Sep 9, 2019
Hi Folks, sorry for the delay in getting this out - good summer fishing and busy school season getting my daughter off to college.
But here you go - some pics of what we were talking about and some patterns to imitate them. Let's start with Water Boatmen, Family Corixidae:
So, this is a nice view from the top - note the hair on the ends of the oar like legs. Additionally, note the wings along the back - you can make out the covered first half withe membranous portion visible as the diamond shaped part right at the back.
Here is a side view of the same critter:
And here is a picture of a live one.
Where you can see the shiny air bubble at the base of the abdomen.
Moving on, here are some backswimmers: Notonectidae:
Again, note the oar like legs coming out the back, and, in contrast to the water boatman, how the back is more contoured and lighter colored. Remember, these guys swim on their back so their back is facing the light sky, and hence, is light colored.
Here is a top down view:
And lastly, this is a just collected, live specimen. Note the bright red eyes. Some tiers use a head of red thread to mimic that color.
In terms of imitations - there are a ton of imitations of these guys out there. And most of them are very straightforward and easy to modify with the materials on hand. They all have legs (rubber, peacock herl, ostrich herl, etc), a body that can mimic a shiny air bubble (peacock herl, floss, tinsel), and a darker back covering (hair, pheasant, quill) and that is pretty much it. So here is my version:
Body: Lead wire covered with White Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails
Wing Case: Goose Quill
Legs: Peacock Herl
This one I thought interesting because it added a silver bead at the base of the fly to imitate the air bubble:
Air bubble: Silver bead superglued to base of hook
Body: Peacock Herl
Wing case: Raffia
Being a fan of traditional flies, I do think the Prince Nymph is a very good imitation of a water boatman:
Tail: Brown Goose Biots
Body: Peacock Herl
Wing Case: White Goose Biots
But lastly, a fly I really like is Gary LaFontaine's Sparkle Boatman. Where he pointed out that these insects have a lot of movement in the water. He imitates that with what is basically a soft hackle with an antron body that is tied fuzzy. Here is my version:
Bead: I added a gold one, Gary did not include one.
Body: Muskrat; followed with a dubbing noodle of ... I think I used tan Z-lon
Collar: Soft hackle ... I think mine was grouse ... honestly I pulled it out of my waste basket...
OK, let's move onto giant water bugs - family Belostomatidae:
Can't get much more giant than that, can you? Well, actually, you can, in the tropics, but you can't get much bigger than that up in Maine!
This guy is dead ... frozen, I know he is dead, otherwise I wouldn't be holding him like that.
Here is another species that is a little smaller from the top:
And the side - where I like this picture because you get a nice view of the rostrum - the piercing and sucking mouthparts:
So, as I mentioned, there are various sizes of these guys and there are other families that look and act (for our purposes) like small giant water bugs (for those interested I'm talking about family Naucoridae). Anyway, here is a picture of three of those specimens side by side giving you a sense of scale. I point this out because I want to emphasize that you don't need 2 1/2 in flies in your fly box. You can get away with something smaller and more manageable. Additionally, I think it is the movement that really keys the trout in - namely that pumping of the legs and diving.
To imitate these guys I just do a simple spun deer hair body with some dumbell eyes and rubber legs. Simple and easy:
And side view showing how it is trimmed flat:
Lastly, here are a top and side view of water striders - Family Gerridae:
And with that, I'll leave it. Talk to you next time.