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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
Baetis

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.

Lateral view of a Onocosmoecus (Limnephilidae) (Great Late-Summer Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This specimen keys pretty easily to Onocosmoecus, and it closely resembles a specimen from Alaska which caddis expert Dave Ruiter recognized as this genus. As with that specimen, the only species in the genus documented in this area is Onocosmoecus unicolor, but Dave suggested for that specimen that there might be multiple not-yet-distinguished species under the unicolor umbrella and it would be best to stick with the genus-level ID. I'm doing the same for this one.
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.

This topic is about the Insect Family Corydalidae

Hellgrammites are the vicious larvae of the Dobsonflies, some of the only trout stream insects which pose a biting threat to the angler. The pincers of the adult are even more frightening that the larva's, and they're aggressive enough to use them once in a while.

This family's life cycle does not create good dry fly opportunities, but the larvae may be eaten by trout year-round. They are a secret told only by stomach samples of well-fed trout.

Example specimens

CaseyP
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Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

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CaseyP on Jan 2, 2007January 2nd, 2007, 2:53 am EST

First, clever Jason for making the tyros go to his bug pictures on the web to identify those big scary things crawling on his calendars. hellgrammites sure look tasty! at one critter a month, i should be up to speed in about 2015.

Which brings me to my question: we're having a really warm winter here in the East. does this mean the fish will be more active, eating the more active bugs? if so, what is the implication for the spring and summer? will the bugs just multiply faster to keep up with demand?

my Russian friend told me that the bears were really late going into hibernation this year, and they began eating garbage and hunters because everything else was gone. he's worried that they might not survive, not being fat enough when they went to sleep.
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Troutnut
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Troutnut on Jan 2, 2007January 2nd, 2007, 4:10 am EST
hellgrammites sure look tasty!


Spoken like a true trout angler!

does this mean the fish will bhe more active, eating the more active bugs? if so, what is the implication for the spring and summer?


Good question. I'm not really sure. My wild guess is that the effect won't really be noticeable compared to other factors that come into play in the spring -- water levels, etc.

will the bugs just multiply faster to keep up with demand?


Probably not, because most of them have one generation per year. That doesn't allow them to multiply faster on the time scale of one unusually warm season.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
CaseyP
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Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

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CaseyP on Jan 2, 2007January 2nd, 2007, 9:54 am EST
umm, so maybe the spring fish will be hungrier than usual? i mean hold-overs and natives. the poor little stockies are always hungry...anyone come up with a viable fly for a pellet hatch?
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
GONZO
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GONZO on Jan 6, 2007January 6th, 2007, 9:15 am EST
Casey,

The impact of our warm winter, if it continues (and I'm told that it probably will), will undoubtedly have some effect on spring hatches. I'd be prepared for an early emergence of most spring species.

But, it is also easy to overestimate the effect of a warm winter on the fish and the insects in the short term. Even when we are regularly having warm days, the shortened photoperiod has a significant impact. An even more significant factor is the character of the water.

For example, I recently fished a small spring creek that enters a large warmwater river. The water temperature on the spring creek was 55 degrees (which would facilitate trout activity regardless of air temperature). In contrast, even after a series of unusually warm days, the late afternoon temperature on the larger "warmwater" was 45 degrees (which would slow metabolism and activity). This, of course, is the reverse of the situation in the summer, when the spring creek would remain in the 50s or low 60s while the warmwater river would climb into the 70s and 80s. This also points to the value of carrying a stream thermometer at any time of the year.

With regard to the insects, I was surprised by the scattered emergence of a few Baetids during this excursion and another to a similar spring creek. It's not that seeing a few BWOs at this time of year is unusual, but their size was. This species (Baetis tricaudatus) is multi-brooded with large #16 duns emerging in the early spring and successively smaller duns appearing during subsequent broods (usually #20-22 by the late-season end of the cycle). Yet, the flies that were emerging this December were #16. Apparently, the nymphs of the earliest brood enter the winter almost fully mature, and a sufficient stretch of warm weather can cause them to emerge months ahead of schedule.

PS--As for the pellet "hatch," most any amorphous brown blob that lands with a good plop can work. To really stimulate the competitive juices of the pelletheads, I'd suggest a cast of three such flies plopped repeatedly on the water! :)

Troutnut
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Troutnut on Jan 6, 2007January 6th, 2007, 11:19 am EST
For the pellet hatch you need look no further than the hind end of a deer.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
GONZO
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GONZO on Jan 7, 2007January 7th, 2007, 8:25 am EST
Jason,

I'm assuming that your reference to a deer's "hind end" is as a source of hair for spinning into pellet flies, and not to the the other "pellet-producing" aspect associated with this region of a deer. If I am wrong in this interpretation, might I suggest that perhaps a rabbit would provide more accurate and appropriately sized "pellet" material? :)
CaseyP
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Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

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CaseyP on Jan 7, 2007January 7th, 2007, 8:42 am EST
thanks, Gonzo. we were out today in suburban Arlington and the fish were active until the clouds came. nothing on the surface we could see, and they didn't care for dry flies, but they chased zug bugs hard until they figured out what was up.

i'll see what i can do with different dubbing and weights for the pellet hatch. being partial to peacock herl, i'll probably try to put some of that in too. you may laugh, but in Montana after supper we like to go out to the farm pond for practice.

may i add "photoperiod" to my collection of amazing jargon? i've taught writing for years and fought valiantly for simple clarity; so far i'm losing.

