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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.

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.

Posts: 1
Spatsizi on Sep 15, 2006September 15th, 2006, 3:09 pm EDT
Hello Jason - this is a fabulous site. Are you from Ithaca!

Anyway, I've been finding what I think are small mayfly larvae in a stream near here. How small can mayfly larvae get? And do they emerge in singles? The trout and shiners are sipping something fairly regularly.

I have a little 6 1/2 foot 3 weight, and I'm thinking of trying to find a nymph or fly that would be an imitation of these.
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Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Sep 15, 2006September 15th, 2006, 3:22 pm EDT
Hi Spatsizi,

Yeah, I'm in Ithaca! I finished Cornell in January and I'm sticking around for a while before heading to grad school in Alaska next summer.

Mayfly larvae (nymphs, actually) can get just about microscopic, because they may have just hatched from the tiny egg, especially at this time of year. But if you're seeing trout sip something on the surface at this time of year, it's probably not mayfly nymphs, unless they're full-grown nymphs of a tiny mayfly species just about to emerge (2-4mm Tricorythodes mayflies might be around).

Which stream, and have you seen adult insects on the water when the trout are sipping? At this time of year the most likely culprit for that sort of thing would probably be flying ants. It sounds like you might need a dry fly instead of a nymph.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist

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