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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.

Lateral view of a Male Baetidae (Blue-Winged Olive) Mayfly Dun from Mystery Creek #308 in Washington
This dun emerged from a mature nymph on my desk. Unfortunately its wings didn't perfectly dry out.
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.

By Troutnut on July 9th, 2011
It's been a busy year, and this is the first time I've been out fly fishing. My wife and I drove up to Nome Creek for a couple hours, looking for some easy action on small grayling, and it did not disappoint. I was still threading the line up through my guides when I heard her calling from the stream with a grayling on her fly. I told her that since she got the first fly-caught fish of the year, she can officially wear her I outfish my husband! merchandise now.



I also collected some nymphs for the site for the first time in a few years, including several mature Ephemerella aurivillii nymphs. Our dog Taiga had not experienced kick-netting before, but she decided to try to be as helpful as she could, imitating me by walking in front of the net and pawing at the water. The collection was very successful.

Photos by Troutnut from Nome Creek in Alaska

The first fish on a fly of 2011 for either of us, and she caught it while I was still rigging up my rod.
Nome Creek in Alaska
Inspecting the net with my intrepid sidekick.

From Nome Creek in Alaska
This is the first time I've kicknetted bugs since we got Taiga, and she turns out to be so very helpful.

From Nome Creek in Alaska
Nome Creek in Alaska
Nome Creek in Alaska
My first good-sized grayling of the year, and the biggest I've seen in this creek, about 15-16 inches.
Nome Creek in Alaska
Nome Creek in Alaska

Closeup insects by Troutnut from Nome Creek in Alaska

Comments / replies

Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

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Entoman on Jul 14, 2011July 14th, 2011, 12:17 pm EDT
Spence -

Ha! I edited the post less anyone think I'm referring to those involved in the current process (this writer excluded from that exemption). Thanks for the heads up. Posts can be a tricky thing.

Roger's going to think you and I have been out drinking together...


That cat's out of the bag I think, at least from a cyber perspective.:)
"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
Troutnut
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Troutnut on Jul 14, 2011July 14th, 2011, 1:07 pm EDT
No bastardizations of the scientific name? Hmm. I guess that rules out caling them Iillivirua, then.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

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Entoman on Jul 14, 2011July 14th, 2011, 1:28 pm EDT
Ha Ha! No, actually that kinda works as a play on the word. Wrong color though. How about Pink Unicorn May? Na...

Names with a little malva in them:

Pale Hendrickson
Western Pink Hendrickson
Aurora May (I like this one)
Aurora Dun (even better)
"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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PaulRoberts on Jul 14, 2011July 14th, 2011, 4:18 pm EDT
What would Ernie call it?
Troutnut
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Troutnut on Jul 14, 2011July 14th, 2011, 4:25 pm EDT
Pale Hendrickson


They don't seem much paler than normal Hendricksons.

Western Pink Hendrickson


But they're found east, west, and Europe, and Asia.

Aurora Dun (even better)


But they're not exclusively northern, and when they are northern, they emerge during the time of year with a midnight sun when the aurora aren't visible.

This figuring out a good common name is hard work! I'm still partial to calling them Bigfoot.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Konchu
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Indiana

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Konchu on Jul 14, 2011July 14th, 2011, 6:00 pm EDT
Since I get to establish names in another realm, I should probably stay out of the fray here, but I can't resist.

Why not call them Boreal Duns (auroras have the borealis and australis varieties) or Yeti Duns?

Yeti would be fitting, because one of the ID features used historically for the nymphs is a proportionately large leg.
Konchu
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Konchu on Jul 14, 2011July 14th, 2011, 6:08 pm EDT
Just checked, and my old Audubon Society fieldguide calls ephemerellids (and more specifically, Ephemerella subvaria) the Midboreal Mayflies. So, my "Boreal" name is a case of mild subconscious plagiarism, but maybe fitting. Has anyone else heard this moniker for the Ephemerellidae? I wonder who coined it?
Oldredbarn
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Oldredbarn on Jul 14, 2011July 14th, 2011, 8:12 pm EDT
Come on boys lets name it after Lena! She's the one that deserves some credit here...How long has it been that she's been lost in the tundra waiting for her hubby to find his way out of there and back home to nice, known, predictable hatches?!

