Phenology: the science of simultaneous natural events.
I found a link on Midcurrent (http://midcurrent.com/) to a Denver Post interview with John Gierach. As I read through the text, Mr. Gierach made mention of the science of Phenology. He discussed how he could tell what flies to use by what wildflowers were blooming. In essence what he depicted is just how interconnected everything really is when you look at the bigger picture.
I had never heard of the word, much less the science behind it, so I did a little Googling. I found a wealth of information...but in the end I discovered that I really already knew how this science works.
When I was a kid, the white bass would come up into the creek behind my house to spawn. I knew it was time to go after them when the redbud trees began to bloom. This system of indication worked without fail and I had many exceptional days fishing as a result of it. Though as a lad I did not stop to ponder the interconnectedness of the two, I now see the framework of creation in that light. I also, through the kind and loving tutelage of a man named Elmer Russell, learned to plant by the signs. This is a practice that is shunned in most circles but I have seen it first hand...and it works.
Did you know that there is even a better time of the month to dig a hole? Yep. Sometimes you can dig a hole for say a post, and you will not have enough dirt to refill it, other times there will be dirt left over. It all has to do with the moisture in the soil I am sure, but this also works
Cycles, Seasons, Weather, Blooms, it is all interconnected. Like one huge living machine, each part plays a role in another part. Separate, but intertwined within the framework of life itself.
Back to Fly Fishing. Trout live within a specific range of water temperature and their activities are dictated by how high or low the water may be on the thermometer. Spawn- water temperature, hatches- water temperature, water temperature- weather.
I think that, as John stated within his interview, when we take the whole ball of wax into consideration, we gain a clearer understanding of just exactly what is going on around us. Here in Appalachia, the yellow stone fly, the sulphur, the blue winged olive, are all pretty predictable as to when and how they will appear. I have also learned that there are spots on some of my local rivers in which I can almost guarantee a catch in the early Spring and early Fall, but any other time you could frail at the water all day long and not get the first take.
No disrespect intended to my Bass Tournament friends, but they go at break neck speeds, with enough electronics on their fleet watercraft to track satellites in outer space, and cast feverishly at the water. It is productive for them - no question about it, but for me it seems far to stressful. I would rather step slowly to the rivers edge, scan the bank and turn over some rocks, get the feel for what is happening. Then wade in and look for that single fish who is living its life in perfect time with what is going on all around it. All around me. To make a choice of fly, cast softly but with purpose, and let the pace of the nature around me dictate the terms.
All the signs are there. We just have to plug into what is occurring and move as fluidly as the stream or the wind as it moves the trees around us.
Phenology....I like it.
Here are some links for your review.
And for those so inclined (as I hope you are)