Jump to content
Fly Tying


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by salmobytes

  1. No no. I suspect Roundup and other pesticides. The mayfly decline on the Paradise Valley spring creeks has been going on for years. I went five or six years ago and found a meager hatch. In the 1990s the mayfly hatches were so thick you had to see it to believe it. Today I found no hatch at all. I didn't see a single mayfly. Not one! I was there at the right time too. There has been a major grasshopper event this year in Eastern Montana. They've been spraying like crazy East of Billings. Wildlife groups are all up in arms because they will be killing all insects there and not just grasshoppers, which kills the grasslands birds too. Are they spraying for grasshoppers in Western Montana too? I'm not sure. They have been spraying for weeds here for years. At DePuy spring creek I have watched a four wheel ATV with a big white plastic tank on back zooming around for hours at a time spraying for leafy spurge. They spray for thistles and broad leaf weeds in the hay fields. They spray for wild oats in the wheat fields. I'm not sure if they are using grasshopper pesticide this far West. But I did only see semi-microscopic hoppers. The big locust like hoppers that clack and fly used to be common this time of year. I didn't see a single one. The only hoppers i did see were all so small you could barely see them, like the following mayfly-sized micro hopper. This guy was less than 1/2" inch long. The Montana tail-water hatches (primarily the Big Horn and Missouri) are not what they used to be either, but they are holding up better than the valley spring creeks. The BWO hatches on the Missouri are still a fun time to fish, although nothing like they used to be.
  2. Ouch. I went to O'Hairs Spring Creek today to photograph Pale Morning Duns. But. Ouch. There weren't any. The hatches on Montana's Paradise Valley Spring Creeks (O'Hair, DePuy and Nelson) have been declining for years. It appears they are now near extinct. I stopped in at a local fly shop. "They only hatch well on cooler days" they said. Back in the 1990s when I was a spring creek guide they hatched every day. On good days they were thick as hair on a dog's back. But even on the slow days there was still a hatching event, usually between 11am and 2pm. On cloudy days the PMD hatch would last even later into the afternoon. Now it's..............not even a thing. The guy at the fly shop said "You shoulda been here yesterday." ..............it was 10 degrees cooler yesterday. But still. This is not a good development. I have my hunches about why. But I won't say it now. Not without some evidence anyway.
  3. Sony ar7iii body $2000 90mm macro lens $1100 macro extension tubes $129 macro ring light $169 ....it's worse than fishing tackle.
  4. :=)) I can do stacking in the basement but not at stream side. Point and shoots even DSLRs etc can do good macros but can't actually magnify much. That's what I'm working on. How to turn a camera into a portable low power microscope. There is some incredible work out there on youtube and other places. I'm not there yet. I am with the studio work but not with the streamside stuff.
  5. F-16 with a more natural-looking background.
  6. Not one of my better photographs. I often make fly photos in a light tent with special equipment, so I can make a maybe 12 or reven 20 exposure focus stack. This is a one shot photo at F9 with a macro lens and extension tubes so it ends up as more than 1:1 magnification. I'll head to the Spring Creek later this week to try and photograph some live PMDs in the field. A new mirrorless camera makes ultra-macro easier, because it makes manual focus easier. Plus you can shoot ten frames a second. One or two out of those ten will be the sharpest. We'll see. In the meantime this was practice on a Pott Sticker--a hair hackle wet fly that flares out nicely without any weaving. Tie the hair so it faces forward. Push it back with the barrel of an empty ball point pen. Push the bead back so it pushes against the hair and keeps it there. Whip finish in front of the bead. Slobber on some head cement. Or glue. Woven hair hackles are a great tradition but these are pretty good too. And lickedy split fast by comparison. Ultra macro without a light tent is hard.
  7. ok. Hmmm. Perhaps.... we'll give it away.
  8. I'm helping someone put together a garage sale of fly tying materials. Sort of an estate sale with a lifetime's collection of stuff, including thousands of old Mustad hooks and ........... more or less everything. Including a 12" cube cardboard box stuffed with hanks of Polar Bear Hair. I think it's illegal to sell polar bear hair--new stuff anyway. Is old stuff grandfathered? What is it worth? I can find illicit feathers for sale on EBay but I came up short searching for Polar Bear hair. Must be 50 small square hanks of it.
  9. Ah entomology. Sorry. I didn't notice this category existed. I had been posting these in the fly tying bench.
  10. The females can be as big as 2" inches long. This one was 1-1/4" inches long. Which probably makes it a male.
  11. Here's an April Skwala from a few years ago. It's a focus stack but I screwed up and didn't get all of it in focus. They're the same size and shape as a small Golden Stonefly, but mostly black.
  12. And then a matching male (smaller, more yellow than olive with bulging ochre colored eyes). It's interesting to note this one has no tails. This turns out to be common. My guess is they sometimes break off in the eclosion process. I have an ultra-closeup of a male BWO with no tails too.
  13. salmobytes

