Welcome to Flies Only

Flies Only - Section Two
By J. Castwell

My quest for knowledge of how flies looked to trout soon was fraught with obstacles. For starters, as I would set them on the tiny 'stage' in my basement to photograph them, they flew away; I ran out of 'photographic' subjects real fast. Also, there was a limited 'window of opportunity' in which to take the little rascals pictures. Ephemeralla means 'lives only a day.' Ergo, they died on me. Dead bugs do not a picture make; for that matter, anaesthetized ones do not either. Adults were only available a few months a year, I had all winter to take pictures and no bugs to shoot

Small May Fly

The inevitable result, raise the things. So the collection process was enlarged, which did not thrill my spouse at the time. Many trips to streams at various times of the year with collection vessels, figure out how to raise adults from nymphs, and in general, learn a whole lot of things about bugs and cameras I had not intended to learn.

Caddis and Mayfly nymphs Time, before spent on fishing, was now filled with poking around in stream-side mud, peering under rocks and turning over sticks and small logs. The truth is I loved it.

Neil Travis and me collecting nymphs

I assembled an area for a nursery for them in one end of my basement. This area was an expansion of my original fly-tying area to it's final and grand form.

Old tying area

Final tying area

Two small glass aquariums, side by side with a net covering and connecting the top of both. Only one had water in it. The other a small plant to provide some moisture and a resting place for hatchlings.

Twin tanks with top

I used normal equipment for some filtration and heat and one big glass jug with a lot of mud for the ones that liked that, nothing fancy. They lived and hatched.

Single aquarium with nymphs A spin-off occurred. With all this 'trout food' available in my basement, I loaded a 200 gallon aquarium with 500 brook trout fry. This I used for some color preference observations. The results of that are short. They had none. Feeding a multi-colored fish food showed they ate any thing, any color and even attacked a piece of old shoe-lace when they had that opportunity.

There were some instances of escapees flying off of the stage as I was trying to photograph them, this did not produce great harmony with the other residents of my home, as they would fly up the open stairway and flutter about the livingroom and it's inhabitants. I tried putting them in the refrigerator for a few moments first, but the heat from the photo-lights perked them up real fast.

My camera gear was not elaborate. A Miranda body, 47mm Soligar lense, double set of extension tubes, air release, tripod, battery powered medical ring light and two photo-floods. It was the cost of the film that became 'elaborate.'

My library

Finally, the never-ending search for books, pamphlets, papers and any other information on photography and insects took it's toll in time and dollars. Gratefully, I still have those to this day. An odd but welcome section of my library. J. Castwell

Next time . . .automatic response?

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