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

Posts: 30
Bcvizina on Jan 11, 2011January 11th, 2011, 12:06 pm EST
Near my house, there is a marsh area with a little creek that feeds into it. This area is low and has a good amount of standing water that stays unfrozen all year. I want to know if there are fish in it, based on the information I can provide.

The marsh area is very mucky and has sparse grasses that grow through most of the standing water. Upon closer inspection, I can see little minnows near shore. I didn't know if these were brookie hatchlings or little baitfish. I know there was once a time when brook trout could be seen in the creek spawning, but I don't know the last time this was witnessed. It seems the shallow water would stay cool because it is spring fed, but I have never seen a fish rise in there.

I have been told there are not any fish, but from what I can tell it looks like it would even support trout. Are there any surefire signs to tell if there are fish?
Posts: 2
Valleyridge on Jan 11, 2011January 11th, 2011, 12:19 pm EST
I would throw a woolly bugger to find out, if there are brookies there (or any type of fish species), they will more than likely take a look, at the very least. Do you ever see any birds around the water that are fish eaters (herons, etc.)? They are usually pretty good indicators. Pick up some rocks to observe insect life. It is encouraging that it is spring fed as potential life would not be as affected by extreme air temperatures.
Motrout's profile picture
Posts: 319
Motrout on Jan 12, 2011January 12th, 2011, 4:23 am EST
No other way to find out than fish it-unless you can find someone else who has and can tell you about it.

The woolly bugger idea is a good one. If there's anything in there you should be able to hook up with something like a #12 Woolly-whether it's brookies, sunfish, bass or whatever. That's how I find out if a marginal creek holds fish.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach

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