Friday, April 15, 2011

Community Service

Tuesday I had the opportunity to help a local 5th grade teacher introduce her students to some aspects of fly fishing. Specifically, I went to help the students identify bugs they found in the Gallatin River, which is about three blocks from the school. 
Buddies Will and Brady joined me. We split up into four groups and looked for bugs to identify, sketch, record what phase of life they were in, what type of water they were in, and other things.
Turns out, these kids know their bugs. To an extent. When we arrived, I got nervous that the kids might actually know more than I - they had bug-identification books, several seines, river boots, fly rods, bugs in vials, and had some tough questions about how to tell insects apart. One young man asked what the difference was between a honey fly and something else is. I responded that one's bigger and different color, having never heard of a honey fly and trying to avoid losing my credibility. When in doubt while streamside, what they'd found was a March brown nymph (although most actually were rhithrogena or baetis). There were some crazy mottled tannish mayfly nymphs that I was unable to ID, but on Tuesday, those were March browns too. We also found a few big stonefly nymphs, some midge larvae, dozens and dozens of cased caddis, a couple free-living caddis, some cranefly larvae, and a couple sculpins, among other myriad bugs.
It was good to connect with my community and its kids. I don't get enough interaction with kids. We might get invited back in a month or two to help them actually fly fish - here's hoping!
With knowledge of what bugs were active, Will and I fished upstream after school. Neither of us had fished that bit before, and it was good.
The March brown emerger (soft-hackled Pheasant Tail) was the fly of the day. Thanks Mrs. Wilson's class!


Trout MaGee said...

Great post. Its amazing how much kids know. Looked like a great day out on the water all around. Thanks for following.

Sanders said...

Sounds like a great day...glad everyone had a good time!