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Louis Rhead.

American trout-stream insects : a guide to angling flies and other aquatic insects alluring to trout online

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BERKELEY

GENERAL
LIBRARY

UNIVERSITY OF
CALIFORNIA




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AMERICAN TROUT- STREAM INSECTS




EXPERT DRY FLY-CASTING ON THE STREAM
{.Pencil Portrait of Hi'. Georgt I.n Bra/nehe)



Copyright, 1916, by
Frederick A. Stokes Company



Copyright, 1916, by
Forest and Stream Puhlishing Co.



Copyright, 1914, 1915, by
Field and Stream Publishing Co.



All rights reserved



5



TO MY HON'ORED
AND ESTEEMED FRIEND OF MANY YEARS

TARLETOX H. BEAX

Fish Culturist of the State of New York
President of the American Fisheries Society
Founder and First Director of the New York Aquarium
Chief of the Department of Fish and Game at Many Universal
Expositions
Author of Innumerable and Important Piscicultural Books and Gov-
ernment Documents
Decorated in the Legion of Honor and Herite Agricole of France
the Red Eagle of Germany, and the Rising Sun of Japan
for his Services to Fish Culture and the Fisheries,
etc., etc.



M842763




PREFACE



The object of this book is to furnish anglers,
amateurs, students of entomology, and others in-
terested in aquatic insects, with a colored selection
of the most abundant and well-known trout insects
that appear, month by month, on the rivers and
lakes of the temperate regions of North America.

Inquiries from various State entomologists failed
to locate a single volume or treatise on trout-stream
insects. Likewise, diligent search in libraries and
large bookstores proved futile. This shows the
present volume to be the first and only work on this
most necessary adjunct to the angler's craft. It is
curious that while our Government documents re-
lating to pisciculture are equal to, if not in advance
of, those of European countries, there, particularly
in England and France, research in the field of
entomology has kept pace with other branches of
science.

After looking back over a period of seven trout



PREFACE

seasons, in which the insect studies of this book have
been in preparation, the author well understands
why the subject has not been treated heretofore in
America. No artist could do it properly unless he
were an angler of wide experience, with an infinite
love of his subject, and willing to devote ample time
to the work. He must be present on the streams
nearly all the summer; and he must be prepared
to forego much pleasure in the pursuit of his fa-
vorite sport — it so often happens trout are rising
to the very flies which must needs be captured. No
angler could do it unless he were an artist ; and no
artist unless he were an angler; it must be a com-
bination of both.

The difficulty in catching, uninjured, these most
fragile insect specimens, in keeping them alive in
a wire cage long enough to paint them in colors
true to the living fly (when dead, their beautiful
color instantly fades), is an undertaking my
brother anglers would scarcely believe. Most of
the insects must, of necessity, be captured at eve-
ning — very often miles away from home. It is im-
perative that the captives be kept over night in
the open air ; and in the morning many of the most
delicate are either dead or so greatly injured as to
be useless. Then the hunt for them must be gone
all over again. Nearly every specimen has to be
painted by the aid of a magnif ying-glass ; and the
most fragile are the most restless. To stick a pin



PREFACE

in them is sure death, the mangling of the body, and
the fading of the color.

Aquatic insects — at least, those most alluring to
trout — have a tendency to keep themselves hovering
over deep or rushing water, while the maddened
would-be capturer stands waiting to get them
within reach of his net, or else, teasingly tempted,
he flounders about in the water, wet to the skin,
only to miss the object of his desire.

Worse, far worse, are these elusive insects to get
within the net than the wily trout.

Louis Rhead.

Brooklyn, N. Y.



IX




CONTENTS

PART I
AMERICAN TROUT-STREAM INSECTS

HAPTER PAGE

Preface vii

Introductory Note xv

I Why It Is Best to Copy Nature .... 1

II System and Classification 5

III The Artificial Fly of Commerce . . . . 13

IV Trout Flies in April — When Insects First

Appear 18

V Trout Insects for May 35

VI The Best Trout Insects for June ... 52

VII Typical Insects of July 66

VIII Some Trout Insects for August .... 77

IX Six Best Flies for Each Month .... 87

X Concerning My Artificial Imitations . . 97

XI New Names for Flies 101

XII The Making of an Artificial Fly . . . 104

XIII A Test of the New Flies 124



J



CONTENTS

PART II
NEW ARTIFICIAL NATURE LURES

CHAPTER PAGE

Introductory Note: concerning the rapidly
diminishing natural food of fresh-water

game fishes 129

XIV New Lures That Are True to Life . . .133
XV Shiny Devils: gold- and silver-bodied fancy

MINNOWS FOR SALMON, BIG TROUT, AND BASS . 139

XVI Nature Lures for Summer Fishing: imita-
tions of minnows, grasshoppers, dragon-
flies and caterpillars 144

XVII Artificial Frogs That Wiggle Their Legs

and Float 151

XVIII The Three Best Nature Lures for Bass . .158

XIX Silver Shiner and Golden Chub: new min-
nows FOR SURFACE OR DEEP-WATER TROLLING
AFTER BIG LAKE TROUT, TOGUE, MASCALONGE,
OR SALMON 164

XX The Right Implements and Methods: their

IMPORTANCE FOR SURE SUCCESS 173




ILLUSTRATIONS

Expert Dry Fly-Casting on the Stream
(Pencil Portrait of Mr. George La
Branche). In colors Frontispiece

FACING
PAGE

. . 6



Specimens of Seven Different Orders of Insects .

