2018 Riparian Planting Season – Not Far Off

Still Snow in the Timber

Here we are, a few days away from April, and there is still lots of snow in the timber and willow along our local streams. The fact that snow accumulates in the the willows and trees is good for a slow run-off during the spring months. This is one more of the many benefits of a healthy riparian zone along our trout streams. There will still be ice and crusty snow well into April this year, with low lying areas saturated with good moisture. I am hoping for a good boost to our local water table, and good spring flows well into the summer months.

Right now, Millennium Creek is flowing as high as I have ever seen it, for this time in the spring. Even when it was still late winter, the spring water flow was substantial. All of the accumulated snow must have an influence on this high volume of water coming out of the ground. Maybe during some of the warmer days, when there was snow melt, some of the melted water was making its way down into our sub-terrainian aquifer, recharging the ground water table.

Above: This photo of Millennium Creek was taken in the middle of March 2018.

I am looking forward to starting the riparian planting program for this year’s “Bow Valley Riparian Recovery and Enhancement Program”. So far we have over 9,000 native willows and trees growing for this springs planting program. It will be another great season for the program, so I am excited to get after it.

The only concern that I have is the threat of major flooding on the three stream systems in the program. With the high amount of snow fall this winter, we could see a wet spring and summer, with plenty of freshets. This is always a threat to any riparian recovery planting program. If a flood comes right after the planting season, the new plants are vulnerable.

I feel confident about this year’s planting program, so we will take it as it comes.

Still Tying Trout Flies

With all of the snow and cold weather going into spring, it is hard to say away from the fly tying station. I managed to get plenty of fly tying in this winter and lately, I have been working on some caddis fly pupa patterns. These are often referred to as caddis nymphs, but in true form they are pupa patterns. The caddis fly transforms from a larva to a pupa, then hatches as an adult, so they are not similar to a May fly, which goes thru a nymph life stage, before it hatches.

The easiest way to determine if the fly pattern is a pupa, is that it does not have a tail tied in. Sometimes a fly tier will tie in a tailing shuck on the back of the pupa fly pattern, but the pupa does not have a tail, like a mayfly nymph does. The wing cases are usually tied in on both sides of the fly pattern, but for me, I usually don’t bother with tying in the wing cases. My trout don’t seem to mind about this deficiency in my own fly patterns.

Above: This brown caddis pupa imitation that I tied, does not have wing cases tied in along the sides of the thorax. The trout don’t seem to mind the absent wing case.

The caddis pupa is a strong swimmer and it sparkles in the water, due to the gases trapped in its abdomen during its transformation from a larva to an adult caddis fly.

Remember: The New 2018 Fishing License is Required by April 1st, 2018. Don’t forget!

About Guy Woods

I am Director of Bow Valley Habitat Development, based in the Town of Cochrane, Alberta, Canada. I love to fly fish and it is this past time that prompted me to get involved in the field of riparian and fish habitat enhancement. I have been working in this pursuit for over 30 years!
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