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March Brown?

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2013/2/16 0:51
From Northern VA
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Is this a march brown? Saw a bunch of them today on a Lancaster county native brookie stream. One was even bigger than this one. There was also a smaller mayfly with more of a reddish brown body...had one in my hand but he flew away just before i got a pic.

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Posted on: 4/21 0:10


Re: March Brown?
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The timing of this makes me think it cannot be March Brown or "Grey Fox" the bastage brother species. Yet, I cannot think of, nor have time to research what other species would match your image. It would not be out of the realm of Mother Nature's powers to have an aberrant MB individual hatch this time of year. But if you saw more than a few of these, I would even less suspect MB as the culprit. One problem with a positive ID is going to be the number of tails, which cannot be determined from your pictures.

Posted on: 4/21 7:15

Edited by JackM on 2014/4/21 7:48:44
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Re: March Brown?

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It sure looks like a March Brown. I wouldn't worry about the lack of being able to see the tails; from the "arm bands" on the front legs, it's almost certainly a heptagenid of some sort (the family that includes March Browns.) They all have two tails.

In normal year, it's not too early for March Browns, at least here in MD. They start after the Hendricksons are done and before the sulfurs start -- i.e. right about now. This year, who knows.

Posted on: 4/21 8:25


Re: March Brown?

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hehe, yeah, 0 tails. That narrows it to.....

Looks like a March Brown to me. Certainly maccafertium genus. The other members of the genus are cahills and typically come AFTER MB's. I'm never 100% sure. But I'm pretty sure here that you have a MB.

Posted on: 4/21 8:25


Re: March Brown?

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Thanks for the replies. I can ID bwos, sulfurs, tricos, some caddis, stones, and midges...still learning the other ones! I also thought it was early for MBs. Although based on the name I guess one could easily think march browns hatch in march...

Posted on: 4/21 13:11
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Re: March Brown?

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2006/9/11 13:33
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Quote:

sarce wrote:
....I guess one could easily think march browns hatch in march...


But they're still MAYflies.

Posted on: 4/21 14:36
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Re: March Brown?

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Mccaffertium vicarium. March Brown.

Posted on: 4/21 14:38


Re: March Brown?

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Of the ones you mentioned, well, tricos are easy.

The rest:

BWO: At least a dozen different varieties that most experts can't tell apart. Most of us settle for Baetis or Drunella. i.e. 2 different families.

Sulpher: 2 "main" types of sulpher, which are frequently distinguished based on slight size and color differences. There are 4 or 5 other bugs which some people call sulphers, though, but they are not the "core" sulpher hatch or are generally known by other names to most.

Midges: There's a whole bunch of them and I don't even try! Knowing that it's a midge and adding size and color is as far as I go. You could probably learn more specifics like we do with mayflies, and it might help sometimes, but it would be real tough to identify them.

Caddis: I'm deficient here too. I mean, I know it's a caddis, and know the MAJOR hatches of various varieties. But when you see the random one fluttering around I've just got no clue. Species is probably more important in the pupa stage as they build different kinds of casings in the water.

Stones: Again, they all act similarly, just look way different. So I know little black, big golden, etc. Of goldens, though, I have played a little with trying to identify species based on the patterning. Not sure it does a whole lot.

Generally with mayflies knowing the differences mean more. For instance, in sulphers, the 2 main ones are ephemerella dorothea and invaria, which are closely related and act similarly. Many can still tell them apart from one another but it often doesn't matter. But Epeorus Vitreus (AKA Pink Lady) is called a sulpher by many and in a totally different family. They do look similar to invaria. But the differences ARE important.

For instance,

1. Ephemerella species typically emerge from slowish water. Epeorus from fast water.
2. Ephemerella swim to the surface as nymphs, transform slowly in the film, and float a while before flying. i.e. emergers and dries are much more important, and floating a nymph in the film can be ridiculously successful. Epeorus transforms on the bottom and "flies" to the surface as an adult, and gets through the film and takes flight quickly. i.e. wet flies take more priority during a hatch.

That's a pretty big difference. If you see a hatch is beginning, catch a bug, and identify it, it totally changes what you do next. Where you go, what you try, etc. There's nothing wrong with saying "eh, it's about a size 14 and yellowish orange", and lots of successful anglers do just that. But don't be fooled into thinking identifying the actual species is just for showing off and won't really help you catch fish. I don't think a fish cares too much if your orangish yellow is a hair too dark. But it does matter whether you're in the pool or the riffle, and using a dry, emerger, wet, or nymph.

There are similar differences between Baetis and Drunella variety BWO's. But there are a million Baetis types and knowing the differences between them is less important, they are all closely related and look and act similarly. But if it's a Drunella, that's a different ball game altogether.


Posted on: 4/21 16:38


Re: March Brown?

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One of the perplexing things to me is the timing. Not like we had mild weather in this region.

Then again, man knows only a certain amount about the insect world, not everything. There is a stream in NC PA that has a good population of a particular mayfly, while in my experience regarding the other streams in that region, I have not come across them in significant numbers.

Posted on: 4/21 22:28


Re: March Brown?

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Not sure why you're perplexed on timing.

It's late April, i.e. time for March Browns. I'd say their peak, on streams like Penns, is the last week of April and first week of May.

And this was in Lancaster County, where they come earlier.

It's just a reminder to me that dang, hatch season moves fast. I'm not even in hatch mode and holy heck, we're at March Brown time!!!!

Posted on: 4/22 7:37


Re: March Brown?
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+1^

Think of most hatches in terms of a bell curve. The hatch usually starts off very slow with a few insects hatching here and there, building to a peak at the height of the hatch, and tailing off at the end with a few stragglers coming off here and there at the end.

For a hatch to be "good" from the perspective of a FFer, it has to coincide with decent flows and water temps for the fish to be feeding on them.

High water will most times discourage fish from rising since it takes a lot of energy to fight the current. And cold water temps make the trout lethargic since they are cold blooded and cold temps slow down their metabolism.

Anyway, it sounds like the bugs are just getting started, hopefully the fish will be on them with the flows getting back to normal in most streams. We could use a good warmup to get things moving.

Last year, during the Jam, everything came together and both the bugs and fish were active. One can only hope.

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Posted on: 4/22 7:58


Re: March Brown?

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I expect sulpher hatches and March Brown spinners. i.e. good bug conditions. Stream conditions remain TBD.

Posted on: 4/22 10:56


Re: March Brown?

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I'll say judging by the limited size relationship of the fingertip I'm going to say it's way too early this year for a March Brown and it's more likely a Quill Gordon. Even during early springs Gordons are still hatching on the more northern streams well into may.
What region did you find this fly in?

Posted on: 4/30 7:42
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Re: March Brown?

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Quote:

Chaz wrote:
more likely a Quill Gordon.


QG's don't have "stained glass window" wings; March Browns do.

Posted on: 4/30 7:49


Re: March Brown?

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Good point, I never really looked at the wings. I don't expect March browns until the third and fourth week of May when they hatch in my area.

Posted on: 4/30 7:58
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