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Lateral view of a Female Hexagenia limbata (Ephemeridae) (Hex) Mayfly Dun from the Namekagon River in Wisconsin
Hex Mayflies
Hexagenia limbata

The famous nocturnal Hex hatch of the Midwest (and a few other lucky locations) stirs to the surface mythically large brown trout that only touch streamers for the rest of the year.

Dorsal view of a Holocentropus (Polycentropodidae) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This one seems to tentatively key to Holocentropus, although I can't make out the anal spines in Couplet 7 of the Key to Genera of Polycentropodidae Larvae nor the dark bands in Couplet 4 of the Key to Genera of Polycentropodidae Larvae, making me wonder if I went wrong somewhere in keying it out. I don't see where that could have happened, though. It might also be that it's a very immature larva and doesn't possess all the identifying characteristics in the key yet. If Holocentropus is correct, then Holocentropus flavus and Holocentropus interruptus are the two likely possibilities based on range, but I was not able to find a description of their larvae.
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.

Oldredbarn has attached these 5 pictures to aid in identification. The message is below.
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Jun 12, 2011June 12th, 2011, 10:28 am EDT
I think it's Hydropsychae. Dunno which one.
Troutnut
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Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Jun 13, 2011June 13th, 2011, 12:26 am EDT
Yeah, the top one sure looks like invaria to me, too. I see the head as faint olive and the rest of the body as yellow with brown shading. Entoman, that's a good idea to check your monitor.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jun 13, 2011June 13th, 2011, 11:04 pm EDT
Jason - I think you're right.... At least for my office PC where I first looked at this critter. The Mac at home seems different as well. Golden olive w/ olive geen thorax? Smokey wing? Could what you're all seeing be described that way?
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Jun 14, 2011June 14th, 2011, 7:33 am EDT
If I look at the colors objectively there is an olive wash to the head and thorax, and purplish-brown spots on the creamy-yellow abdomen. Overall the insect is predominately a creamy yellow. Coloring it subjectively, in recognizing the subvaria/invaria body shape, I see it as invaria -an often very yellow mayfly.

Now you're making me curious and will dig out my slides.
Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jun 14, 2011June 14th, 2011, 8:26 am EDT
Hi Paul,

Wow, I'm sure not seeing that... I join the concensus that this is most probably E. invaria. My concern at this point is color perception of my monitors, eyes or both! :) Approaching the description as detailed as you, on the Mac I would describe the base as golden olive with two lateral stripes of darker olive running down the tergates. The thorax and head are the same golden olive heavily washed with olive green. The wings are dun. On my PC at work, the base is olive with the stripes and thorax wash a more vivid olive green. The wings are more blue dun. The only yellows and browns I'm seeing are in the photo of the Heptagenid, though on the PC the yellow is a more saturated hue (yellower). This thread is beginning to sound like a... have we read too much Schwiebert over the years? :)

Regards,

Kurt
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Jun 14, 2011June 14th, 2011, 8:44 am EDT
Ah! I forgot to mention the lighting. It was obviously an even overcast when those pics were taken --the first esp --robbing some of the short wavelengths -reds. I see the tergites spots on the 2nd pic as slightly red-brown -similar but duller than the mahogany marks on the vicarium legs.

"Too much Schweibert" -lol. Exactly.

I think you should look into balancing your monitor.
Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jun 14, 2011June 14th, 2011, 8:52 am EDT
Yep... I remember now that when I got my "bug dedicated" camera a few months ago the software asked me to muck with my monitor (ofice PC). I must have screwed something up.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jun 14, 2011June 14th, 2011, 1:08 pm EDT
Fellas...Just tie on a size 16 comparadun and go fishing! Oops...I forgot. I took those a couple weeks ago and I just got a message from a friend in Grayling that if I don't want to completely miss the Brown Drakes this year I'd better get up there quick...

E dorothea is probabaly there now and invaria trailing off or gone...Tie on an 18 then...:)

The Grayling boys would say, "screw the size 18 man and tie on a Brown Drake...Go big or stay home!"

In the email they mentioned that they are already looking for the Hex...I told them what I said elsewhere...Father's Day.

I'm joking here, but if it takes you two this long to determine what fly we are looking at we'd still be standing it the water up there...I ignored the invaria, for the most part, and fished the March Brown...:) I floated with a friend on the last Saturday in May and every time we passed an angler they were standing there with their fly boxes open and basically scratching their heads...I'd whisper, as we easied passed, "It's in there somewhere." I should be shot, eh?! Too many Molson's in the boat.

