Help Slow The Spread of Invasive Species

Guest Blogger: Anchor Fly

Many fly anglers became aware of the threat of aquatic invasive species about a decade ago, when felt soled wading boots were implicated in the spread of Didymo and whirling disease, leading to felt bans in several states, and the discontinuation (at least briefly) of felt-soled wading boots by Simms. Since then, the threats in the U.S. have continued to multiply, affecting fisheries and aquatic ecosystems throughout the country.

invasive species feature

Overview Of Spread | Visible Examples

Those of us who live or fish in the West have also seen a proliferation in the state-mandated watercraft inspection and decontamination stations along main roadways since invasive mussels were found in Lake Mead in 2007[i]. In the Midwest, new reports chronicle the efforts of fish and game agencies to control invasive carp[ii]. First introduced in the Mississippi River drainage to control weeds in canal systems, carp have escaped into the rivers, in some cases entirely eliminating native fish species in local streams. In the southern US, invasive lionfish threaten both commercial and recreational fisheries, and the very existence of the remaining coral reef ecosystems in the western North Atlantic[iii].

Get ready, they’re coming!

Guest Blogger: Mary S. Kuss, Life-long avid angler, licensed PA fishing guide (retired), founder of the Delaware Valley Women’s Fly Fishing Association

Who are they?  Why, Brood X of the 17-year Periodical Cicadas of course.  This is the big one, the Great Eastern Brood. Last seen in 2004 (do the math), this brood is scattered across 15 states. Of greatest interest to me, however, is the dense cluster around my home near Philadelphia. It takes in southeastern Pennsylvania, central New Jersey, and parts of Maryland and Delaware. The Periodicals typically start emerging in mid-May, and by the end of June they are gone. So if you want to experience this hatch there’s a very limited window of opportunity.

These insects are not to be confused with Annual Cicadas, also know as Dog Day Cidadas, which are present almost everywhere, every summer. Annual Cicadas have green wing veins, and their eyes are unremarkable. They are most abundant in August, which gives them their nickname. Periodical Cicadas emerge earlier in the year, are a tad smaller, and have orange wing veins and prominent, bright red eyes. They emerge in much greater densities than Annual Cicadas do.

I first learned about Periodical Cicadas in 2004, when I read an article in Fly Fisherman Magazine focused on the impending emergence of Brood X.  I was quite intrigued. They were supposed to be present in southeastern Pennsylvania, so I tied up a few flies and waited for them to show up in my yard. But they didn’t.  I heard no loud Cicada chorus, and didn’t see a single one of them in my neighborhood. Later, too late, I found out that they had been so thick in a nearby town that people were crunching them under their feet on the sidewalks.

Continue reading → Get ready, they’re coming!

Averting Doom – Part 2

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

Part I of this article dealt with wading mishaps. Part II will discuss other risks.

Myself, if I ever actually took a swim while wading, I’d be thinking, “Now keep yer head. Avoid the primary catastrophe here. People have gotten wet before…no biggie. That fly box I just dropped can be replaced…I can ruin my electronic car keys and camera and phone…all replaceable…my waders can fill and drag me down and I can go unconscious and end up miles downstream with amnesia…I can even never come up at all and wind up a statistic in tomorrow’s newspaper…all that I can accept. What I can’t accept is if I break this fine hand-made fly rod.”

So keep the wand above your head, or toss it out in the water in front of you, or flip around and splash down nose-to-sky. Just don’t land on the rod.

Figure 2

Gear risks are common in gear-intensive sports, and the finer the gear the more nervous we get. Among the most common risks I’ve fallen prey to is hiking down riverside paths to a likely or favorite hole and finding myself being lightly caressed by briars. It’s not a big deal until I realize there’s now a leak in my prized waders. It’s worth carrying a stick to ensure a clear path, or failing that, to carefully “walk down” those wispy briar branches until there’s zero chance of getting grabbed by one. But then don’t make the mistake of thinking later that the path is clear on your return hike! Other anglers may have come by, and even if not, briar branches have a way of getting themselves back up across paths, like sinister spider webs intent on snaring a hapless fisherman.

Continue reading → Averting Doom – Part 2