Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Is #phenology more about patterns than dates?

Yesterday afternoon, thanks to the local chapter of Trout Unlimited [TU], I had a chance to give a short history of fly-fishing to a group of young people in Stillwater. Despite occasional snow showers, there were nine of them in attendance and I was pleased to see that more than half were young women. Many of the latter, in turn, looked very happy to learn that the first important book about trout fishing was written by a woman, Dame Juliana Berners.

fifteen inches of snow, mid-April 2014
fifteen inches of snow, mid-April 2014
Photo by J. Harrington

My brief talk was preceded by Robert Hawkins', owner of Bob Mitchell's Fly Shop slightly longer session on fly-fishing tackle and then a brief casting exercise in the school's gym, using equipment provided by various parents and chapter members in attendance. A session on knot-tying followed the history of fly-fishing presentation. I'm proud that TU does this education and outreach effort. Many of us know the issues described by Richard Louv's book on Nature Deficit Disorder and realize that people are most likely to protect what they love. We expect efforts like the "Trout in the Classroom" series to ease students in grades 5 through 12 into fly-fishing and a greater love of the outdoors.Maybe some of them will become leaders in TU and other conservation and sustainability efforts in future years.

All yesterday's fly-fishing practice and talks brought me face-to-face with the realization that we hadn't yet posted April's fly hatches and wildflower blooms. Here's some fly hatches (etc.) to look for in southeast Minnesota this month:
  •   Midges
  •   Baetis species (Tiny blue-winged olive)
  •   Paraleptophlebia adoptiva(blue dunn)
  •   Ephemerella subvaria (dark Hendrickson, Adams)
  •   Caddisflies (various)
  •   Crane Fly: Antocha, plus
  •   Scuds and Leeches

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot), late April 2015
Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot), late April 2015
Photo by J. Harrington

Last time I counted, there were slightly less than 100 wildflowers listed as blooming in April in Minnesota. You can find the list on this page of the Minnesota Wildflowers web site, which also notes the variability in blooming times between southern and northern Minnesota and the volatility of Spring's arrival in recent years.

Fishing, His Birthday

By Michael Sowder

With adams, caddis, tricos, light cahills,
blue-wing olives, royal coachmen, chartreuse trudes,
green drakes, blue duns, black gnats, Nancy quills,
Joe’s hoppers, yellow humpies, purple chutes,
prince nymphs, pheasant tails, Eileen’s hare’s ears,
telicos, flashbacks, Jennifer’s muddlers,
Frank bugs, sow bugs, zug bugs, autumn splendors,
woolly worms, black buggers, Kay’s gold zuddlers,
clippers, tippet, floatant, spools of leader,
tin shot, lead shot, hemostats, needle nose,
rod, reel, vest, net, boots, cap, shades and waders,
gortex shell and one bent Macanudo—
I wade in a swirl of May-colored water,
cast a fine gray quill, the last tie of my father.


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