Too much Ernie?! Maybe so, but it wouldn't of been as much fun without him...He soaked the romantic side of our angling selves in lore.

When I opened up Hatches II agian the other day I was puzzled by the photos there of the March Brown & the so-called Gray Fox...Those bugs do look different and maybe it is just a color problem after all...The bugs look different photographed in different light, at different durations away from emergence, and maybe from different waters...Strange that they are now considered one as is E rotunda & E invaria...

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
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Jun 14, 2011June 14th, 2011, 1:23 pm EDT
Luckily neither Kurt, nor I, bring our computers onstream with us. Things could get confusing with monitor settings and all . Can I speak for the both of us on that Kurt???
Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jun 14, 2011June 14th, 2011, 2:37 pm EDT
Paul - Yep...

Spence -
Too much Ernie?! Maybe so, but it wouldn't of been as much fun without him...He soaked the romantic side of our angling selves in lore.



Ah, you cut us to the quick, dear Spence! :) Paul, let me return the favor by speaking for both of us regarding Schwiebert less anyone misunderstand. We were not referring to his wonderful prose, as he was a teller of fly fishing stories "Sans Pareil". It was the lengthy descriptions of some insect that often followed that we were kidding ourselves for almost sounding like. This is particularly evident in his revision of Nymphs where many of the descriptions can turn your eyeballs inside out with their curious mix of artistic, entomological, and architectural jargon. You know you've got a serious dose of Schwiebertosis when you actually try to interpret and understand 500 + word descriptions containing phrases like "margins of the pronotum washed in Castilian umber overlaid with stipplings of deepest sepia surrounding a field of minute fleshy outcroppings or tubercles of alabaster delicately tipped in darkest ebony. The ventral surface evinces a shade reminiscent of an Argentine vintage claret buttressed at the margins with olivaceous amber". Whew!!
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jun 14, 2011June 14th, 2011, 5:09 pm EDT
Boys! Love it, love it, love it...Not only do you get it, you get me, and with a wonderful sense of humor to boot...I'd follow either of you to any stream whether you left the computer at home or not!

Thanks!

Spence

What did Ernie expect us mere mortals to do with something like that?! :)
"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
GONZO
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
GONZO on Jun 14, 2011June 14th, 2011, 5:28 pm EDT
What did Ernie expect us mere mortals to do with something like that?!


Dunno, Spence, but some of us probably started pawing through our dubbing samples looking for something in "Castilian umber overlaid with stipplings of deepest sepia...."
Falsifly
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Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on Jun 14, 2011June 14th, 2011, 6:10 pm EDT
Splitting wavelength to the nearest angstrom unit, whether mentally perceived subjectively, or computer compared objectively, in human terms, leaves me wanting in the trout’s ability to split hairs. Can they count the number of tarsal segments?
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jun 14, 2011June 14th, 2011, 6:16 pm EDT
And I'm sure the trout know their colors as well. "Why, that's not Castilian umber, that's just plain brown! I'm not gonna eat that one...maybe that dumb little 6-inch brookie will!"

;oD

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jun 14, 2011June 14th, 2011, 7:16 pm EDT
Dunno, Spence, but some of us probably started pawing through our dubbing samples looking for something in "Castilian umber overlaid with stipplings of deepest sepia...."


That's right sir...Right after he drove me to a dictionary...

I first ran in to Ernie in the pages of Esquire magazine when I was in junior high...I was drawn, at first, to the centerfolds they used to have there and soon learned that there was a great deal more going on between the pages of Arnold Gingrich's publication.

Back then the subtitle of the magazine was, "A magazine for men"...My father had left home when I was 10, but I learned a great deal on things men should know from this mag...Did you know that a true pour of cognac should be right to the lip of the glass once you turn the glass on its side? Or that the Ceasar salad was invented by a guy in Tijuana who ran a restaurant there back when Hollywood types were sneaking down there to party when they couldn't drink in the States legally...According to the man's daughter he wanted a light summer salad and there were no anchovies in the original recipe...

Anyway...Ernie never "dumbed it down" for us and that made it more interesting. Anything worth knowing comes with some work attached to it...Just ask Jason up in Alaska or just about anyone on this site. We somehow were lucky enough to find it and smart enough not to get scared away.

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
Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jun 14, 2011June 14th, 2011, 8:42 pm EDT
What did Ernie expect us mere mortals to do with something like that?! :)


I don't believe he gave a good s**t. He wrote for himself. Which in the final analysis is probably what all good writers/artists/musicians do? Mark Twain (who with American literature begins and ends according to Hemingway), when asked what makes good satirical writing was quoted to have said, "Be sparing with exclamation points and make YOURSELF laugh as you write, most (not all) vulgarities aside". Easy for a genius to say, but point well taken...

