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Help on Mayfly ID

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2012/3/14 6:23
From Lancaster
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The Sheetz at Clarks Ferry is a great place to see many different kinds of bugs at any time of the day. Stopped there early Wednesday AM and these little guys were all over the gas pumps and trash cans. The one in the photo was probably a size 18, maybe a 20 but some of them were even smaller than that. Lookin' for some help with the ID. Thanks.

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Posted on: 2013/8/15 20:49


Re: Help on Mayfly ID

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From Dauphin PA
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I don't have the scientific answer for you. I don't profess to know more than a dozen Latin names nor do I really want to. I'll call them sulphurs, cahills, olives or other generic names.

I live a few miles down in Dauphin. From mid-May until early September, there is some type of sulphur / Cahill / steno type of hatch almost every night. when I take the dog out at around 11, there are anwhere from one to ten species on my car. They range from #12 down to #22. Wing shades and eye color / size vary from week to week. I've taken dozens of pics with intentions of looking them up but always lose interest before completing the task.

Pcray or one of the othe bug guys will have an answer for ya

Posted on: 2013/8/15 21:14
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Re: Help on Mayfly ID

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Here's 2 from this morning. One is a #22 and the other is a #16-14

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Posted on: 2013/8/19 8:30


Re: Help on Mayfly ID

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From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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OP: Can't really tell, poor pic. NOT a sulpher, as it has 2 tails. Could be a maccafertium (cahill), or something in the heptagenia (golden dun), Leucrocuta (little yellow quill), or Nixe genus's.

The others are generally the same. L. Hebe is a possibility. Though I find the short, squat nature of pic #2 weird, it should be identifyable.

Posted on: 2013/8/19 10:41


Re: Help on Mayfly ID

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P,

Based on the size, I thought the "chubby" looking one to be some type of summer steno and the tiny one to be from the family of olives.

Posted on: 2013/8/19 11:06
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Re: Help on Mayfly ID

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kray,

Baetis variety BWO's have 3 tails and plain (non-mottled) wings. Drunella variety BWO's also have plain wings, and are much larger. I'm better at ruling out genus's than I am at identifying the proper one. :)

But, a steno is a possibility. The last two definitely have 2 tails, mottled wings. That narrows it down to these genus's:

heptagenia
leucrocuta
litobrancha
maccaffertium
nixe
rhithrogena
siphloplecton
stenacron
stenonema

Can't tell for sure on the 1st one whether the wings are mottled or not.

Posted on: 2013/8/19 14:23


Re: Help on Mayfly ID

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Quote:

pcray1231 wrote:
OP: Can't really tell, poor pic. NOT a sulpher, as it has 2 tails.


There's actually a non-emphemerella species, Epeorous vitreus, that's commonly called a sulfur, that has only two tails. In the Catskills, it's probably the main insect that gets called sulfur. I don't know whether it's less common in PA, or whether it just gets called something else. (I personally don't think of it as a sulfur, but I don't have a better name for it, either.)

The fly shown isn't one of those, either, though - it lacks dark bands around it's front legs.

Posted on: 2013/8/20 7:58


Re: Help on Mayfly ID

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Yeah, I've always considered calling E. Vitreus a sulfur as being a bastardization. E. Vitreus is a pink lady! Err, umm, yellow quill. Err, umm, PED!

The truth is that there is no standard for common names. Nothing is "wrong". And one guys sulpher is another's cahill.

I'm merely rather biological based and do my best to keep the common names isolated within at least a family, preferably a genus or species. E. Vitreus is much more closely related to Quill Gordons, or even cahills and MB's, than it is to the traditional sulfur species.

The one that really gets my ire is BWO. Baetids, ok, there are a bunch of them, and they all look reasonably similar. I'm ok with calling them all BWO's. But then you have Drunella Lata. Totally unrelated, and the differences are quite important. It deserves a different name! Calling both groups BWO only serves to confuse people...

Posted on: 2013/8/20 9:53


Re: Help on Mayfly ID

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Quote:

The one that really gets my ire is BWO. Baetids, ok, there are a bunch of them, and they all look reasonably similar. I'm ok with calling them all BWO's. But then you have Drunella Lata. Totally unrelated, and the differences are quite important. It deserves a different name! Calling both groups BWO only serves to confuse people...


To make matters worse, the original in England (where it only refers to one insect) is Serratella ignita, formerly Emphemerella ignita, which looks like (and is related to) a Hendrickson rather than anything baetid. (Picture here). It makes matters very confusing on international forums.

Posted on: 2013/8/20 22:04


Re: Help on Mayfly ID
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When I first started fly fishing and someone would ask me what I caught them on, I would reply something like "a brown bug." Now, I toss a little Latin around.

Posted on: 2013/8/21 9:11
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Re: Help on Mayfly ID

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I thought "tossing a little Latin around" would land you in jail. You must have had a good lawyer.

Posted on: 2013/8/21 11:08
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Re: Help on Mayfly ID

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Question not intended to be entirely smartass: would a BWO fly be the best match for both "olive" bugs listed by Pcray? Likewise would the same Cahill or sulfur fly be as effective for both bugs that are "bastardized" by the same common name?

Posted on: 2013/8/30 5:39


Re: Help on Mayfly ID
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Quote:

sipe wrote:
Question not intended to be entirely smartass: would a BWO fly be the best match for both "olive" bugs listed by Pcray? Likewise would the same Cahill or sulfur fly be as effective for both bugs that are "bastardized" by the same common name?


Yes for both. You really don't need a pattern for each species or sometimes even family of insects. Just try to get the size pretty close to the naturals and have fun!

Posted on: 2013/8/30 7:34


Re: Help on Mayfly ID

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BWO fly yes, as in, the two varieties of bugs are awfully similar in color. So if you were to compare a dun pattern of one vs. a dun pattern of the other, the main difference would be size.

For somebody fishing the 2 hatches, though, that's about where the similarities end. There is far more to fishing a hatch than merely the color of the bug. In fact, I'd say that is one of the least important factors to know about the bug, but unfortunately the most observable.

There's obviously differences in size, time of year, what kind of streams they come off of, etc. There are also real differences regarding what type of habitat they inhabit (riffles vs. pools, etc.), hatching behavior (and hence the effectiveness of nymphs, wets, emergers, floating nymphs, etc. in comparison to just duns). And in the spinner form, the colors are actually quite different, and Drunella actually offers excellent concentrated spinner falls which are worth chasing while the Baetis do not.

Posted on: 2013/8/30 7:46


Re: Help on Mayfly ID

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Likewise, the vitreus sulfur may look like the other sulfurs in size and color, so you could use the dry as the dun for either, except that the vitreus hatches on bottom, and flies off pretty quickly when it reaches the surface, so fishing a dun is likely to be less successful than for the other sulfur, and even there the "regular" sulfur hatches right in the film, and an emerger is likely to be a better choice. Spinner behavior is different, too. The vitreus sulfurs dip their tails into the water to deposit eggs; regular sulfurs drop them from above.

I think it's unfortunate that some insect share their names with fly patterns. I've often suspected that one of the reasons the Adams is such an effective pattern is that there is no insect by that name; it doesn't put anybody in the mind set that it can only be used during one hatch.

FWIW, I've had good luck fishing a yellow X-caddis over both types of sulfurs on occasion. Don't get too hung up on names of flies.

Posted on: 2013/9/2 18:37



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