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Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons

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There will be a lot learned from this project. There will be a wealth of valuable information gleaned from your study. I'm looking forward to your reports. GG

Posted on: 12/26 12:26
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Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons

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My wife did what the OP described for years as part of her job in the SEPA counties. I ask her what flies I should take for what streams, nice little resource.

Posted on: 12/27 8:29


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons

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Quote:

troutbert wrote:
It sounds like an interesting study.

Is there a particular question or questions that you're hoping to answer? What is it that you are trying to find out?





"I enjoy seining for aquatic insects. This year, I think I'll try to make this a bit more systematic and allow for comparison through different seasons."

He likes seining.

And is hoping to compare insects across seasons. Phrased in the form of a question - how does the aquatic nymph life vary over seasons in a given stream?


Posted on: 12/28 22:28


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons
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Okay, I have completed my sampling for January. Due to some issues, I have switched out Falling Springs and replaced it with Letort and switched out Big Hunting Creek and replaced it with Conococheague. Of course, this still covers the intent of sampling the three different categories: limestoner, semi-limestoner, and freestoner ( I am sampling some other creeks as well, but this thread will have to be limited to these three waterways).

The results were somewhat predictable but interesting nevertheless. In particular, the number of nymphs turned up was higher than I anticipated for this time of year.

Anyway, when I get the photos and numbers together, I'll post the results shortly.

Posted on: 1/26 14:59


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons
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A few general observations about what I have seen this January: Again, these surveys are done by kick seining in roughly equivalent riffles with mixed gravel and cobble rock. The counts reflect basic species. I did not try to identify specific species but careful observation reveals March Browns, Slate Drakes, Hendricksons, Sulphers, and Perlid stones. I made no attempt to document size, but the photos of the bugs do provide some basic information on size which will allow for comparison later in the year. For all the streams, note the small size of many of the nymphs (except stoneflies) and also of note is the more prevalent amount of green caddis vs brown ones. I was surprised at the relative lack of midge larva at all locations.

The surveyed section of Breeches is mid river and the large number of macros reflects the limestone influence but also rich, somewhat warmer, downstream section. Yellow Breeches was very impressive and the only stream that produced more mayfly nymphs than caddis larva. Breeches reputation as a bug factory is clearly well deserved! Water temp on the day of the survey was 43 degrees F.

For Letort, not surprisingly, the overwhelming biomass was cress bugs. Scuds were much fewer but seemed to me to be somewhat larger on average. Note also the light color and relatively small size of the Letort cress bugs. Only two mayflies turned up in Letort and no caddis or stoneflies. Water temp was 50 degrees.

Conococheague is a freestone stream that, like many that originate up on South Mountain, leans toward the acidic side and holds wild brook trout in the headwaters. The section surveyed is off the mountain, but upstream from Chambersburg and is mainly a stocked fishery. Compared to Breeches, it seems a lot less fertile and the rocks were polished and lacking the typical vegetation that holds so many macros on the mixed limestoners. Nevertheless, it produced a good number of bugs, including a giant Pteronarcys salmonfly, a species I don’t see often in my bug surveys. Water temp was 39 degrees.

Here are the bug counts for January:
CONOCOCHEAGUE:
Mayflies: 7
Caddis: 11
Stoneflies: 2
Scuds and Cress Bugs: 0
Aquatic Worms: 2

YELLOW BREECHES:
Mayflies: 48
Caddis: 6
Stoneflies: 1
Scuds: 6
Cress Bugs: 0
Several midge larva

LETORT:
Mayflies: 2
Caddis: 0
Stoneflies: 0
Scuds: 19
Cress Bugs: 134
Midge Larva: 2

I'll return to the same riffles in April, we'll repeat the process, and see how things look.



Attach file:



jpg  Cono Jan 4.JPG (138.88 KB)
13138_588ab493330f7.jpg 450X468 px

jpg  YB Jan1.JPG (115.25 KB)
13138_588ab4a62243c.jpg 500X375 px

jpg  2 Letort Jan.JPG (141.26 KB)
13138_588ab4b8078e2.jpg 550X349 px

Posted on: 1/26 21:48


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons
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Dave,

I find this survey as well as as future ones very interesting.

Thanks for your efforts.

I am interested to see the size of most macros, mayflies in particular, grow to bigger specimens in the spring when they are near their hatching stage. And in summer pretty much not be present in the egg stage or be very tiny.

