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Artistic view of a Male Pteronarcys californica (Pteronarcyidae) (Giant Salmonfly) Stonefly Adult from the Gallatin River in Montana
Salmonflies
Pteronarcys californica

The giant Salmonflies of the Western mountains are legendary for their proclivity to elicit consistent dry-fly action and ferocious strikes.

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.

Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Aug 12, 2010August 12th, 2010, 4:54 pm EDT
I've been noticing an abnormally large number of centipedes (millipedes?) on streamside rocks recently. They are a little more than an inch in length and are reddish brown on top (with tan bands between body segments) and tan on the bottom. Today they were on the rocks so thick you couldn't avoid stepping on them if you wanted to.

I suppose I'm less interested in knowing what they are and more interested in knowing if trout feed on them. Anyone know?

Thanks,
Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Taxon
Taxon's profile picture
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Taxon on Aug 12, 2010August 12th, 2010, 5:55 pm EDT
Shawn-

Millipedes. Yes, I believe trout will (opportunistically) feed on them. Incidentally, as I recall, they are without sight. However, they are not deterred by a small stream, and will simply crawl across its bottom to get to where the want to be.
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Aug 13, 2010August 13th, 2010, 12:17 am EDT
Very good, Roger - thank you. I did notice many of them underwater, both drifting and crawling. I also noticed several riding downstream in the surface film. I will tie up an imitation promptly.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
SlateDrake9
Potter County, PA

Posts: 144
SlateDrake9 on Aug 13, 2010August 13th, 2010, 2:20 am EDT
I don't think I've ever seen one of these in the water. The only time I've ever seen them in any numbers is after a good rain, but still not as many as you describe. Maybe this is like the flying ant "hatch" that we're all prepared for, but rarely get to fish.
Fishing with bait is like swearing in church.
-- Slate Drake
Gutcutter
Gutcutter's profile picture
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
Gutcutter on Aug 13, 2010August 13th, 2010, 3:33 am EDT
shawn
maybe a bucktail bodied inchworm type fly that used to be popular before foam became regularly used for terrestrials? i used these with great success in the dog days on the paradise and below during the late '70s and early '80s but then i stopped seeing them so i really don't have any of these flies anymore.
i'm interested to see what you come up with as i'll be spending a few days in your area next week. b.j. makes a good point - was this before the huge amount of rain you had recently or after?
i guess i'll put the trico tying on hold (i already have more than i'll use in a lifetime but who knows...) and spin some of these up
tony
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Aug 13, 2010August 13th, 2010, 4:04 am EDT
Taxon,

They maybe unable to see, but they can sure creep one out! I get the "house" variety and have had an on going "pack" with them..."You stay in the garage or outside and you and I are cool. Come in to the living area of the home and I have to deal with you."

They have that weird insect "sixth-sense" kind of thing going on that has convinced me that insects are aliens amongst us. If they can't see they sure make up for it with the other senses. When the light goes on they freeze and they seem to know I'm heading for the bathroom and a handfull of toilet paper to nab them with...Once they bolt they are gone and they somehow can dissolve in to a corner where they almost seem to disappear!

Now you guys are telling me that they are "hardy" enough to crawl across a stream! How am I going to sleep?!

Sometime in the 90's I was fishing one evening on the Clam river near my grandmothers place near Cadillac MI...There was a large willow leaning over the river and I had to bend down to go under it. I found my self up under this canopy of willow limbs and when my eyes re-focused I was eye-to-eye with a zillion hunting spiders...Large ones! We all just seemed to pause there for a moment, they looking like they were going to bolt any second, me wondering if I could retard an urge to scream...I continued on and have been a little cautious going under trees ever since...

Roger...Are you sure that these guys (insects) are not somehow smarter than we are and are just playing dumb waiting for our species to peter itself out and the planet will then be all theirs?

Spence

I have read somewhere that they dine on spiders...Hows that for a creepy image...While you and I are off in dreamland this epic life-and-death battle is taking place in the corner of our bedrooms...Does anyone remember "Morgus Presents" or "The Ghoul"?

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Aug 13, 2010August 13th, 2010, 4:13 am EDT
maybe a bucktail bodied inchworm type fly that used to be popular before foam became regularly used for terrestrials?