I believe Schwiebert's mind worked in a matrix of the disciplines he loved, and he wrote that way. Many in our fraternity are unaware he wrote prodigiously on the subjects of art and architecture as well. If his prime were in the current era, I can see him hosting shows on the History Channel that would enthrall and educate many. Schwiebert (according to those that knew him well) was a genius with a photographic memory and amazing expertise in the fields of art and architecture. He utilized that genius in a sidebar with his avocation for fishing and entomology. Maybe this "sidebar of avocation" was a response to the convention of his world prior to the rise and "exceptance" of the "professional" fly fishermen. But all brothers of the fly know where his heart truly lied.

I'd follow either of you to any stream whether you left the computer at home or not!


Ah... You highlight the curse and blessing of most relationships in this forum. We are fast friends that may never meet in the flesh. But souls once known are not chained by time, money or distance...

Kurt
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
TNEAL
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 278
TNEAL on Jun 16, 2011June 16th, 2011, 9:07 am EDT
It's true.... Graylingites look forward to late May when we can start fishing the rest of the season with size 10's.....
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jun 16, 2011June 16th, 2011, 10:07 am EDT
It's true.... Graylingites look forward to late May when we can start fishing the rest of the season with size 10's.....


As opposed to size 12's, right Tim...;)

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
Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jun 18, 2011June 18th, 2011, 4:22 pm EDT
Spence -
What do we all think of Cheumatopsyche for the caddis as far as genus? Family Hydropsychidae as mentioned...As far as species I'd be in over my head...The "popcorn" label has been used, as far as I know, on at least two different caddis on the Au Sable, this one and a smaller light green/olive bodied grayer winged little one on the North Branch
and
Still no taker's though on my little green bodied caddis? :)

Sorry for leaving these questions unaddressed. It may well be Cheumatopsyche. They do tend to prefer slower warmer water than Hydropsyche. The problem is there is overlap, assuming we're even discussing the right family. Out West, the most common Hydropsychids Arctopsyche, Hydropsyche, and Cheumatopsyche occur in descending order as the rivers lose elevation and slow in gradient. But we're talking about rivers that lose thousands of feet running their course not hundreds, so I'm not sure what role this plays with your home waters.

Using taxonomic rules alone with what's available from the photo, important characteristics are just too hard to make out to be absolutely sure even of the family let alone genus (setose warts, preapical spurs, forewing shape/venation/markings and such). A lateral view would have been better, but even then caddis are usually tough. Body color is only helpful if determinations have already been made for a watershed and they also happen to be colored in a way that is unique from that source. Doesnt happen very often as most waters have members from several families that can be colored in the same generic olive green or tan. The best bet is to look for any scientific reporting done on the collection site and see if they hopefully described body coloration. They often don't, as researchers seldom bother describing traits that aren't helpful in making determinations.

On a brighter note, recent revisions moving almost all of the Hydropsyche species (especially the ones we fish) into a new genus called Ceratopsyche has even more recently been reversed. This removes at least a little fog as the only way to tell the two apart was by microscopic study of slight differences in hairs on their larval abdominal dorsums. I'm assuming this posed big problems with their adult associations. At least we are no longer in error (though most were blissfully unaware)...

Regards,

Kurt
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Creno
Grants Pass, OR

Posts: 302
Creno on Jun 18, 2011June 18th, 2011, 8:11 pm EDT
I never found separating Ceratopsyche and Hydropsyche adults difficult, especially in the west. (I find the larvae quite diffuicult to seperate, and, like Kurt, I am happy they they are placed back into one genus.) All the butts, male and female, are quite different. And I think the antennae and coloration are quite different as well. Tom Ames, in Caddisflies, did a good job of summarizing and presenting great photos of the general differences. The critters that were previously included in Ceratopsyche have finely speckled wings and fairly plain antennae while those previously placed in the other large Hydropsyche group have more mottled or plain wing patterns and the base of the antennae have distinct dark chevrons on a plain background. However, in either case I doubt the fish care.

Spence, as far as whether your hydropsychid is Cheumatopsyche, Hydropsyche, (or Ceratopsyche) maybe you will get lucky if your original photo has sufficient resolution to get a good look at the last abdominal segment. The dark spot there makes me think it is a male but when I blow it up it is too fuzzy to see anything. Can you post a high resolution photo of just the last couple segments?

creno

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