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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 Epeorus albertae (Heptageniidae) (Pink Lady) Mayfly Nymph from the East Fork Issaquah Creek in Washington
This specimen keys to the Epeorus albertae group of species. Of the five species in that group, the two known in Washington state are Epeorus albertae and Epeorus dulciana. Of the two, albertae has been collected in vastly more locations in Washington than dulciana, suggesting it is far more common. On that basis alone I'm tentatively putting this nymph in albertae, with the large caveat that there's no real information to rule out dulciana.
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.

Rainbow
Posts: 3
Rainbow on Oct 24, 2012October 24th, 2012, 3:52 pm EDT
Hello,
I am angler from BC and enjoy, as an angler and artist, all the info on your site, Jason.
This past weekend I was fishing on the Skagit River above Ross Lake and was introduced to a wee olive winged mayfly that I have not been able to identify. Perhaps someone on this board can help me out.
Here is a photo:

Thanks,
Fran
Rainbow
Troutnut
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Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Oct 24, 2012October 24th, 2012, 7:48 pm EDT
I thought it looked a bit like Epeorus, too, but it's much skinnier than the ones I'm used to seeing. I'm just not sure what else it would be.

Fran emailed me an additional detail, this mayfly usually emerges in September and can be fairly important there, but it's running a bit late this year and emerging more recently.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Oct 25, 2012October 25th, 2012, 1:05 am EDT
Fran -

Welcome to the forum!

This is a female subimago (dun) most likely of the family Heptageniidae (Flat-headed Clinger nymphs). Since you mention that they are abundant and important, two common species of heptageniid this size come to mind as possible matches one would expect to see this time of year. One is Epeorus albertae (Western Gordon or a plethora of "pink" names) and the other is Cinygmula reticulata (Western Red Quill).

The general coloring, conformation, and markings are a pretty good match for reticulata, but it is far less common. The female Gordons (albertae) I've seen over the years are either much paler than this (usually with a lot of yellow and/or pink) or are an olivaceous gray. Also the dark ones have gray wings without the pastel wash this noticeable. Both variations of albertae also usually (but not always) have marked legs as well as paler tails than this specimen. But, I haven't seen 'em all!:)

I'd like to know more about the habitat as generally speaking low altitude big water favors albertae (though latitude may have an impact on this generalization).

...Kurt will know.

Sorry to disappoint, Mack.:) The only thing I'm reasonably confident in at this point is that it's probably a heptageniid, though there are some ameletids that are closer to the look of this gal's conformation in some respects and females are tough. The critter's in shadow and it's hard to make out much morphological detail. Now, if I could get a good look at the wing venation, face, subanal plate, and tarsi...:)

I thought it looked a bit like Epeorus, too, but it's much skinnier than the ones I'm used to seeing

Agreed Jason, with the caveat that camera angles often mislead me. This is another character a little off.

This one really intrigues me. Notice what appears to be a pair of small projections on the corners of the mesoscutum at the anterior margin? Also, what appears to be a relatively straight posterior head margin between the eyes instead of the highly concave shape one would expect to see? These aren't very Epeorus-like characters either. The bottom line is these characters have me vexed. Hopefully, somebody else can help with possible explanations before I have time to think on it a little more...
"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
Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Oct 25, 2012October 25th, 2012, 1:28 pm EDT
Which one, Mack?

BTW - another important character for indicating E. albertae is the presence of a dark and thickened humeral vein that should clearly stand out from the costal cross veins - not seeing it here. Also, the presence of a transverse suture on the mesonotum (assuming the apparent projections are actually just highlighted corners of the ridge) rules out species of the genus Epeorus.
"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
Rainbow
Posts: 3
Rainbow on Oct 25, 2012October 25th, 2012, 6:28 pm EDT
Thanks to you all for helping me out here. Interesting discourse. I wish I had got a sharper image before it flew away. I have put out a request to an angler headed up to the Skagit this weekend to see if he can get a better one. But it is supposed to rain all weekend and the hatch may not happen as it did on the sunny day I was there.
The quest continues :-)
fran
Rainbow
Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Oct 25, 2012October 25th, 2012, 9:08 pm EDT
Hi Fran,

I wish I had got a sharper image before it flew away.

Ha! That should be the title of our theme song.:) The truth is yours is a fine photo for an "off the cuffer" taken by an angler whose primary focus at the time was... Fishing? :) Phrases like "can't make this out" or "wished I could see" aren't meant as complaints against the photo but are rather explanations/excuses for not being able to help more definitively!:)

Thanks for submitting the specimen!

Best regards,

Kurt

P.S. - As for "continuing the quest", check this out http://www.troutnut.com/specimen/963. I think you can be reasonably comfortable with Cinygmula at this point.
"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
Rainbow
Posts: 3
Rainbow on Oct 26, 2012October 26th, 2012, 7:12 pm EDT
HI Kurt,
Not miffed with the comments, was just a fact that the photo is not crisp. I have done better but sometimes the bug is in control :-)

Considering the Cinygmula given color variations possible it looks pretty close to me too. It has the lighter banding on the body, the lighter almost clear legs, the darker thorax. The color of the thorax had that dark green iridescent bug color.

Here is a photo of the river which has fast runs and gentle runs and deeper pools. Very pretty river I don't get to fish nearly often enough.



fran
Rainbow
Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Oct 26, 2012October 26th, 2012, 8:22 pm EDT
Ah... That's definitely the right looking habitat. I feel even better about Cinygmula.:) Thanks for the photo!

Considering the Cinygmula given color variations possible...

Yes, especially the wings. I've seen them from canary yellow to dull gray... To this point, I've been unable to verify if this character (the amount of pastel infusion) indicates specific differentiation.
"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

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