March 3rd, 2008

Learning Bugs
By James Castwell

Some several years back, The Life History and Economic Importance of A Burrowing Mayfly, Hexagenia limbata, In Southern Michigan Lakes, by Burton P. Hunt, along with Mayflies of Michigan Trout Streams, by Justin W. and Fannie A. Leonard, and also including a bulletin on "The Mayflies, or Ephemeroptera, of Illinois, by B. D. Burks were prominent among my daily reading. Make that studying and reference volumes. Those were my days, and not a few nights, of learning about bugs. Mainly, the insects that seemed to comprise the normal diet of the trout I was attempting to capture.

In those works there are 'keys,' tables and such where one can systematically trace the characteristics of an unknown bug and convert it to a known insect. Why would I want to do this? Not really sure I can give a very convincing argument for it, but that I know it added more to my days on the stream and enhanced the days when I could not be on it.

I will suggest that any of you who may think it might be fun to investigate these paths, to do so with all haste. Enlist a partner for companionship as well. This type of journey is best when shared with another of like mind. I am aware of some who have gone before us all and did so virtually alone, dark passage indeed. Fortunate will you be if you can hatch such a plan these days and times.

If you would like a tiny head start, or a gentle shove, let me offer this for now. A section we have we call, Not Quite Entomology.

There you will find a series of insects and how to likely find them and perhaps how to mimic them and their habits. I had a companion during the years that most of that section was actually produced and shall always value that time amongst my most cherished. They were good times. Days and evenings of challenge and identification. Times spent discerning the faintest details of a specimen under the whispering light of a Coleman Lantern gently chasing the darkness from the kitchen table of the camper we called home those seasons.

For those of you who may think learning all of these big names is tough, remember that you had little trouble with the word stethoscope or Mississippi. Or, just what is a spinner anyway? A dun is a what? Is one an imago, or is one a sub–imago? Works for me. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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