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Argo
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11/25/2021 07:13AM  
One site on Jean Lake in late July was rife with these buggers. It was pretty much the only site on a nine day trip that was a nuisance. They were pretty much present throughout our trip - the odd one at other sites and the canoe travellers - but otherwise entirely manageable. Visited a few other sites on Jean and no issues, just that one site.

My question is: Do these critters tend to congregate in the same place year after year? In other words, will that wonderful site on Jean be swarmed again next July or was the date and location just bad luck? I recall staying on that site in 2003 also in late July with no recollection of ankle biters.
 
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mgraber
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11/25/2021 10:54AM  
I don't know the answer to your question, but I can say that the worst plague of stable flies (ankle biters) I have ever seen or experienced in my life was several days in June on the south side of Jean lake just southeast of the bay leading to Conk, the double campsite on the point. 20 Stable flies can make your life miserable but this was 10's of thousands if not more, covering every surface, it would have been intolerable if not for our screened tarp. We still all had hundreds of bites as we occasionally were forced to leave the shelter for water or restroom breaks. I wonder if Jean has a particular problem with them. I never imagined anything like this, and I grew up around the farm where they can be quite thick around the livestock, sometimes eating huge holes in to the animals. This was many, many times worse than anything I had ever seen.
 
Argo
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11/25/2021 11:09AM  
I meant to post this in the Listening Point Forum.

***Thanks for moving it, Pete!
 
Banksiana
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11/25/2021 12:19PM  
During windy weather they can build up at the end of a long reach- you think you've picked a good "bug site" because it points into a stiff breeze, instead you harvest the entire stable fly population of a lake.
 
Argo
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11/25/2021 01:34PM  
Banksiana: "During windy weather they can build up at the end of a long reach- you think you've picked a good "bug site" because it points into a stiff breeze, instead you harvest the entire stable fly population of a lake."

I think you're on to something there but from the opposite wind direction. We were on the site on the point reaching eastward as you enter the main part of Jean from the Conk portage. The wind was howling from the west so we were sheltered from its full force. But what I can see is that the flies got blown towards this site and were gradually concentrated given that it is surrounded by water.
 
11/25/2021 04:07PM  
I don’t have a great answer, but do have two thoughts: first, I have had numerous times when I have gone from near zero bugs to a swarm from one lake or portage to another. On one trip I recall no deer flies until I got to one portage on day 8 of 10, then was swamped. Sometimes one portage is swamped with mosquitos and the next has none. I can’t explain this.

Secondly, two years ago me ( and more importantly my two dogs ) got slammed by stable flies on Perent Lake. Caused us to shorten put trip by days. I recall reading two things that may address your question. I recall that stable flies tend to blow with the wind which is part of why they might get you far out on a lake, or may accumulate on the windward side. Secondly I recall they lay eggs in rotting vegetation along shorelines, so beach like areas that accumulate dead vegetation may get more. Can’t comment on any specific lake.
 
mgraber
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11/28/2021 11:21AM  
All I know is that I hate stable flies far more than any other bug that inhabits canoe country. Mosquito's are easy to control with spray, regardless how numerous, black flies only require a head net, horse flies have a wicked bite but are seldom numerous, deer flies are slow and mostly attack your head so a head net or slap will work, no-see-ums are mostly just annoying, but those damnable stable flies are like a plague when numerous. They can bite through layers of clothing, are extremely quick with amazing eyesight, are super persistent, don't care how much spray you use (permethrin helps), and bite HARD. Thankfully they USUALLY aren't too numerous, but if they are and you have no shelter, you will most likely go out early or move!
 
Stumpy
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11/29/2021 09:59PM  
Wearing boots, thick sox, and pants tucked into the sox helps some.
 
gkimball
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12/01/2021 08:03AM  
Wondering if one of those sticky fly-catching strips placed low to the ground, say right near the fire grate, might catch some of the little buggers.
 
tumblehome
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12/01/2021 12:02PM  
gkimball: "Wondering if one of those sticky fly-catching strips placed low to the ground, say right near the fire grate, might catch some of the little buggers."

They don't bug me as much on land as they do in a canoe. By the time you know there is one in there, it's already biting. And try killing one whilst your feet are under the seat and you are paddling in a wind trying to stay upright.
 
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