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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.

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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Jesse's profile picture
Posts: 378
Jesse on May 13, 2012May 13th, 2012, 4:44 pm EDT
Someone tell me (with understandable words) exactly what a mayfly spinner is!? I have always thought that it was a mayflies last life stage before it dies. But i have heard it's a separate mayfly from the actual; such as a march brown dun vs. a spinner, the mating stage, blah blah blah and more. Whats up here guys i want to know?
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on May 13, 2012May 13th, 2012, 4:57 pm EDT
Hi Jess,

When mayflies hatch, the duns fly off the water to find a safe place to molt into fully mature adults or spinners. This usually takes a day or two. They then come back to mate and lay their eggs. They die soon after with many ending up in the water. The spinner looks just like the dun but usually shinier, perhaps a little darker, and with clearer wings. Caddis and stoneflies don't molt after hatching.
"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
Konchu's profile picture
Site Editor

Posts: 498
Konchu on May 13, 2012May 13th, 2012, 5:01 pm EDT
the usual mayfly life cycle goes like this:

egg (laid in water)
nymph (molts several times as it grows in the water)
dun (a winged stage that leaves the water, but does not mate; this stage molts to form the next state)
spinner (the sexually mature stage that mates and lays eggs)

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