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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.
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Posts: 3
Blackghost on May 22, 2009May 22nd, 2009, 6:01 pm EDT
I have learned so many different methods about fishing rivers on what to look for what insect too match on what trout are feeding on. One way is too match your nymph,pupa,or larve to the bottom coloration of the river. Or another method is turning over rocks on the stream bottom and looking for different aquatic insects. What does everyone else have for different methods. And should I try something new? If there not feeding on emergers or spinners I always start with a gold ribbed hares ear,which I think is a great universal mayfly nymph....
Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on May 23, 2009May 23rd, 2009, 2:01 am EDT
It's hard to go wrong with a hare's ear. I often start with a Walt's Worm, which is a hare's ear minus the tail, legs, wingcase, and ribbing--basically a cigar shaped hare's ear with or without a bead. In summer if there's no hatch, I'll start with a wet or dry terrestrial.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Wiflyfisher's profile picture

Posts: 622
Wiflyfisher on May 23, 2009May 23rd, 2009, 3:05 am EDT
What to look for first

I like to start by observing and checking the shorelines and bushes. Spider webs with possible insects caught in the web give us clues (see URL below), as well as looking in the backwaters for shucked nymph cases floating on the surface, or on logs or protruding rocks for shucked cases. Picking up rocks on the bottom may help with certain species but not the burrowing nymphs.

Hare's ear is good, so is a flymph, etc... for a general search pattern. Just depends on if I am dun shrucked or not, which usually I am.

Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on May 23, 2009May 23rd, 2009, 5:53 am EDT
Yeah, you might look for some of those "dun shucks" too. :)
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on May 23, 2009May 23rd, 2009, 7:36 am EDT
personally, the thing i look for first is a local fly shop. if it's unfamiliar waters, they'll have a half dozen of what's working, and if it's home waters, the gossip will tell me all i need to know.

and if there's no local fly shop, i say a prayer for the dear departed and tie on a wulff with a pheasant tail dropper while i wait for a passing fly or fly angler to suggest something else!
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Hollidaysburg Pa

Posts: 251
LittleJ on May 23, 2009May 23rd, 2009, 2:52 pm EDT
Assuming I'm on a stream I know little about and there is no apparent insect activity, I almost always start w/ a tandem nymph rig 1 heavy attractor(green weenie or whatever) and a simple caddis larva usually tan or olive sz 16.
Posts: 3
Deligon on May 25, 2009May 25th, 2009, 9:17 am EDT
rock spring ga.

Midges they are everywhere! one of the streams I fish is the Elk
in Tenn. the Elk has no dominate hatch as far as I know.
I asked a fellow fly fisher who I had observed having a lot more success than I and so began my love affair with midges.
Sometimes off a dry droper and also tandem behind a soft hackle.

Fish is always good,
catching is some times better.


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