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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.

Case view of a Pycnopsyche guttifera (Limnephilidae) (Great Autumn Brown Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
It's only barely visible in one of my pictures, but I confirmed under the microscope that this one has a prosternal horn and the antennae are mid-way between the eyes and front of the head capsule.

I'm calling this one Pycnopsyche, but it's a bit perplexing. It seems to key definitively to at least Couplet 8 of the Key to Genera of Limnephilidae Larvae. That narrows it down to three genera, and the case seems wrong for the other two. The case looks right for Pycnopsyche, and it fits one of the key characteristics: "Abdominal sternum II without chloride epithelium and abdominal segment IX with only single seta on each side of dorsal sclerite." However, the characteristic "metanotal sa1 sclerites not fused, although often contiguous" does not seem to fit well. Those sclerites sure look fused to me, although I can make out a thin groove in the touching halves in the anterior half under the microscope. Perhaps this is a regional variation.

The only species of Pycnopsyche documented in Washington state is Pycnopsyche guttifera, and the colors and markings around the head of this specimen seem to match very well a specimen of that species from Massachusetts on Bugguide. So I am placing it in that species for now.

Whatever species this is, I photographed another specimen of seemingly the same species from the same spot a couple months later.
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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Crepuscular's profile picture
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 920
Crepuscular on Jun 13, 2017June 13th, 2017, 7:59 am EDT
Seemingly without fail the annual appearance of Drunella cornuta provides some of the most memorable fishing of the year for me. So far this year has been no exception. Jeez, I love this bug.. literally hundreds of rising fish and epic fishing. I will say that the fish while rising freely can be quite picky, ventral abdominal coloration of the imitation had better be good. Just a few photos for a taste of what this bug brings to the surface...

this fish's coloration blew me away...

And it ain't over yet...
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jun 13, 2017June 13th, 2017, 2:57 pm EDT
Wow, that is a pretty one! And it's not anywhere near spawning season, either. Nice looking flies, too.

My own attempt to go fishing tonight ended with two trips to places that looked like chocolate milk...guess we did get that 1-2" they were talking about! I'll give it a couple of days and try again...

Lot of color variation in your specimens there, Eric. Must be a decent gene pool there.

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jun 17, 2017June 17th, 2017, 10:06 am EDT

Eric. I have thought about this fly for some reason here in Michigan for a long time, but can't truly claim to have seen it. We get a wonderful D lata hatch on the Au Sable, but my curiosity about D cornuta goes unsatisfied...

Leonard barely mentions it, comparing it to walkeri and lata..."Our small collection of E. cornuta was made from streams in the Pre-Cambrian uplift region of the western Upper Peninsula within a single week at the beginning of July." -p47 "Mayflies of Michigan Trout Streams."

Ann Miller kind of does the same thing by lumping them (cornuta, lata, cornutella, and walkeri) under the heading "Drunella Nymph-Summer Olive" (Hatch Guide for Upper Midwest Streams). She too makes mention of "the extreme north" for cornuta and cornutella...and she gives the group its props, as you do, concerning the hatches ability to pull up feeding fish.

I haven't made it up in July for some years, but remember the D lata hatches with fond memories.

Nice fishing report...

"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
Eagle River, Alaska

Posts: 4
JohnR on Jun 17, 2017June 17th, 2017, 6:06 pm EDT
My goodness those are beautiful fish. Thank you for sharing your day on the water. Someday, I gotta make a trip to fish for them.

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