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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Penrith, Cumbria
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    2,244

    Default Medium olive and /Blue-winged olive duns

    Hi', All,
    I am trying to find out whether or not the shortage of medium olives and blue-winged olives in my area, northwest /Cumbria, in recent seasons is a local problem.
    Have any of our contributors seen either species in quantity this season? During my wanderings in the River Eden catchment, both species have been conspicuous by their absence. From my first full season on the river on the Penrith AA water, in 1960, until several seasons ago, the daytime sport in May and June was dominated by hatches of the medium olive duns. This spring, I didn't see a single hatch, and can honestly recall seeing no more than a half-dozen (identified) all season, including the second peak flight period, which is August and September.
    During the summer, just the odd BWO noticed in full daylight; and nothing resembling a hatch. large dark olives should have started their second peak flight period in September, and should continue to emerge throughout October. I don't get out two or three times a week, as I used to, as I will be 84 in January ; but I have been out once or twice every week this season.
    One possible reason for not seeing flies on the water or in the air (depending upon the weather) could be that they are changing their habits to cope with the climate change. Subtle changes which don't affect us could well be responsible for aquatic insects emerging after dusk or dark: and I don't stay at the river after about 11.00pm these days, as the family is concerned about my welfare.
    I really suffer these days, as I used to fish big black, hackled, dry flies from last light right through until the early hours -- usually packing up about 1.00 to 2.00am. I discovered the technique I employed -- very short line work, of a mere 7 yards range -- back in the early 1960s, at a time when most of the nocturnal anglers switched from day tactics to Bustard fishing or fishing with fly and maggot. Incidentally, I caught more sea trout on the Eden and Eamont on dry fly at night than I did when using normal sea trout night tackle.
    I look forward to your observations on the fly hatches in your respective fishing locations.
    TC.
    PS The autumn emergence of LDOs has been non-existant on my outings by day this year.
    We walk on the clay of the river bank of life only once. Try to leave a good impression. Hidden Content Hidden Content
    TC 16/7/2013

  2. #2

    Default Re: Medium olive and /Blue-winged olive duns

    I am surprised that no one has commented on this topic. Certainly there is a reduction in active fly life here in Wiltshire & Hampshire but what is the cause? Kick sampling suggests that there is life sub surface but it does not seem to produce the 'flying' goods! Hence lack of rising fish - because the majority of fish are finding their food beneath the surface?

    But when is fly life emerging to continue the cycle of life? That's the problem!
    "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers"
    Henry VI, William Shakespeare

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Penrith, Cumbria
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    2,244

    Default Re: Medium olive and /Blue-winged olive duns

    Hi', blithfield2'

    Thanks for your reply. I agree with what you say regarding the larvae that appear to be available. To make matters more puzzling, I have been finding plenty evidence of spinner activity (by females) involving those upwinged species which lay egg patches on submerged stones -- the tops of which project from the riffles in which most larvae and pupae are found. Since the vast majority this summer have been tiny, I attribute them to such seasonal species as small dark olive, iron blue, small spurwing and pale watery. I was also expecting to find the larger patches laid by seasonal LDO, which peak in their autumn flight period. They were there in March - April but I have seen only one or two in the last month or so.
    i know two keen anglers who claim to have seen LDO duns after dark; and I know that BWOs hatch late in the day, so I wonder if climate change is having an adverse affect upon some species which are normally said to emerge morning, afternoon, early evening or in a mixture of those periods.
    Medium olives on the Eden system, when they were more prolific, could produce a series of trickle hatches, off-and-on, from morning until late afternoon. On a good day in May-June, MOs used to provide day-long dry fly fishing. When a hatch petered out on one flat or pool below a riffle, you just paddled upstream looking for another one. The surface activity had to be seen to be believed -- I don't see anything to compare with that now. Such changes, affecting MOs, BWOs and IBs etc, are what prompt me to ask for observations like yours.
    Thanks again, TerryC.
    Last edited by jada0406; 03-10-2018 at 10:42 AM. Reason: omission
    We walk on the clay of the river bank of life only once. Try to leave a good impression. Hidden Content Hidden Content
    TC 16/7/2013