Tony,

How about a Wooly Worm like fly tied on a long shank hook with palmered grizzly hackle? Maybe a soft webby feather? Hell! If they are underwater you will need a weighted version...Heavy enough to sink to the bottom and then lift your rod tip to copy one getting knocked off the rocks and sent downstream into the current. Sort of like fishing crayfish patterns for smallies.

Wouldn't this be a hoot...Tony lands a 20+ Brownie on the "pede-hatch"!

We will need photographic evidence of course and a play-by-play...

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
SlateDrake9
Potter County, PA

Posts: 144
SlateDrake9 on Aug 13, 2010August 13th, 2010, 4:18 am EDT
Oh my! Sounds like trips to the stream are quite the adventure for you having to deal with all of the creepy-crawlies. Your stories remind me of Indiana Jones stuff. Uck.

My hang up is ticks. Mostly deer ticks, but I hate them all equally. They creep me out. I think it's because of the Lymes Disease the deer ticks carry. For the last two years or so the First Fork of the Sinnemahoning has had an unusual abundance of them for some reason. Just a hot spot for them I guess. I haven't had a trip over there without picking ticks off of me and my clothing. Mostly dog ticks, but still, they're creepy. I often wonder if the lack of deer in the area compared to what it use to be that may be contributing to so many ticks in the grass looking for a host instead of being on the deer.

Maybe I can train some centipedes to eat them instead of spiders. Release them like a pack of hunting dogs when I arrive to the river, whistle them back in when I'm leaving.
Fishing with bait is like swearing in church.
-- Slate Drake
Taxon
Taxon's profile picture
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Taxon on Aug 13, 2010August 13th, 2010, 4:30 am EDT
Roger...Are you sure that these guys (insects) are not somehow smarter than we are and are just playing dumb waiting for our species to peter itself out and the planet will then be all theirs?


Perhaps not smarter, but surely wiser.
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Aug 13, 2010August 13th, 2010, 4:33 am EDT
I like the deer hair idea, Tony - maybe I'll tie some up like that. The ones I had originally in mind would be of the curly variety (here are a few pics: http://www.flytyingforum.com/index.php?showtopic=44088).

I saw many of these in PA last week, but yesterday the stream I was on in Central NY was just completely loaded with them. Of course, I don't have my tying materials with me...

I'm not sure if they're the same little buggers, but our apartment in NC was completely overrun by similar critters back when my wife and I were first married. That was pretty disgusting.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Aug 13, 2010August 13th, 2010, 6:29 am EDT
Shawn,

I visited the link for the flies you mentioned...That third one I could see coming in handy a week or so prior to and during the Hex activity...

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Aug 13, 2010August 13th, 2010, 11:02 am EDT
I've never fished the hex hatch, so I can't comment on that, Spence, but I think the style could be used for several types of flies. The one you mention is intended to be a caddis pattern and has done well for me in the past.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Konchu
Konchu's profile picture
Site Editor
Indiana

Posts: 498
Konchu on Aug 14, 2010August 14th, 2010, 1:36 am EDT
most millipedes I've met put out an unpleasant odor/fluid when bothered. wouldn't this be a deterrent to a fish scooping one up for a snack?
SlateDrake9
Potter County, PA

Posts: 144
SlateDrake9 on Aug 14, 2010August 14th, 2010, 4:07 am EDT
Could be. Trout won't eat the tent worm in our area because of a supposedly bad taste (I never tried one). There were billions of them, some streams were blanketed with them. The fish would nose them, but wouldn't take them. Now, the moth was another story. ;-)
Fishing with bait is like swearing in church.
-- Slate Drake
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Aug 14, 2010August 14th, 2010, 1:41 pm EDT
Thanks, Konchu - that was the very reason I was asking the question, because I suspected some toxicity or at least bad taste in the millipedes. Anyone know more about this? I suppose the toxicity would be, and Konchu suggested, species-specific, but also that trout may develop a general distaste for them based on specific bad experiences with toxic ones. I've heard the same is true of water striders and water boatmen, and that trout won't go near them as a result.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
SlateDrake9
Potter County, PA

Posts: 144
SlateDrake9 on Aug 15, 2010August 15th, 2010, 2:27 am EDT
I've also heard the same for water striders. As for boatman, I have a friend that goes to the Bow River drainage and does quite well on a water boatman pattern the guide gave him. Maybe the trout think it's something else, but he says he strips it in in short bursts like a boatman.
Fishing with bait is like swearing in church.
-- Slate Drake

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