Anglers and fishing guides who spend a lot of time rowing McKenzie driftboats may feel like the oars are permanent extensions of their arms. Well, meet the waterboatman, whose outsized rear legs act just like oars to propel it through the water.
Waterboatmen spend much of their time in an underwater search for food. They lack gills, so they carry oxygen with them in the form of a bubble trapped against their body. Since they can't go very deep, the best place to fish an imitation is in shallow, weedy areas of lakes; look for water that is less than five feet deep. Further, they have to keep going back to the surface for another bubble. You can mimic the insect's up-and-down behavior with a lift-and-settle retrieve that draws the fly back to the surface then lets it settle back to the bottom; a floating line will work best. Waterboatmen move in short spurts of a couple of inches, so impart a similar action to your fly.
Waterboatmen are most often taken by trout in late summer and early fall.
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Waterboatman: Bi-athletes for the Fall If you're fishing stillwaters in the fall, you'd better know about waterboatmen. Jeff Morgan