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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.

Dorsal view of a Grammotaulius betteni (Limnephilidae) (Northern Caddisfly) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This is a striking caddis larva with an interesting color pattern on the head. Here are some characteristics I was able to see under the microscope, but could not easily expose for a picture:
- The prosternal horn is present.
- The mandible is clearly toothed, not formed into a uniform scraper blade.
- The seems to be only 2 major setae on the ventral edge of the hind femur.
- Chloride epithelia seem to be absent from the dorsal side of any abdominal segments.
Based on these characteristics and the ones more easily visible from the pictures, this seems to be Grammotaulius. The key's description of the case is spot-on: "Case cylindrical, made of longitudinally arranged sedge or similar leaves," as is the description of the markings on the head, "Dorsum of head light brownish yellow with numerous discrete, small, dark spots." The spot pattern on the head is a very good match to figure 19.312 of Merritt R.W., Cummins, K.W., and Berg, M.B. (2019). The species ID is based on Grammotaulius betteni being the only species of this genus known in Washington state.
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.

Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Apr 19, 2015April 19th, 2015, 10:01 am EDT
Hey everyone. I had a great day yesterday teaching the entomology section for the local Boy Scouts merit badge program in fly fishing.

I had a group of 6 Scouts per hour and 6 groups for the whole day.

I had some displays and specimen jars set up inside on one picnic table and I had created a couple notebooks for the guys with all the bugs I thought we might find in the lake next to the building the class was in.

I had a display of the life cycle of a mayfly and explained to them the life cycles of the aquatic bugs we might run into.

I spoke for about 10-15 mins and then took them down to the lake.

I had them stand on a dock and I had waders on and I gave them little basters to suck up the specimens...I then scooped up a shovel full of muck and aquatic weeds and plopped in down on the dock at their feet. I then said, "If anything moves nab it!"

There is nothing like a small pile of mud, aquatic weeds, and crawling critters to get the attention of young boys! They were on a mission. Nothing was going to escape them...

One time I walked into the water and had a water snake swimming around...They got a kick out of that.

We found crayfish, dragonfly nymphs, damsel fly nymphs (I'm tying mine too fat! These things are slimmer than the diameter of a hook), a few cased caddis, a couple mayflies, and a zillion various midges that hatched from our tub throughout the day leaving little instructive shucks on the top of the water.

It was a blast for the 10 year old hiding out in this 61 year old angler!

The day was over at 3:30 and I decided to hike/bird some of the nature trails in this park where we held the classes...I was dead last night! My wife said I was snoring like crazy.

My fishing club, Michigan Fly Fishing Club, has been doing this for years. The Scouts have a merit badge booklet that they study before the day of the classes. We have a knot section, a conservation and equipment section, fly tying, fly casting, (the boys have to catch a fish on their fly to get the badge), they have to clean and cook a fish, and the entomology part.

It was very refreshing to see these eager young boys interested in a day of outdoor activity, sans cell phones and the internet.

Over the years I have tied here. We lost a good friend last year who ran the entomology section...He was adamant about the hands on part of the learning process. I was honored when they asked me to take his place...He had been the president of the club when I joined it in 1991.

Anyway! Thanks go out to Eric for sending me some tips to help me pull this off!

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Healdsburg, CA

Posts: 344
Millcreek on Apr 19, 2015April 19th, 2015, 10:44 am EDT
Spence - I had a similar experience except mine was with 3rd graders. I'd go down to the creek and start to collect a few bugs. Then the teacher would bring the little monsters down. After oohing and awing at the bugs on display we gave each of them an aquarium net and a small plastic vial for putting what they caught in. They were pretty good at catching stuff. In a half hour we had we had mayfly, stonefly and caddisfly larvae as well as sculpin and steelhead fry. The little girls were the real champs at finding stuff and beat the boys pretty badly.
"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"
-Albert Einstein
RMlytle's profile picture

Posts: 40
RMlytle on Apr 19, 2015April 19th, 2015, 3:15 pm EDT
The day young kids stop enjoying catching creepy crawlies is a sad day. Some of my best memories are of rolling rocks for salamanders, dragon fly nymphs, frogs, cased caddis, and all sorts of other fauna in small PA creeks.
PaulRoberts's profile picture

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Apr 19, 2015April 19th, 2015, 11:42 pm EDT
That's so important for kids to get a chance to do. And great that you get to lead it, Spence. I like that they have to clean and eat a fish too. Great thing for urbanized kids to get to do. As RMlytle said, it'll be a sad day -for all of us- when kids stop exploring the natural world.

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