I'll let you poets come up with the proper form etc...But it should have Lena somewhere in there.
"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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Entoman on Jul 14, 2011July 14th, 2011, 9:11 pm EDT
Jason -

Bigfoot? Ok, it's your call...:) If it ever takes off (which I seriously doubt), it's going to be interesting the way angler historians explain how it came by that name long after we're gone.:)

Luke -

Boreal Dun. Hmmm... Soothing to the ear - acknowledges the region of it's first photo imaging (at least by somebody that knew what he was photographing) - easy to remember - a great description of it's universal distribution north of somewhere - and no, I've never heard that common name used anywhere. It's perfect; which is why it will probably never catch on. But WE should at least try.

Of course we could always call it the "Lt. Neuswanger". For that to work though, somebody would have to design a fly christened in the honor of our friend that also catches the public attention for being deadly during the hatch. How about something with a pinkish tan dubbed body, dun hackle and ... What about wing material? On a lark, how about trying Woodduck flank?
"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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Oldredbarn on Jul 15, 2011July 15th, 2011, 7:21 am EDT
It seems to me that "common names" come about after a long tradition of many anglers having some sort of experience with the bug...Jason...You are probably, for the most part, alone most of the time there on that stream...You will need a little more human traffic up that way in order for a "nickname" to stick. Those flies are hatching and maybe the fish are feeding on them in obscurity...It's like the old "tree falling in the woods" thing...

(Example: It will never get a nickname like "Fishermen's Curse" because there are no "fishermen" there to be cursed in the first place...You will need a little bigger crowd.)

Can we spell an exercise in futility??? I say name it after your sweet-heart and get some brownie points in the process...Forget science, and form, and tradition, or best practises...None of us are going to jump in to the station wagon and drive up the Al-Can and stop you...Go for it buddy...You are on your own. Out on the frontier. Step up to the plate Casey! Take a turn at bat.

"What would Ernie say?"...He probably would have a twinkle in his eye and give us a wink and say he agrees with the wacky-dutchman on this one..."Name it after the girl!", I think he would say. We need Lloyd, or Mark Libertone, or Shawn Davis, to give us an artsy name for the color of this critter...It's not just red...

We have a long tradition of names like Parmachene Belle, Cornine's Quill, I'm actually drawing a blank here, that roll off the tongue and have a romantic lilt to it. This doesn't happen much but I'm for a loss for words...Someone help me out here...I kind of like "Boreal Duns". That is a long the lines of what I'm trying to say...But if I get a vote...No to Yeti...:)

Spence

I'm starting a "write-in" campaign..."The Lena Dun"
"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
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GONZO on Jul 15, 2011July 15th, 2011, 8:04 am EDT
Just to strengthen your argument, Spence, some meanings given for Lena's name include "light," "alluring," and "temptress." It gets my vote. Or perhaps you could combine it with Konchu's Boreal Dun to become "Boreallena." What do you think? Too much? :)

We need Lloyd, or Mark Libertone, or Shawn Davis, to give us an artsy name for the color of this critter...It's not just red...

Personally, I'm against drawing too fine a color line because it sometimes becomes another source of common name confusion. The name "Chocolate Dun" for Ephemerella needhami is an example, but that's another story. (Let's just say that some E. needhami are a shade of "chocolate" that I would never eat.)

Oldredbarn
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Oldredbarn on Jul 15, 2011July 15th, 2011, 10:10 am EDT
Just to strengthen your argument, Spence, some meanings given for Lena's name include "light," "alluring," and "temptress." It gets my vote.


Gonzo said this J not me...;) I wasn't "flirting" or anything...

(Let's just say that some E. needhami are a shade of "chocolate" that I would never eat.)


Are you saying a more appropriate name would of been "Poop Dun"? Just asking...