Looking forward to the next survey in the spring.

Posted on: 1/27 7:13


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons

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Nice job, Dave. Very interesting, but obviously somewhat predictable results. Nice photos as well. This will be fun to watch as the seasons roll on.

Posted on: 1/27 15:52


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons

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Wow that is really interesting. For me I am still learning to identify the macro categories so this is really, really, really valuable. Also makes me think that I may want to add a few more mayfly nymph patterns to the box if I hit the breeches next week.

It is amazing how big the stoneflies are relative to everything else.

Posted on: 1/27 22:15


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons

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The scuds in the "middle" stretches of the Breeches is interesting and kind of surprising. In a good way.





Posted on: 1/27 22:44


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons
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Quote:

troutbert wrote:
The scuds in the "middle" stretches of the Breeches is interesting and kind of surprising. In a good way.



Indeed.
Moreover, the numbers of scuds in Breeches this month (April) is even higher and I think they're a bit larger too. I was really surprised how many turned up today.

Posted on: 4/30 17:03


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons
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I have completed re-surveying these spots this month (April).

Of note: all three streams showed dramatic increases in macro biomass since January - considerably more so than I expected. There were a few surprises too.

I'll get the numbers and photos together shortly and we can compare them with the last survey.

Posted on: 4/30 17:03


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons

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Very interesting stuff! Thanks!

Posted on: 5/2 19:02
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Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons
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Here are the bug counts for April:
CONOCOCHEAGUE:
Mayflies:18
Caddis: 14
Stoneflies: 2
Scuds and Cress Bugs: 0
Aquatic Worms: 1
Two midge larvae

YELLOW BREECHES:
Mayflies:78
Caddis:1
Stoneflies: 0
Scuds:44
Cress Bugs: 1
One crayfish

LETORT:
Mayflies: 13
Caddis: 5
Stoneflies: 0
Scuds: 27
Cress Bugs: 210
Other: 0

Posted on: 5/2 22:00


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons
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looking at Breeches, note that mayflies in the same riffle went from 48 (in January) to 78 (April) and scuds went from 6 to 44! Only caddis dropped from winter to springtime, from 6 down to 1.

On Conococheague, note that mayflies more than doubled, 18 (Apr)up from 7 (Jan). Caddis, stoneflies and worms stayed about the same.

For Letort, Mayflies rose from 2 (Jan) to 13 (Apr). Scuds were a bit higher in April, but cress bugs, interestingly, jumped from 134 (Jan) up to an astonishing 210 (Apr). There were also 5 caddis nymphs in April whereas there had been none in January. Letort isn't known for caddisflies, but clearly they are there. No stoneflies in Letort (so far).

With respect to size - while I did not take measurements - a cursory glance suggested to me that mayflies were indeed larger as were scuds and cress bugs. Stoneflies and caddis, on the other hand, seemed to be about the same. In Breeches in particular, mayflies were bigger on average and it seemed that there were more March Browns and they were the biggest in this stream. The MB nymphs in YB did not have noticeably dark wingcases.

On Letort, the mayfly nymphs were slightly larger, and were very dark (overall, not just wingcases).

Stoneflies showed little change but the biggest surprise was that a large Pteronarcys stonefly nymph turned up again in Conococheague. Since this is a rare bug (at least in my surveys) and this was the exact same spot in the same riffle, I assumed that perhaps I'd caught the same bug as I'd caught in January. The size and color were the same. However, I decided to conduct a couple more seine kicks in the same riffle and, lo and behold, I got another smaller Pteronarcys along with several Perlid golden stones that I didn't get in the counted survey. I think it is safe to say that Pteronarcys salmonflies are prevalent in that riffle.

Posted on: 5/2 22:21


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons
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Here are pics of some of the bugs for April.

Note the generally dark color of the mayflies in Letort. Also note the prevalent and fairly large March Browns in Breeches.

Attach file:



jpg  Letort April.JPG (140.50 KB)
13138_590942bb05eca.jpg 400X384 px

jpg  Y. Breeches April.JPG (124.01 KB)
13138_590942ca37f84.jpg 400X326 px

jpg  Conoche April.JPG (72.21 KB)
13138_590942d291e76.jpg 400X338 px

Posted on: 5/2 22:39



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