Xmas beetles and other bugs

Christmas beetles are the star turn at Yens Bay this time of year.  The first sign they’re in the air is when the gulls start to duck and weave in mid flight, maybe 20 or 30 of them in the same bit of air space.  Then the dive bombing bugs and then, if you’re really lucky one will find the gap between your neck and collar.  For those of you who are fans of “The Mummy” you won’t be surprised to hear these little fellas are members of the Scarabaeidae family – but don’t let that worry you too much.

The snowy bugs are mostly shiny brown and about 15 mm in length unlike some of their coastal cousins (there are 34 known species in Australia) who can be quite ornate.  Their lifecycle is biennial in cooler climates and involves some frenetic breeding aggregations (hence all the flying around which is good for genetic diversity) around this time of year for the half that hatched; followed by egg laying in the soil, and various stages of grub development (four “instar” stages of a distinctive C shape called “curl grubs”).

Adults tend to feed together, often on the same branch of the same eucalypt tree and they fly around a lot at dusk and at night, often covering several kilometres.  Bright lights attract them as you probably know.

So when they’ve broken free from their soil homes, often after rain, they buzz around the lake and of course some don’t make it. I haven’t had a chance to read Fred Dumford’s book yet but word is there’s a great Xmas beetle pattern therein.

Back to fishing at Yens Bay and the first cast of the night brought in a nice pound and half rainbow on a midge pupae which was promptly released with the expectation the evening would bring more reward for effort. But of course it didn’t. A few half hearted plucks and a ripping take but no more landed in a short session right on dusk.  At least it looks like there are a few rainbows around.

Xmas beetles aren’t the only bugs around, there are plenty of damsels all over the Caddigat Lakes.  Mainly blue but a few goldy-browns too. The fishing has been reported as a bit hit and miss but we’re stocking twice before Xmas – some mid size fish and some fry.

Col Sinclair’s back from New Zealand.  Pretty observant fellow.  He’s been watching rainbows working in pairs with some interesting video to back up his tales.  Whilst we’ve all seen fish in pairs (or more) doing their dance at breeding time he’s been watching some cooperative behaviour in other circumstances.  First, a fish appearing to try and help his hooked buddy; second fish appearing to work cooperatively to herd bait fish; and lastly some interesting fly pattern avoidance from fish caught and released one day, then inspecting and refusing the same fly the next. For an animal with a brain smaller than a pea who knows what’s driving all that.

Good news is the Pajero’s back from the chop shop today all fixed up. Apologies to cancelled charters but we’re ready to go again now.

Tight tippets

Steve