    Female PMD

    I've posted this photo a few times before. Possibly here on this forum. I can't remember. Even so this is a better, more recent photo edit. So it's worth posting again. I'm running out of good bug pics. I need to make some more. I got a new triangular stream/bug net yesterday but I'm swamped right now. Trying to get ready for a 6 day road trip.
  14. salmobytes

    Big midge

    This guy was alive when I started the trip home, but dead by the time I got there. I wish I could have photographed him while still alive. This is the biggest midge I've ever seen: a strong size 18 dry fly. There were billions of them on Ennis Lake (Montana) yesterday. At the South end of the Lake where the Madison River flows in you could see fish dimpling the surface. Post Script: I just measured this thing. It is a strong full 1/2" inch long. That's an easy size 16 or bigger. Forget the (above) size 18 assessment I made earlier. The length of the legs in proportion to the body really stands out--as does the CDC head gear.
  15. nice. I took these four out of a 17" male (had a jaw) rainbow that was too badly gill hooked to return. I caught it on a crayfish fly. Which says something. This closeup photo doesn't show it but these were small light brown crayfish. Some locals tell me tan crayfish have just molted and therefore are soft. Reddish crayfish have harder shells and are, supposedly therefore less desireable.
  16. Snow shoes and a 22 rifle early morning after a fresh snow in March, when the snow is crusty and easy to walk on, and when all tracks are fresh. Most of the rabbits feet sold as snow shoes are really Jack Rabbit, which is good but not great
  17. that's a cool shot. Morning? Must have been.
  18. Spent wing Golden Stone White balance is a bit too yellow on this one.....
  19. RE> share camera stuff. This is complex. I'm not sure how much people really want to know. I've been working on this for several years. These are focus stacks. The camera equipment doesn't matter that much other than to use a macro lens. I have Nikon 105mm macro and Sony 90mm macro. Nikon d7000 and Sony A7RIII. The main thing is a tripod, basement light table two umbrella strobes and one or more slave flashes to fill in shadows. The lens is separated from the camera with extension tubes, which narrows the depth of field but drastically increases magnification. This is more than 1:1. The image in camera is several times bigger than life size. I shoot a 10 to maybe 30 exposure focus stack with ZereneStacker controlling a stepper motor focusing rail from Cognisys. The focusing rail physically moves the camera by even increments. Darktable-cli converts raw images to tif. ZereneStacker (a second time) examines all 30 *.tif exposures (not the raws) and makes one composite image using, for each pixel position, that pixel with the most contrast to its neighbors, which is another way of saying "that pixel with the sharpest focus." ...............and throws out all the blurry pixels. Darktable edits the composite tif. Gimp edits the output from Darktable. All that software is free and open source except Zerene, which is a couple hundred bucks. Zerene is a one time purchase rather than a monthly subscription like Photoshop. HeliconFocus competes with Zerene. I have both. They are both very good but I like Zerene better. There are two ways to do stacks. 1) stepper motor focusing rail moves the camera to change focus, rather than twisting the focus ring on the lens 2) leave the camera in a fixed position and twist the focus ring instead of moving the camera. This can be done manually with your fingers or with software, if the camera is tethered to a computer and keyboard with USB cables. I do a little of both. Moving the camera is best for small bugs. Twisting the focus ring is better for large objects (product photography) or landscapes or architectural photography (real estate photography). Phew. It helps to have obsessive compulsive stubbornness disease. Here (link below) is a bash script (small computer program) I wrote to convert raw images to tif. Bash runs on Linux and Mac and now Windows too, if you install the Linux Subshell on Windows10 https://montana-riverboats.com/stackit Somebody I electronically met several years ago--here on this forum--is or was real-deal C programmer who gave me some advice about custom video programming with the gstreamer library. That person had a lot more experience than me. So although the above will not be interesting or useful to most readers...................it might be useful to a few. One more thought. Why bother to shoot in raw and then convert to tif and then (finally) convert to jpeg? Because jpeg is already edited by the camera. With jpeg so much image information is already processed and thrown away (jpegs are smaller files) it isn't possible to do much editing, other than perhaps a simple contrast boost. When you start with raw images (as do professional photographers) you can really put the pedal to the metal while editing.
  20. No human fatalities have been recorded in the last ten years
  21. Male and female Salmon Flies. Male and female Golden Stones. From underneath it looks like one pattern fits all. 1" inch to 2" inches long--body only, not counting wing tips.
  22. Most tiers make big dark stonefly nymphs with head and thorax as half or more the fly's total length. But the abdomen is more like 5/8ths total length. To do that you need a long-shanked hook or and extended body technique. Of some kind.
  23. :=)) Here's a male Salmon Fly. They're a bit smaller. 1-1/4" inches long. The females average 1-7/8" inches long.
  • Create New...