Learning the bug life from an expert | SierraSun.com

Learning the bug life from an expert

Bruce Ajari

The Tahoe Truckee Flyfishers held their annual fundraising dinner at the Tahoe Biltmore this past week. The event was well attended and keynote speaker Ralph Cutter presented an excellent presentation on aquatic insects.

Ralph Cutter is the owner of the California School of Flyfishing out of Nevada City and Truckee, as well as the author of the “Sierra Trout Guide” and, his most recent book, “Fish Food A Fly Fisher’s Guide to Bugs and Bait.” He is also responsible for numerous magazine articles and regularly appears in California Fly Fisher Magazine.

Cutter’s presentation proved to be one of the best sequences of aquatic insect behavior that I have had an opportunity to see. He spent thousands of hours filming the sequences that we witnessed.

To fly fishermen, the thought of a program on aquatic insects is pretty interesting, but I wondered how a roomful of non-fly fishing people would receive the program. I was thinking of my wife and other spouses in the room.

Judging from the reaction, the program was nothing short of amazing. The presentation was something that was like a National Geographic outdoor special. The sequences of insects maturing into adults and hatching were nothing short of fascinating.

Obviously, those fly fishers who were paying attention during the program learned a lot about aquatic insect behavior. Some of the material was nothing new, but some of what we saw defied some of our earlier understanding of certain insect’s behavior.

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Fly fishers are very interested in aquatic insects because they use artificial imitations of them to catch fish. Each family of insects has different characteristics and behavior.

Understanding aquatic insects makes fly fishermen and women better at catching fish. Seeing the footage Cutter presented will help any angler catch more fish.

Not only did we see and hear what the flies looked like underwater, we were able to see how they behaved. This allowed us to know just what our flies should look like underwater and just how to imitate their behavior. Look out trout!

I have just begun reading his latest book on fish food. It appears to be another great book for the fly fishing community. Personally, I am waiting for him to produce a video on a compilation of his underwater work.

Some of his earlier video is also just as compelling as the footage we were able to see during the Tahoe Truckee Flyfishers event. The one earlier sequence that stands out to me was seeing numerous fish taking and spitting out a nymph while an angler fished it with an indicator. The indicator never moved and the angler had no idea his fly was being eaten by just about every trout in the riffle. Incredible!

The people at the Tahoe Truckee Flyfishers event were very fortunate to have seen this program. There was so much information that not everyone will go away with it all. Even if you retained one fact from the presentation it will serve you well as a fly fisher. Be very thankful that you had a chance to see this program, since you were among the first!

Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.