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
Konchu
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Konchu on Jul 15, 2011July 15th, 2011, 3:26 pm EDT
Ephemerella aurivillii was named after a Swedish naturalist. I think it was this one .
Troutnut
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Troutnut on Jul 15, 2011July 15th, 2011, 3:47 pm EDT
Are you saying a more appropriate name would of been "Poop Dun"? Just asking...


Gonzo recently informed me that needhami does come in brown and olive versions, so your suggestion is better than you think.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

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Oldredbarn on Jul 15, 2011July 15th, 2011, 4:07 pm EDT
Gonzo recently informed me that needhami does come in brown and olive versions, so your suggestion is better than you think.


Hey Jason! You think I'm just playing here?! ;) Lloyd would be a good clue writer for Jeopardy. He kind of led me there on that one.

Luke,

Thanks for the link...It seems to me that a great many of the old naturalists did a lot of their own illustrations...Is drawing a part of the curicula for the natural sciences?

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
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

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Jmd123 on Jul 15, 2011July 15th, 2011, 4:52 pm EDT
Lena's Pink Boreal Quill Dun. Is that poetic enough for you troutnuts???

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Konchu
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Konchu on Jul 15, 2011July 15th, 2011, 5:07 pm EDT
@Oldredbarn--a course in illustration certainly was part of my curriculum, and the curricula of many of my contemporaries. It is part of the historic tradition. More importantly, though, I think people who have an eye for drawing also have the eye for detail that makes a naturalist a naturalist. In many ways, they are of the same ilk.
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

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Jmd123 on Jul 15, 2011July 15th, 2011, 5:15 pm EDT
Spence, I was never required to take a course in illustration, though I made quite a few in my own notes. I did, however, take Photography for Field Biologists at the University of Michigan Biological Station back in the summer of 1986 - back in the days of Ektachrome E-6 chemistry and darkrooms...how easy we all have it now with digital cameras and computers!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Troutnut
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Troutnut on Jul 16, 2011July 16th, 2011, 2:12 am EDT
Added more mayflies that hatched out in my aquarium today -- a male Cinygmula dun, and a totally intact male Ephemerella aurivillii dun/spinner.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

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PaulRoberts on Jul 16, 2011July 16th, 2011, 4:23 am EDT
I'll bet this is the kind of discussion "Hellgrammite" came out of.

Aurora Borealis? Doh! That's taken.

OK...we want to be descriptive -something useful.

"Little Boreal Hendrickson"? = size, range, pattern. But confess I don't like the use of "Hendrickson" bc that conjures up all kinds of things about a particular insect that may simply not apply to this one.

How about "Ephemerella aurivillii"? Then, any info that comes down the line in the future will be properly attached to the right bug.

I'm not a fan of common names. I was talking wildflowers with neighbors last week and we all had different (perfectly good) names for the same flower: gilia, skyrocket, honeysuckle (bc you can suck the nectar from the fused (tube-shaped) petals). Took us a bit to realize we were talking about the same plant. But, the problem there is the genus was changed from Gilia to Ipomopsis. So...should we now call it Ipomopsis? I guess so. Just like we now call Stenonema fuscum -the pale S. vicarium.

When I see (saw) S. vicarium on the water I just called them "vicarium" or "fuscum". If I was with someone who might not know from whence that came I'd likely say, "Clinger mayfly called "Stenonema; This one is vicarium".They were certainly not "March Browns" bc I wasn't fishing a "March Brown". "March Brown" is a specific fly recipe and too limiting a name for a real creature. I've seen good vicarium imitations tied in different ways/recipes. My favorite was a Haystack derivative that was hackled so I could twitch and skate it -deadly on the bigger bug eaters on eastern streams.

The idea of a common name is to simplify I guess... so some duff can ask "What're they bite'n?" "March Brown", "Hendrickson", "Blue-Winged Olive"... "Little Hendrickson's" in the case of aurivillii I guess. If you called it "Boreal Dun" alone -what would that say? If it lead someone to a book, they'd be stumped.

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