Swarming Mayfly – river Otter

Swarming Mayfly – river Otter

As the month of May comes to a close, the trout fishermen amongst you will no doubt be lamenting what’s probably the best month in the trout fisherman’s calendar.  Walking along the river Otter the other day, a rare bank-side sight to gladden the fly fisherman’s heart – a swarm of Mayfly fluttering rhythmically up and down – the Mayfly’s vigorous mating dance.  Probably the largest swarm of Mayfly I’d seen in at least 20 years or more – it was a great sight, certainly a sign of decent water quality.  What’s amazing about this elegant fly that spends several years swimming around in the river as a nymph, is that it lives for just a single day once hatched!

Wild river Otter brownie

Wild river Otter brownie

I remember about 15 years ago reading about the river Otter and how it couldn’t be upgraded to the highest category of water quality because of problems inherent with arable farming, particularly pesticides, silage leaks, etc.  Perhaps improvements have been made, but if given the change, nature always fights back.  It’s actually quite rare to see any trout rise on the river Otter, sometimes it seems as if all the fish have deserted the river, but on this occasion, the trout did make an appearance


Photographers note
:
It’s always difficult when you’re trying to get a good quality shot of an animal or insect, particularly when they’re moving in and out of focus rapidly.  Using my now favourite camera (Olympus OMD – EM10 – hefty Nikon D7000 until recently), it was difficult to work out an effective strategy.  More difficult still was gaining an effective exposure, as the Mayfly were rapidly bobbing up and down against a bright sky.  Using the excellent Olympus 45mm F1.8 lens, I opted for focus peaking and worked out roughly how far their average distance from the lens was by focus peaking off the vegetation, then raising the lens to the Mayfly and waited until one of them came into focus.  To an extent, this worked, but I’m sure the photography buffs amongst you could suggest a better strategy?

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