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Cambridge
    Posts
    1,955

    Default Re: Medium olive and /Blue-winged olive duns

    I don't have 50 years to compare back to but in the relatively short time I've been fishing in Lincolnshire the limited hatches we had do seem to have declined. Again we're still seeing the nymphs in kick samples but not the surface activity. Certainly can't rely on finding rising fish on a days fishing, if I come across them then happy days, but I'd have some disappointing trips if I didn't make a cast except to rising fish.
    http://thesurfacefilm.blogspot.co.uk

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Not So Greater Manchester.
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    17,441

    Default Re: Medium olive and /Blue-winged olive duns

    Must admit, I've not seen as much adult fly life this season as previous. Did see a few small olives on Sunday and the trout were soon on them.
    Early season only saw the odd LDO, put that down to the beast from the east and things were indeed slow. As for the rest of the summer, fishing was good even to dries but lacked the natural adult flies. Most of my fishing is day time so not the best to spot any early or late hatches. Something must have hatched otherwise I don't think the trout will have been looking up. I've also missed the kick sampling this year so no idea if any changes have occurred, last year there were an increase in gastropods. Not seen any late LDOs, MOs, only a few sedge, the small olives and some stoneflies.
    I have a wife and daughter. I'm always wrong and outnumbered. Hidden Content

    A Lancsy Lad. Hidden Content

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Penrith, Cumbria
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    Default Re: Medium olive and /Blue-winged olive duns

    HI', and thanks for the replies. It certainly looks as though the lack of evidence regarding emerging duns is a widespread problem. I am quite sure that up in Cumbria, because of the great diversity of waters -- upland tarns and fell becks; lowland tarns and lakes; a large selection of rivers and streams --- we have just about the biggest diversity of aquatic insect life in the country, 27 out of a total of 34 species of stonefly, for example. However, as far as the most important upwinged species are concerned, I would expect some of the southern chalk streams to produce more prolific hatches: but blithfield 2 has seen a much diminished number of duns, despite seeing their larvae in his kick-samples.
    We know that numerous sedge species emerge at dusk and later, as do several stonefly species, plus BWOs. Are more of our important ''day flies'' now turning nocturnal? Duns have to hatch at some time; I've been finding more female spinners under submerged stones this year than in any recent season, so it seems logical to conclude that there are duns emerging when we are not on the water, generally, day light hours.
    Night fishing is nowhere near as popular now in Cumbria as it once was, so we need to find those who still go out Bustard fishing, or dry fly fishing in the dark, as I did when I discovered how productive (and relatively easy) it was , in practice. I used to tell my mates that it was more successful than not catching fish in daytime.
    I started a thread on the Brown trout 2018 page today. I'll be checking it next. You never know, someone may have a flash photo of duns taken in the dark. Thanks again, TerryC
    Last edited by jada0406; 03-10-2018 at 08:32 PM. Reason: omissions of letters
    We walk on the clay of the river bank of life only once. Try to leave a good impression. Hidden Content Hidden Content
    TC 16/7/2013

  7. #7

    Default Re: Medium olive and /Blue-winged olive duns

    Good to hear from you Terry, glad to know you're still bothering the trout.

    Saw very few aquatic insects early this season, the grannom hatch was a fraction of of its former self and fly life generally was nowhere near as good as last season which in itself wasn't particularly good. From June onward I've been away from the rivers and, to a lesser extent, lakes due to a conspiracy of work and weather so I have no worthwhile personal observations to offer on that score but, as you suggest, it would seem that climate change could well be a very significant factor in the decline of river flies.

