a big yellow bug. If you fish like me, that's not always the case. I fish mostly under the surface with nymphs and midges (and big ass streamers, but that's another story). When I first started to fish, I never knew how much life existed under the rocks of the streams I frequented. Fortunately, there is a way for the average angler to access the elusive world of insect life that lives in the watery realm below the streams. It is called a seine.
A seine is essentially a net that works to catch the insect life as it flows down stream. Mine is two wooden dowels with a section of screen stretched in-between them. It rolls up neatly and fits into my pack. Using the seine is easy with two people. I can hold open the seine below the surface of the stream and send my buddy upstream a few feet to do their best rendition of the San Juan Shuffle. A few well placed foot movements stir up some gravel, releasing (hopefully) a deluge of insect life that floats down steam a few feet and lodges itself into my seine. When I carefully lift the seine from the numbingly cold water, I should have a fair assessment of what's going on below the gravel. To be fair, it doesn't always work that well, but when it does, it's quite amazing.
The seine allows us a look into the specific insects and invertebrates that are living in that precise area in which we're fishing. Using this invaluable tool can make your day a bit more productive. In the near future, I'll cover the next step - how to match the hatch with what's in your box o' bugs.
|Using a seine in the Upper Colorado yields a variety of life from under the water and gravel.|
|Putting on a stonefly pattern might be a good idea, eh?|