How many species?

Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Fly Fishing, Scotland | 2 comments

Have you ever stopped to think about how many species of animals you may come across during a days fishing?It’s not something I have ever really thought about until yesterday when I was fishing away and started to notice a huge number of frogs in the water. It is not a common sight for me at least so that was what triggered my thought of “I wonder how many species I will see today?”

Species may not be the correct word as if we take the insect order (if ‘order’ is the right biologogical term in itself!) then I probably came across tens of different species of insect over the course of the day. For this post I’m loosely thinking about groups of animals and I’m no biologist so if my terms are wrong then please forgive me.

We’re currently going through a bit of a heat-wave right now with a lovely block of high pressure sitting over us bringing nothing but blue skies, sunshine and high temperatures. I was out fishing on Tuesday and yesterday (Wednesday) was forecast to be more of the same so knowing what to expect I decided to arrive at the water a little earlier as it seemed we missed what hatches there may have been on Tuesday. I got there at 9am and found a good number of fish rising in the first stretch I looked at. The goal of the day was to catch fish obviously but also to tinker with leader design a little as I have just finished ‘Drag Free Drift’ by Joseph Kissane as recommended by Jim Williams. Jim had said that it makes you think quite a bit and I can only agree with this, it has changed my perspective on things a fair bit but until I get out and spend some more time trial and erroring with leader designs I won’t go into too much more detail.

It turned out a quite successful day and as always good presentation was the order of the day. The fish in this particular river receive a fair amount of angling pressure and this accompanied by many slow moving flats are the major reasons I attribute to them being so critical of slightly dragging flies. Most fish in most rivers are generally wary of micro drag affecting flies but there are some fish in this river that appear to be on a different level. I had butchered my usual leader setup in an attempt to incorporate some of the ideas from the book and the difference was instantly noticeable – I may reveal more in the future ; ) In the mean time, go out and buy the book!

After that little aside about leader design I come back to the thought of how many species I cross whilst fishing. In my count, without getting into the specifics of all the different insects around and different fish species, I counted 6 different animals or animal types that I had crossed paths with.

Perhaps the most obvious first, the human being, me!


Next up some amphibians, the humble frog (or is it a toad?). Seeing these swimming in the margins and even across slow moving sections made me think they must become large trout prey at times…


Some of the inhabitants from under the surface were found too.

Brown trout

A chap with feathers. This was taken from a far distance hence the poor quality of the crop, you get the drift though!


A brook dun giving us an insight into the insect world and the intricate detail involved even in such a simple creature.

Brook Dun

And last but not least another mammal who’s predominant feature seems to be curiosity. I’m sure everyone that has fished near cows before has turned around to find the whole herd at their back!


When you take into account this small selection of different species that I encountered, not to mention; the minnows in the shallows, the freshwater lamprey I saw, the sandmartins flying around, the grannom, iron blues and many other insects, it is quite remarkable just how much of mother nature’s creations you will cross in a days’ fishing. Next time you are out why don’t you take a minute or two to have a look around and see what is all around you, perhaps usually only at the fringes of your observation, just getting on with whatever it is doing. That’s one of the things I enjoy most about the outdoors – watching in awe at what mother nature has created and balanced so perfectly well far beyond the realms of ability of any human mind.

(I should add my next excuse that the every day in May posts won’t be updated until next week… I leave tomorrow for a three day trip to fish some hill lochs, looking forward to it!)


  1. Scott, I’m starting to worry about you!! Time you got a girlfriend and then you can observe the behaviours of another species!! Anyway, when are we going fishing?

    • Haha, no point settling down with just one person just now!
      I’m working just now for the next couple weeks but I’ll be in touch and we can get out for a weekend or something?
      Seems the weather has turned for the worse again… keep an eye here for my next blog post, we were up north and had some great fishing last weekend


  1. Tippets: Carp Invasion, Radioactive Tuna, Sport of Diversity | MidCurrent - [...] to insects and wildlife. And recently Scott, of The Fly Commission, stopped to think about how many different species …

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: