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A little entomology page 2

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The feather-midges (Chironomus) frequent still or slow-running water. They are known to every one by their delicate plumed antennae and are often seen dancing in columns within the shelter of the hedge-rows or in quiet corners of the garden. The larva receives the name of the blood-worm, for which its shape and colour are responsible.

The Diptera which concern the angler are slender-bodied flies, while some are so extremely small in every respect, that they are generally termed motes, or smuts, or curses. These extra ordinarily minute insects are numerically very strong and therefore form an important and, to all appearances, a favourite food of the trout. Their life-history would doubtlessly prove an absorbing study, if one possessed the requisite patience and leisure; so far we have contented ourselves with attempts at imitations or rather suggestions of the tiny creatures in their winged state and in endeavouring to lure trout with these creations.

There are many reasons why the angler should study the development of aquatic flies. As is only too well known, there are some days during the season that are not good fishing days, even though the lure employed be the floating fly. Some times the trout from one cause or another unanimously resolve to abstain entirely from food; fishing can then be weariness indeed and, when that is so, surely it is pleasant to turn the attention to some thing else of interest, the food of trout, for example, the other living creatures of the water. The time passes quickly and perhaps profitably, for something may be learned which may be the means of ensuring sport on another occasion, possibly at some later period of the day, for few days are wholly blank or hopeless.

In time the angler will acquire a vast store of knowledge which will always be reflected in the sport obtained under any conditions. He will at least learn to distinguish the various orders of flies and, when he goes to purchase, for example, a stock of sedge-flies, he will unhesitatingly refuse to accept, though it is not unlikely that he will be offered, specimens adorned with the upright wings of the Ephemeridae. He will know, with a fair degree of certainty, what species he should meet on the river when he goes in pursuit of the trout. Though no sign of life comes from the stream, no indication that one fly is going to be preferred before another, he will decide the species that is clue to arrive or has just departed, lay it upon the water, and find his judgment not at fault.

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