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Lateral view of a Male Baetis (Baetidae) (Blue-Winged Olive) Mayfly Dun from Mystery Creek #43 in New York
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.

Case view of a Pycnopsyche guttifera (Limnephilidae) (Great Autumn Brown Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
It's only barely visible in one of my pictures, but I confirmed under the microscope that this one has a prosternal horn and the antennae are mid-way between the eyes and front of the head capsule.

I'm calling this one Pycnopsyche, but it's a bit perplexing. It seems to key definitively to at least Couplet 8 of the Key to Genera of Limnephilidae Larvae. That narrows it down to three genera, and the case seems wrong for the other two. The case looks right for Pycnopsyche, and it fits one of the key characteristics: "Abdominal sternum II without chloride epithelium and abdominal segment IX with only single seta on each side of dorsal sclerite." However, the characteristic "metanotal sa1 sclerites not fused, although often contiguous" does not seem to fit well. Those sclerites sure look fused to me, although I can make out a thin groove in the touching halves in the anterior half under the microscope. Perhaps this is a regional variation.

The only species of Pycnopsyche documented in Washington state is Pycnopsyche guttifera, and the colors and markings around the head of this specimen seem to match very well a specimen of that species from Massachusetts on Bugguide. So I am placing it in that species for now.

Whatever species this is, I photographed another specimen of seemingly the same species from the same spot a couple months later.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
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.

Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Mar 8, 2008March 8th, 2008, 3:12 pm EST
This evening I attended a dinner at the University of Michigan Botanical Gardens, which was the Annual Garden Party for alumni and friends of the U of M Biological Station (UMBS or, more affectionately, "Bug Camp"). There I ran into a fellow I had not seen in many years - a professor named Terry Sharik, who taught Plant Ecology my first year at UMBS. I was a "pre-fly" fisherman in those days, trolling hardware for pike in Douglas Lake, having not caught enough large fish in my youth (oh yeah, and taking some graduate-level botany courses that made me wonder if I was in over my head). Terry, now professor of forest ecology at Utah State in Logan and then (1984)professor of same at Virginia Tech, convinced me that I would enjoy fly fishing during the Hexagenia hatch at the local trout stream, the Maple River. The next summer, armed with a Browning Siloflex glass rod, a cheap reel, and a 6-weight line, I began following this man on his nightly ritual to the river, flinging enormous dry flies out in the darkness to unseen sounds of large, slurping fish. Terry told me that it would take about 3 years for me to start catching fish, and he was right - it was 1988 before I could consistently catch trout on a fly rod (hmmm, just in time to meet my future - now ex - wife at the same place - I guess I proved I could feed her that summer).

Well, apparently Terry is on sabatical from Utah State and is going to be here in Ann Arbor for a while. Of course, we are planning on getting together, and no doubt will be hitting a trout stream as soon as weather permits. He tells me that he lives "on" a trout stream in UT and catches "18-inch browns" from his back porch. And we have already been discussing smallmouth on the Huron.

Seeing Terry again after, what, at least 15 years has brought back a flood of great memories, and he looks about the same, just a bit grayer (like me, and the rest of us). I can't wait to pull out the fly rods and go fishing with him. I couldn't help but share this wonderful opportunity I have been given to not only get back in touch with, but go fishing yet again with, my original fly-fishing mentor. This guy is really special to me and it is such a great surprise to see him again after all these years. (And he is one hell of a forest ecologist, too - something also near and dear to my heart.)

We all have someone special who gave them the incentive to pick up this challenging and wonderful sport. I am now lucky to come full circle with mine. Just thought I would share that with you guys...

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Coastal NJ

Posts: 34
Kroil on Mar 8, 2008March 8th, 2008, 3:33 pm EST
Thats a very nice story. When I was a teenager, I was lucky to have a few mentors. One was the flyfishing cartoonist John Troy. I hold him personally responsible for my fishing disease.
When I found the skull in the woods, the first thing I did was call the police. But then I got curious about it. I picked it up, and started wondering who this person was, and why he had deer horns. - Jack Handey

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