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Tiny Baetis mayflies are perhaps the most commonly encountered and imitated by anglers on all American trout streams due to their great abundance, widespread distribution, and trout-friendly emergence habits.

Mayfly Genus Cinygmula (Dark Red Quills)

This is primarily a Western genus. Cinygmula ramaleyi is the most important species, producing good hatches in the West. Cinygmula reticulata may also be relevant, and I have seen a great spinner swarm from an unsung species, Cinygmula par, in the Washington Cascades.

There is only one Eastern species, Cinygmula subaequalis, and its importance is minor.

Where & when

I have found different Cinygmula species emerging throughout the summer and fall in Washington and Alaska.

Hatching behavior

Most Cinygmula duns emerge in the surface film, but in some cases they may escape their nymphal shucks while still drifting to the surface.

Spinner behavior

The angling literature suggests that Cinygmula spinner falls are too sporadic to be important, but I have seen Cinygmula par swarming in very good numbers, albeit on a small stream where hatch-matching wasn't needed because the hungry trout would hit anything anyway.

Nymph biology

Cinygmula nymphs can withstand slower water than many of the other genera in the Heptageniidae family.

Specimens of the Mayfly Genus Cinygmula

13 Nymphs
11 Male Spinners
6 Female Spinners
7 Female Duns
2 Male Duns
1 Dun
1 Male Adult
Male Cinygmula ramaleyi (Small Western Gordon Quill) Mayfly Adult
Adults were collected from the North Fork of the Touchet River at Touchet Corral, 21 Sept. One photo is the swarm of males over the stream about 3 PM, air temp about 66 degree.

4 Streamside Pictures of Cinygmula Mayflies:

Recent Discussions of Cinygmula

Red Heptagenia?
30 replies
Posted by GONZO on Jul 19, 2011
Last reply on Jul 24, 2011 by PaulRoberts
The gills and protruding mouthparts make me think that this might be Cinygmula. I've seen red phase Rhithrogena nymphs, but have never seen this coloration in Cinygmula (or Heptagenia).

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  • Arbona, Fred Jr. 1989. Mayflies, the Angler, and the Trout. Nick Lyons Books.
  • Caucci, Al and Nastasi, Bob. 2004. Hatches II. The Lyons Press.
  • Knopp, Malcolm and Robert Cormier. 1997. Mayflies: An Angler's Study of Trout Water Ephemeroptera . The Lyons Press.
  • Mayo, V.K. 1952. New Western Ephemeroptera, IV, With Notes. The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 28(4): 179-186.
  • Needham, James G., Jay R. Traver, and Yin-Chi Hsu. 1935. The Biology of Mayflies. Comstock Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Slater, J. and Kondratieff, B.C. 2004. Review of the Mayfly Genus Cinygmula McDunnough (Ephemeroptera: Heptageniidae) in Colorado. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 77(2): 121-126.
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