Fauna is made up of all the living things we see on the river. We share the forest with them as we fly fish. From the small Tricos to the massive Moose, with bears and wolves in between we thrive in nature. We are among the beasts of the woods.
But there is a gentler member of the wilderness...Flora. For the most part, flora, gain sustenance a passive way compared to us beasts, from photosynthesis, water, and the dirt. So this season while we fly fish lets "stop to smell the flowers ".
What we men and women of fly fishing stopping our cast to “smell the flowers”?
A true out door fly fish angler is actually, or should be, a Naturalist. To know the fauna is to know what insects are hatching at what time of the year and you can do that by the signs of nature all around you. Trilliums, lilacs, lady slipper...early spring hatches. Full term ferns, joe pye, milk weed...the hexagenia lambada. Cardinal flower, wild pea, wood lily...late season terrestrials.
The challenge is how much information you can gather by observing your surroundings. Knowing time of day or season or direction even without your smart phone!
(I find the fewer bars on your cell the bigger the trout.) A small compass in your fishing vest is a great idea if you like to adventure to new distant river locations. Learn how to use a compass. Having loved ones calling the Coast Guard or MiDNR to find your sorry gluteus maximus will be very embarrassing.
The river is a book to be read. The river proper is the book and the banks the binder or cover. Learn to read it. You will find this knowledge of the environment will make you a smarter, safer, more successful trout angler.
The backwaters of the Maple River in Emmet County, or the Pigeon & Black River in the Pigeon River Forest Country offer few if any road signs. Logging and game trails are your only source to secluded trout. Practice survival on a familiar spot you know, types of trees, ground cover, position of the sun, wind direction, even time on the trail to the river. It's fun to forget black top & streetlights and test your ability to use your IQ and instincts. Lets have an adventurous fly fishing season!
Photo by JER
In the old country blooms a mountain flower that brings beauty to the highlands. " Edelweiss " meaning noble-white, it was worn by hikers to represent bravery and adventure.
This is the New World and as any northern boy will tell you, the Trillium is our wilderness icon. It is the first to appear in spring. On the drab brown forest floor it brings the first greenery to the landscape. As it hurriedly blossoms, before the trees create a canopy to shade out the sun, it ini-dates the countryside.
It appears in such numbers that a white like carpet blankets the forest floor. When I travel to the rivers , walking through a Trillium Bloom, I think of springs new beginning and a wonderful season of flyfishing ahead.
Called the Trillium for its three white petals and leaf pattern, it grows about 10-12 inches tall. Old folklore tells of Jesuits missionaries using it to teach Christianity to the native Americans and referred to it as the Trinity Flower. It lingers for just a few weeks in April and if you don't get that rod out early you will never even know it exists !
Sweet Is The Lore That Nature Brings