    I'm well aware of our direct impact on rivers but the less obvious effect of climate change on insect populations in general has been studied in pristine environments over many years and, sad to say, the decline in their numbers, if not in the actual species, has been clearly demonstrated making me think that my long-distance road trips to fishing destinations have played a significant part in the destruction of the very experience which I sought to enjoy.

    It would be reassuring to think that our local hatches have somehow switched over from day to night but I'm afraid that in my experience the abundance of river flies has been falling steeply over the last twenty years and if the hatches have changed in their timing there's very little evidence of that in the day to support the idea.

    Sorry for the downbeat view but that is where we are in this, the age of the Anthropocene, witnessing the Sixth Extinction. I wonder when our governments will wake up to the issue and begin to address it as it's all looking a little worrying out on the wet. I'm off now for a bit, hope to see a few late lake olives and a good wodge of sedges on the wing before they all go phut.
    Musha rig um du rum da

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Penrith, Cumbria
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    Default Re: Medium olive and /Blue-winged olive duns

    Hi, DB,

    It's only the lads who have fished long enough to appreciate just how good the daytime hatches used to be that believe us when we say that aquatic insect life has declined over the years. The EA and its predecessors argued that the records show there is no decline: but locally, records of Surber and kick -samples were not made in my area before 1970. I know, because I was given a copy of the record book by our first biological officer, whom I first met about 1968 / 69. We always got along well, as he was a real gentleman, and we built up a mutual respect; but we couldn't agree, not even when I suggested that the loss of hundreds of acres of ranunculus from the Eden system, the first choice of habitat for half-a dozen very important members of the Ephemeridae, would go un-noticed (or ignored) as there was no record of weed sampling --- Surber samples and kick-samples tell us what is among the stones, gravel and silt.
    At a seminar held in The Natural History Museum in the spring of 2007, one expert, Peter Hayes mentioned the decline of the weed, and its importance. During question time, I had an opportunity to thank him for his reference, as I have always insisted that either the loss of ranunculus was directly responsible for the BWO decline (Peter Hayes' concern) or there was a common cause for the loss of both weeds and bugs. In retrospect, I must say that I believe that cause is very likely to be silt. It chokes the weed --which thrives in open gravel -- and it ruins the habitat for stoneflies; while creating excellent homes for midges.
    The loss of some terrestrial species in our area may well be due to the dosing of cattle with Ivermectin. It helps protect their stomachs, but it is passed out of their systems in their urine. It then kills off the larvae of such species as cow dung flies, crane flies and, I guess, hawthorn fly. which pupate in the soil, also. In Cumbria, the Eden valley in particular, there are some very big dairy herds. I don't blame the farmers; I blame the chemists who produce the product and sell it before testing exhaustively or without stressing the risk it presents to larvae in the ground. The same, I believe, applied to synthetic pyrethroid sheep dip. That killed all the invertebrate life in the River Caldew --- the lower Eden main tributary --- for a distance of 30 kilometres, about 18 miles. I was so upset by what I saw that I wrote an article about it -- The Wolf On Sheep's Clothing.for Tand S in 1997. It didn't kill the fish directly -- they simply starved to death; and my old mate and I watched it happening without knowing what was going on, because there wasn't a fish-kill to see. As the fish died, the scavengers removed them daily; but we ''sussed that out'' too late.
    Sorry about the lengthy reply. Great to chat with you again.
    All the best, and thanks a bunch for your help. TerryC

    PS I spend more time on the river now observing rather than fishing. It just isn't the same, and it's no consolation knowing that we have probably seen the best, or that it might not get better. We have a great river system for big fish now; but nothing like the number of fish. I preferred it when we had a lot more, smaller, trout; and a lot more flies providing more surface activity. I don't like ''dredging'' with heavy wet flies; but I acknowledge and appreciate the skill of those who do.
    Last edited by jada0406; 05-10-2018 at 09:05 PM.
    We walk on the clay of the river bank of life only once. Try to leave a good impression. Hidden Content Hidden Content
    TC 16/7/2013

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