Jason, if i do what you're suggesting, i'd be caught using "bait"...only "artificial" materials on single barbless hooks are allowed in our fly-fishing-only areas!
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
GONZO
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GONZO on Jan 7, 2007January 7th, 2007, 8:59 am EST
Casey,

I apologize for the use of "photoperiod." If we consider that to be amended to "daylight," can I be forgiven?
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Troutnut on Jan 7, 2007January 7th, 2007, 10:02 am EST
I'm assuming that your reference to a deer's "hind end" is as a source of hair for spinning into pellet flies, and not to the the other "pellet-producing" aspect associated with this region of a deer.


Sometimes ambiguity is a virtue. :)
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
CaseyP
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Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

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CaseyP on Jan 7, 2007January 7th, 2007, 11:28 am EST
Gonzo, jargon is always permitted in context! since this is a scientific forum, we can accept and digest certain succinct, perfect terms used by posters sharing scientific knowledge. it's just dummies like English teachers who notice such things and collect them like stamps.

'sides, i bet that there is a difference between daylight and photoperiod when you're talking science. example: in Medan, Indonesia, we tried to grow sweet corn in the household veggie plot. it didn't work. the ag people down in the embassy in Djakarta told us it was because the daylight wasn't right: corn likes increasing days and we only had the same length days year-round, with a change in angle from one side of the house to the other. summer, the sun was on the front of the house all day, winter on the back. living on the equator is weird!

whaddaya suppose transplanted bugs would do?
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
GONZO
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GONZO on Jan 7, 2007January 7th, 2007, 11:53 am EST
whaddaya suppose transplanted bugs would do?


Curl up and die, probably. I'm reminded of Burks' observations about what happened to the mayflies in New Zealand. Apparently the transplanted trout ate 'em all!

Thanks for the forgiveness, Casey, but you should know that my respect for English teachers is almost infinite. And I'm not insensitive to the problems of inhouse jargon. If you think subjects like entomology and fly-fishing are bad, you should hear a group of ski instructors discuss the mechanics of that sport sometime! It can be so incomprehensible at times that they don't even know what they're talking about!

As for the "scientific" nature of this site, I'm not sure that our dabbling in "booger" and "poop" jokes supports that. (Potty humor dies hard for the male of the species, doesn't it?)
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Troutnut on Jan 7, 2007January 7th, 2007, 6:06 pm EST
It can be so incomprehensible at times that they don't even know what they're talking about!


Maybe so, but no sportsmen can compete in the "so complex it's all nonsense" category against certain academics. My "well-rounded" (or, rather, morbidly obese) education from Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences included an unfortunate level of exposure to "social theory." It is a substantial corner of academia devoted to saying absolutely nothing in such a convoluted way that the people controlling the paychecks mistake it for scholarship. Their formula is to come up with several nonsensical metaphors (with bonus points for using avant garde physics words they can't even begin to understand), pad the paper to length with Jacques Derrida quotes, then assert that it overturns some self-evident feature of reality. As long as they keep one-upping each other, they keep their jobs and get to play professor, with offices and students and everything. I idolized Richard Feynman in part for his lampooning of these goofballs, and one of my favorite pranks of all time comes from another physicist, Alan Sokal. If you're not familiar with his "Sokal Hoax," treat yourself to these two papers (in order) for a laugh: Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity and A Physicist Experiments with Cultural Studies.

(I realize that's a very unrelated tangent, but I have to rant on that subject whenever it comes to mind, or else an important artery could pop.)

As for the "scientific" nature of this site, I'm not sure that our dabbling in "booger" and "poop" jokes supports that.


But our booger jokes are so much wittier than most! That's what sets sophisticated fly fishers apart from the walleye worm-dunkers of the world...

Is that it? Uh oh.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Jlh42581
Milesburg, Pa

Posts: 24
Jlh42581 on Jan 17, 2007January 17th, 2007, 8:58 am EST
Transplanted flies dont survive. Some well known fisherman tried it in Fishermans Paradise(spring creek) back in i believe the 60's when psu spilled somthing that killed all the green drakes.


"A bunch of us tried to reintroduce them by planting nymphs in the stream and duns in the foliage," said Dan Shields, of Lamont, Pa., who wrote about the incident in his book "Fly Fishing Pennsylvania's Spring Creek."

"We even netted thousands of spinners from another stream, but they never took hold. We tried for three or four years, but it was no use."

excerpt from http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06218/711469-140.stm
Jeremy
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Troutnut on Jan 17, 2007January 17th, 2007, 11:30 am EST
I know there are some cases of transplanted bugs taking off; I believe they were stoneflies out west, either in recently restored streams or in new tailwaters.

The rule of thumb I've heard for that is that these insects are pretty good at spreading, so if the habitat is ideal for a species it's already there naturally. Only in cases when the habitat has changed very recently and dramatically (stream restoration, new tailwater, etc) might insect transplants be a worthwhile idea.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Minnesota
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Minnesota on Jan 18, 2007January 18th, 2007, 8:10 pm EST
I find it interesting here in Minnesota that people call Crane Fly larvae "Hellgramites" or "water worms". Doe's anyone have a pattern for a crane fly larvae that wiggles?? =)
Jason Moe
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Martinlf on Jan 19, 2007January 19th, 2007, 12:31 am EST
No, but I saw one tied on a swimming nymph hook, I believe in Ames book, that might give the appearance of wiggling as it tumbles along. I've considered tying some of these. A jointed fly might also work. Hmm. . . . Interesting question.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell

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