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Blue-winged Olives

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.

Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Some winter nymph collecting on the Yakima

By Troutnut on February 18th, 2023
I was in the vicinity of the upper Yakima River this weekend, but not in a good spot to try any winter fishing. So I brought my bug collecting supplies and sampled a bunch of nymphs and larvae, aiming to get some more good images to illustrate the new taxonomic keys. I was hoping to find a nice intact Skwala stonefly nymph to add to the beat-up one on the site already, a Nemouridae stonefly nymph for some proper anatomical close-ups, ditto for Capniidae or Leuctridae, and a variety of cased caddis larvae because I just don't have very many recent pictures of those with my best equipment. I met all these goals with the exception of Capniidae and Leuctridae, which will have to wait for another trip. On the way home I also stuck the net in a creek slightly closer to home and turned up some Epeorus nymphs, mostly Epeorus grandis which I didn't bother to photograph, but one from the Epeorus albertae group.

The unexpected highlight of the trip did not become apparent until after some time at the microscope. It seems I collected a several nymphs of Ephemerella mucronata, an obscure relative of the Hendrickson and Sulphur hatches, which has a holarctic distribution but has not previously been documented any closer to Washington than Montana and Alberta. However, there is a chance they belong to some other species not well-described as nymphs yet. I hope to collect more mature specimens and rear a few into adults to get a more definitive species ID.

Photos by Troutnut from the Yakima River in Washington

Closeup insects by Troutnut from the Yakima River and the East Fork Issaquah Creek in Washington

Exploring an eastern Washington desert spring creek

By Troutnut on October 1st, 2022
A work trip took me to eastern Washington this fall, and I took some time to drive far out into the desert and explore a thin blue line on the map, where groundwater flowed through a channel I thought might be trouty. In one spot I wanted to try, the channel was dry, but I hunted around and found water. After a long hike over ground that looked like it should be crawling with rattlesnakes (although I fortunately didn't see any), I stepped in and started looking for trout. There were some.

Fishing mid-afternoon on a sunny day, I was pleasantly surprised to find the first fishable October Caddis (Dicosmoecus) hatch I've encountered. There weren't thick clouds of bugs, just a noticeable number of adults flitting around, enough to make trout that seemed generally lethargic rocket to the surface for anything resembling a decent imitation. One long run lined with bank-side alders, a conspicuous feature on this grassy-banked stream, held an exceptional number of caddisflies perching in the leaves, enough that at least a few would fly away when I shook the trunk of any tree. There were trout below these trees in slow, shallow water that would not ordinarily have held them. It was interesting to to see such a convincing example of trout moving between different habitats to pursue a particular food source.

Photos by Troutnut from Mystery Creek #306 in Washington

Updates from August 1, 2022

Photos by Troutnut from Mystery Creek #237 in Montana

Updates from July 25, 2022

Photos by Troutnut from Silver Creek and the Wind River in Idaho and Wyoming

On-stream insect photos by Troutnut from Silver Creek in Idaho

Updates from July 24, 2022

Photos by Troutnut from Mystery Creek #304, the Little Wood River, and Silver Creek in Idaho

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