A Selection of the Best Trout Insects for the Month of
April. Painted from Life by the Author. In colors .

A Selection of the Best Trout Insects for the Month of
May. Painted from Life by the Author. In colors .

A Selection of the Best Trout Insects for the Month of
June. Painted from Life by the Author. In colors .

A Selection of the Best Trout Insects for the Month of
July. Painted from Life by the Author. In colors

A Selection of the Best Trout Insects for the Month of
August and Corresponding Artificial Flies Tied by the
Author 80

Selected Nature Flies Tied in Accordance with the Au-
thor's Patterns and Sold by His Agents .... 90

Tools for, and Methods of Making a Fly . . . .106

Feather Minnows for Bass, Pike and Trout . . . .134



20



36



54.



68



ILLUSTRATIONS



PACING
PAGE



Gold- and Silver-Bodied Fancy Minnows for Salmon, Big
Trout and Bass 140

Nature Lures for Summer Fishing: Imitations of Min-
nows, Grasshoppers, Dragon Fly and Caterpillars . 144

Artificial Frogs — Lamper Eel and Helgramite . . .152

Crawfish: Under View, Back View and Side View. Hel-
gramite: Side View 158

Silver Shiner (actual size) for either Surface or Deep
Water Trolling after Lake Trout, Mascalonge, Pike
and Salmon 166







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SPECIMENS OF SEVEN DIFFERENT ORDERS OF INSECTS
7



AMERICAN TROUT-STREAM INSECTS

drake class, of which there are over forty species
in the British Isles. This region somewhat cor-
responds to our temperate regions in climatic con-
dition, yet I am pretty sure that not only have we
many more species of that class but they are larger,
much more brilliant and varied in color. The same
will no doubt be found true with the class of
Perlidce, or stone-flies, and other orders.

I have not yet had the opportunity to study the
insects north or south of the temperate regions ; yet
I am of the opinion that both those sections of our
American continent will show an entirely different
class of insects. A gentleman from North Caro-
lina kindly sent me some trout flies caught in his lo-
cality which were entirely new to me; one, in par-
ticular, a spinner of gigantic proportions compared
with those found here.

The following table of seven orders the angler
will be able to use as a guide to identify different
species in their class whenever he observes them in
their natural state, either as creeper or as mature
insect :

First: The browns, or stone-flies, are all bred
in the water and hatch out from a creeper. They
are most plentiful in the spring, but some are on
the water all summer. Their bodies are smooth
and fleshy, and they have two pairs of smooth, ob-
long wings, which, when folded, circle closely over
and beyond the body. They have two feelers at



SYSTEM AND CLASSIFICATION

the head, and most of them two wisks at the tail.
They are mostly brown in color, and are very quick
runners, both in the water and on land.

Second: Drakes are all bred in the water and
are of various sizes and colors, abounding in all their
varieties in vast numbers, from the large green
drake to the very tiny white drake. Their move-
ments are sluggish on land; they will even allow
themselves to be taken up by the wings. They are
not so hardy as the browns. Their shoulders and
bodies are exposed; but nature has furnished them
with a temporary covering, which they cast off
when the weather suits, bursting open the covering
at the shoulders and coming out a different color.
They have close, thick shoulders, and smooth, taper-
ing bodies which curve upward like the feathers in
the tail of a drake. They have a pair of smooth,
oblong wings, which, when at rest, stand upright
close together; a small wing stands at the root of
each large one, and there are two or three hairs in
the tail. Some species hatch out in two or three
weeks. Others continue hatching through the en-
tire summer.

Third: The duns have two long feelers, small
heads, short necks, and small, jumped-up shoulders.
They have two pairs of large wings, set near the
head; the under wings of some fold double, and all
lie close together along the back and slope down
over the sides, growing broader at the ends. Duns



AMERICAN TROUT-STREAM INSECTS

all breed in the water from creepers that are enclosed
in artificial cases, ingeniously fashioned around
them for self-preservation. Trout consume these
creepers while in their cases at the bottom, also
while they are rising from the mud to the surface,
which they do twice a year. When on land or at
the water's surface in repose, they are similar in
appearance to moths. They sport on the wing
more in the dusk and twilight than in the daytime,
and in general they are tender and susceptible to
cold. They are more numerous on warm evenings,
flying in quick whirls. When they alight they run
exceedingly fast.

Fourth: The class of spinners, the long-legged,
slender tribe of insects very alluring to trout.
Some are bred on the land and some in the water.
They have in general two feelers and a small trunk
at the nose; six long, thin legs; and a pair of long,
narrow, transparent wings — some slanting upward
from the shoulders, others lying horizontally on
each other over the back. There are vast varieties
of them, from the large gray spinner to the small
mosquito.

Fifth: The house-fly. The flies of this class

resemble the house-fly in having large heads, thick

shoulders, a thick body which is about half the

length of the fly, and a pair of clear, oblong wings

which lie flat or horizontal and point more or less

from the body. They are principally bred on land ;


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Online LibraryLouis RheadAmerican trout-stream insects : a guide to angling flies and other aquatic insects alluring to trout → online text (page 1 of 10)