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Taeniopteryx Tuesday or … hope is in the air
Even though we are in the middle of some foul weather, hope is in the air! Quite literally. You may have noticed some size 12-14 stoneflies flitting about on nicer days. These guys are in Genus Taeniopteryx (pronounced teeny-op’-terix – which is one of the most fun scientific names to say). Also known as the little brown stone or as one of the winter stoneflies. These guys belong to a group of stoneflies that do most of their growth and development over the winter rather than the more pleasant summer. This allows them to hatch early – often when there is still snow on the ground. We’ve seen the adults around the shop and the nymphs while sampling streams.
The adults are distinctive in that they are dark (the better to absorb the warming rays of the sun) and roll their wings over their body – rather than holding them flat over their body like many stoneflies. The nymphs are very distinctive in that they are decent sized, often have a whitish stripe down their back, and their wing cases are triangular shaped, sticking out from their body. The nymphs also swim- not great, but they do their best, with a seductive side to side wiggle.
Unfortunately, while they give hope for things to come, I’ve never had great luck imitating them. The water is still really, really cold (I know, I have a hole in my waders) and the fish are pretty sluggish. The nymphs swim to the shore where they crawl out to molt into an adult, so slowly swimming a nymph right in front of the nose of a trout might be effective. While they make me want to fish a dark dry stonefly imitation – that is complete fantasy.
Soon though, the water will warm and the trout will be active. And if the early brown stones are still around I’ll try them, or, more likely, other critters will start hatching as well. In the meantime, stay warm, stay safe, and fix your waders.