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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 Species Cinygmula reticulata (Western Ginger Quill)

Cinygmula reticulata is probably the second most important species of Cinygmula behind Cinygmula ramaleyi, perhaps because the waters where it can be found in good numbers are often more remote. They have been reported as abundant in many high country streams of the Southern Rockies as well as the High Sierra's Eastern slope. An obvious difference in their coloration may be the easiest way to tell them apart. Cinygmula ramaleyi is more somber with a brownish body and dark gray wings and is often confused with the similar sized and colored Ephemerella tibialis, in spite of the difference in tail counts. Cinygmula reticulata on the other hand is a bright cinnamon dorsally with pale creamy legs and pale wings that are often a brilliant canary yellow. This is one of North America's most beautiful mayflies.

Where & when

Time of year : May through early September, location dependant

Preferred waters: Cold moving water over shallow gravel or stones

Altitude: Variable

This taxon's preference for shallow cold water seems to be a limiting factor on distribution. Timing is dependant on elevation and seasonal weather. High country hatches often peak in late July.

Hatching behavior

Time of day : Midday

Water temperature: Seem to thrive best in water that remains cold even in mid Summer

There is scant reporting on this species in angling literature, so behavior that runs the gamut for Heptagenids is possible. Due to the environs where it is most often found, "selective" feeding is rarely at issue.

Nymph biology

Current speed: Slow to medium

Substrate: Gravel to small cobble.

Specimens of the Mayfly Species Cinygmula reticulata

1 Male Spinner
Male Cinygmula reticulata (Western Ginger Quill) Mayfly Spinner
The lengths of the wing and body, measured with a caliper, are both 8 mm.

Keys in Needham's 1935 Biology of Mayflies point to either Cinygmula reticulata or Cinygmula gartrelli. It seems to have “cross veins in costal half of fore wing only, slightly margined with brown” and “wings tinged withamber at base and along costal margin of both wings” (gartrelli) as opposed to “all cross veins of both wings faintly but broadly margined with pale smoky” and “wings entirely amber-tinged” (although there is a slight amber tinge throughout, just more pronounced in places) as in reticulata. However, wing length reported for reticulata (9 mm) is closer to this specimen than gartrelli (10 mm). Ventral median marks are supposed to be “traces” for reticulata and “present” for gartrelli. Descriptions for both species involve semi-hyaline anterior abdominal segments not present on my specimens. Distribution records suggest reticulate lives nearby, so I'm going with that, but I can't confidently rule out gartrelli.
1 Female Dun
1 Nymph
Cinygmula reticulata (Western Ginger Quill) Mayfly Nymph
I collected several live specimens of nymphs and reared them to the imago stage. They were C. reticulata. The interesting thing is they were collected in May and were emerging along with Rhithrogena (March Brown). This seems to be an overlooked hatch since in some rivers it emerges very early, before runoff.

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