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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.

Dorsal view of a Pycnopsyche guttifera (Limnephilidae) (Great Autumn Brown Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This specimen appears to be of the same species as this one collected in the same spot two months earlier. The identification of both is tentative. This one suffered some physical damage before being photographed, too, so the colors aren't totally natural. I was mostly photographing it to test out some new camera setting idea, which worked really well for a couple of closeups.
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 True Fly Family Chironomidae

Midges are the most important aquatic insects in some places, especially fertile spring creeks where they are extremely abundant and the current is so slow that it's efficient for trout to surface feed on very tiny insects.

Some midges are large, up to hook size 14, but the majority are size 22 or smaller. The number of genera and species is hopelessly huge for angler entomologists to ever learn, and the identifing characteristics often require slide-mounting tiny parts under high-powered microscopes. Even the most Latin-minded fisherman must slip back to the basics--size and color--to describe his local midge hatches.

Example specimens

CaseyP
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on May 24, 2007May 24th, 2007, 3:13 am EDT
in the air over the stream last night was a cloud of "midges", all floating in pairs. the hundreds of pairs looked like little colons (:), little black dots keeping a constant distance. you had to see it to believe it. mating dances? has anyone else seen this?

river: Little Juniata, PA
water temp: 62 degrees
air temp: high 70s
time: twilight
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Troutnut
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Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on May 24, 2007May 24th, 2007, 3:39 am EDT
Can't say that I have. Maybe they were all joined mating?
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
CaseyP
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on May 24, 2007May 24th, 2007, 5:02 am EDT
the pairs were closer to each other than to other pairs, and the pairs were about equidistant from other pairs as they moved in the air. it looked like space was important, like birds on a wire; one of nature's really amazing regular patterns, i guess.
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Troutnut
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Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on May 24, 2007May 24th, 2007, 5:49 am EDT
Oh, so they weren't touching. I guess that rules out mating. Still probably some behavior related to that. It sounds really interesting.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
CaseyP
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on May 25, 2007May 25th, 2007, 3:24 pm EDT
can we post video on this board? my camera can take short sequences of up to a minute, so next time i see this midge dancing class i'll think to record it.
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on May 26, 2007May 26th, 2007, 1:25 pm EDT
Casey, wish I'd known you were up at the J. I just returned from a two night trip (24th and 25th), and Jason joined me last night for a dense sulphur spinner fall. I'll let him tell you about it. How was your fishing?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell

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