Monday, February 22, 2016

A Close Look At Freshwater Scuds

Brian Briscoe photo
   Upper Columbia flyfisher & photographer, Brian Briscoe, has embarked on the ambitious project of photo recording the various menu items found in the upper Columbia mainstem & drainage. Brian kindly shares his amazing work with SHJ. The scuds were collected from a B.C. lake & exhibited at the annual West Kootenay Fly Fishing Club Symposium last year. There is a lot to be learned from studying these photos. As scuds are important trout forage in most lakes & slow waters, Brian’s observations on shrimp form & behavior shed light on effective imitation.

Brian Briscoe photo
The shrimp in the photos are mature, at about ¾ inch in length. A size that seems to surprise Eastern anglers, though I’ve found ¾ inch models in the Washington lakes I fish, as well. As it is with aquatic insects, we see that colorations vary within a population, shades of olive, & many exhibiting an attractive flare of bright orange or pink at the tip.



Brian Briscoe photo
Brian makes a truly salient point regarding tying imitations of these, pointing out the fact that scuds straighten their bodies when in motion. They swim very rapidly in bursts, the body held straight. Only when not in motion do they assume the characteristic ‘C’ shape we see so often in popular imitations. These swimming scuds might be well-simulated tied on a long-shanked, drop-bend hook like the TMC 200R, the profile, to my eye, a near perfect match.
Brian Briscoe photo

Scuds are bottom dwellers, so imitations are best fished deep. I can see that the ‘C’ shaped profile might do well dead-drifted beneath a bobber, but if the imitation is to be delivered via a sinking line & dredged near the bottom, stripped, one might be better served with an imitation tied on a ‘conventional’ hook design affording a straight profile. To my own eye, a Carey Special design, stripped, might be a closer match than a ‘C’ shape scud design for simulating the swimming shrimp in the photo at the left.

Brian Briscoe photo
In improving one’s game, there is no substitute for observations garnered from time on the water, surely. Thankfully, & fortunately for fly tiers, those like Brian, whose curiosity leads them to record what is in the water, offer fly tiers a unique, valuable window, through the frozen image. Well done, Brian. Much thanks for sharing your work with us.

More on scuds in this excellent article by Phil Rowley: http://www.flycraftangling.com/index.asp?p=123  



Brian Briscoe photo
 
Brian Briscoe photo
 
Brian Briscoe photo

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