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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.

Dorsal view of a Setvena wahkeena (Perlodidae) (Wahkeena Springfly) Stonefly Nymph from Mystery Creek #199 in Washington
As far as I can tell, this species has only previously been reported from one site in Oregon along the Columbia gorge. However, the key characteristics are fairly unmistakable in all except for one minor detail:
— 4 small yellow spots on frons visible in photos
— Narrow occipital spinule row curves forward (but doesn’t quite meet on stem of ecdysial suture, as it's supposed to in this species)
— Short spinules on anterior margin of front legs
— Short rposterior row of blunt spinules on abdominal tergae, rather than elongated spinules dorsally
I caught several of these mature nymphs in the fishless, tiny headwaters of a creek high in the Wenatchee Mountains.
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.

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

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Jul 3, 2013July 3rd, 2013, 7:06 am EDT
fished Pittsburg, NH, at Back Lake last week for the hex hatch and enjoyed it immensely. the bugs were really big, wings standing perhaps as high as 3 inches off the water, and bodies about as long.

then fished a pond in VT with the same color bugs hatching at the same time in the same manner, but they were about half the size.

different bug? different ecology, therefore smaller?

trout loved them either size.
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Kschaefer3
Kschaefer3's profile picture
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Kschaefer3 on Jul 3, 2013July 3rd, 2013, 7:52 am EDT
trout loved them either size.
And that's the most important thing, right? Great question though. The variability of nature is often surprising and incredible.
Sayfu
Posts: 560
Sayfu on Jul 3, 2013July 3rd, 2013, 12:00 pm EDT

On my SF of the Snake big fish will often take the smaller bug...Big salmonflies out that are huge, and the fish will often rise to the smaller golden stones much better.
Taxon
Taxon's profile picture
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Taxon on Jul 3, 2013July 3rd, 2013, 1:38 pm EDT
Hi Casey-

fished Pittsburg, NH, at Back Lake last week for the hex hatch and enjoyed it immensely. the bugs were really big, wings standing perhaps as high as 3 inches off the water, and bodies about as long.

then fished a pond in VT with the same color bugs hatching at the same time in the same manner, but they were about half the size.

different bug? different ecology, therefore smaller?

trout loved them either size.


The Hexagenia emerging in NH were probably H. limbata, and those emerging in VT were probably H. rigida. Different species, but so similar that distinguishing one from the other requires microscopic examination of the genitalia of a male imago.
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
CaseyP
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Jul 3, 2013July 3rd, 2013, 5:18 pm EDT
so similar that distinguishing one from the other requires microscopic examination of the genitalia of a male imago

umm...instead of just measuring the wings?
or does size not matter...
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Taxon
Taxon's profile picture
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Taxon on Jul 3, 2013July 3rd, 2013, 6:49 pm EDT
Hi Casey-

Once upon a time, there were believed to be many more species of Hexagenia than there are today. Many of those earlier-identified "species" were combined with Hexagenia limbata. The following excerpt from Mayfly Central's Species List - North American documents this species concept re-definition:

Hexagenia limbata (Serville), 1829 [CAN:FN,NE,NW;MEX:FS,SW;USA:NE,NW,SE,SW]

Ephemera limbata Serville, 1829 (orig.)
Hexagenia affiliata McDunnough, 1927 (syn.)
Hexagenia californica Upholt, 1937 (syn.)
Hexagenia carolina Traver, 1931 (syn.)
Hexagenia elegans Traver, 1931 (syn.)
Hexagenia kanuga Traver, 1937 (syn.)
Hexagenia marilandica Traver, 1931 (syn.)
Hexagenia mingo Traver, 1931 (syn.)
Hexagenia munda Eaton, 1883 (syn.)
Hexagenia occulta (Walker), 1853 (syn.)
Hexagenia pallens Traver, 1935 (syn.)
Hexagenia rosacea Traver, 1931 (syn.)
Hexagenia variabilis Eaton, 1883 (syn.)
Hexagenia venusta Eaton, 1883 (syn.)
Hexagenia viridescens (Walker), 1853 (syn.)
Hexagenia weewa Traver, 1931 (syn.)
Palingenia limbata (Serville), 1829 (comb.)
Palingenia occulta Walker, 1853 (syn.)
Palingenia viridescens Walker, 1853 (syn.)


As a result, Hexagenia limbata subimagoes/imagoes vary in body length from ~12 mm to ~37 mm, whereas Hexagenia rigida vary in body length from ~19 to ~20 mm, and forewing lengths are approximately the same as (or slightly shorter than) body lengths.
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jul 4, 2013July 4th, 2013, 9:12 am EDT
Hey look everybody, Roger finally metamorphosed into an adult!!!

;oD

Jonathon

P.S. I also recently changed from a guy holding a smallmouth to a guy sitting in a yellow kayak...
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
CaseyP
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Jul 4, 2013July 4th, 2013, 1:14 pm EDT
vary in body length from ~12 mm to ~37 mm

okay, so wing/body length is not the determining factor. thanks!
the hexes on the screen at the lodge looked larger than 35mm, but of course any bug nearly that size looks enormous, especially on the glassy surface of the lake at sunset.
so, hexes rule, big and small!
the fish in the pond are never fished for, and after one gulped down two real flies and one fishing fly in less time than it takes to tell, i felt bad and stopped fishing. my excuse was the water was kind of warm...
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra

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