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LastchanceJuly 26th, 2009, 3:55 pm
Portage, PA

Posts: 437
I was fishing the Little J in Central PA today and a small fly landed on my hand. It looked like a size 20 or 22. It had gray wings, a yellowish body and 3 short little tails about an 1/8 of an inch long. I guess that's a pretty vague description. I was hoping maybe one of you regular visitors to the J might know I saw.
TaxonJuly 27th, 2009, 8:05 am
Site Editor
Royse City, TX

Posts: 1350
Hi Bruce,

Don't qualify as a visitor to the Little J, but if this was late afternoon or early evening, and there was some backwater near where you were, your description sounds to me like a Caenis latipennis female spinner.
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
LastchanceJuly 27th, 2009, 3:53 pm
Portage, PA

Posts: 437
Hi Taxon: Actually, it was in the morning around 11 AM.
TaxonJuly 27th, 2009, 4:19 pm
Site Editor
Royse City, TX

Posts: 1350
Hmm. Time of day doesn't sound right for Caenis, and body color doesn't sound right for Tricorythodes. Perhaps Gonzo or Konchu can solve this puzzle.
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
MartinlfJuly 27th, 2009, 9:00 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
I'm stumped. Three tails for sure?? If it had two there are several good candidates. All I can think of is a very late dorthea, but it seems too late for them on the J. Gonzo is the person to figure this one out.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
GONZOJuly 28th, 2009, 12:53 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681

Did it look like this?
LastchanceJuly 28th, 2009, 4:32 pm
Portage, PA

Posts: 437
Hi Gonzo: My computer may not be showing me the true colors, but it did look like what's on the link. It was a dirty yellow color.
OldredbarnAugust 21st, 2009, 9:20 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608

Just for the fun of it I'm going to chime in here. I think that Taxon was in the right neighborhood with Caenis, but I think it was Caenis hilaris. First because I like the name and second because it's kind of hilarious (get it?) to try and identify a bug from Michigan for a guy in PA.

You had the most important thing correct, primarliy it's size. The next question would be were there any trout sipping them from the surface?

The old guys called them the "Angler's Curse" and lumped anything size 20 and smaller in to this infamous group. Some "oldtimers" ignore anything smaller than a size 14...It may be that psychologically they are compensating for piss poor eye sight. Think Caenis, Pseudocloeon, and Tricos...and the teeny tiny Baetis.

Us anglers...especially those of us on in years were happily seduced by Ernie, Art Flick, Swisher & Richards, and Nastasi & Caucci in to going Latin. The idea was that we could look at a mayfly and identify it to a species level eventhough the "pros" need magnification and stare at the male of the species' reproductive organs. Kind of difficult when midstream.

We learned the fancy names only to have them later change them on us. Some of the species we thought were separate species, we accually tied up different looking flies, have been lumped together as one. How do we explain that one?

Mr. Marinaro introduced us to the "Hidden Hatch"...the Tricos and to hear it told in the romantic literature he discovered them. This isn't true of course, but what the hey! The "old-farts" here in Michigan saw them and basically ignored them or hurled curses at them.

My fishing buddy Willy introduced me to a wonderful little fly, a hundred years ago, known as Pseudocloeon anoka, and you know our click loved saying those words, and lo and behold my tiny green friend changed its name to Plauditus punctiventris...Say that quickly five times. I almost tossed out my old Pseudocloeon patterns from my fly box...I needed to come up with something new for the new kid on the block...Right?!

I want you all to know that I'm just having a little fun here. I'm as addicted to this shit as the rest of us obsessives on this site.

Bruce I think you should maybe forget about what this bug is called. If the Little J is your home-water call the thing "Henry". If you can find some trout that are eating them, go home and tie up 20 dozen in various sahpes and sizes. Maybe a "Henry" nymph, a "Henry" emerger, A thorax tie "Henry", a no-hackle "Henry", don't forget a few "Henry" cripples, and the infamous "Henry" spinner. I wouldn't forget the "Knocked-Down Dun" "Henry", the beadhead nymph "Henry", the Wingless Wet "Henry". And remember to lie when someone asks you what you are taking them on...You can us my favorite response..."I'm fishing a Cornie's Quill!"

Ha! Now let's all take a deep breath, crack open a cold Molson, and prepare for the coming Hockey season...Don't forget the vice and let's tie up some of Bruce's "Henry's"!

Two quick "Lore" stories about those damn small flies and I'll leave you alone.

In 2002 during the Stanley Cup Finals I had one of those rare moments in life where it just couldn't get any better. If you ever experience any of these moments in your life consider yourself very lucky and write it down in your fishing log.

I was staying at Bud's Cabins on the North Branch of the Au Sable river in Lovell's MI. I walked in to town to the "Riverside Tavern"...also called Lovell's Bar and took the best seat in the house to watch the Cup winning game. On my way to the bar I crossed over the Lovell's bridge near where the old Douglas Lodge sits. Henry Ford & Edison use to fish from this Lodge back when the earth was young and Henry owned everything in Michigan.

My Red Wings won the Cup. Imagine this boys and girls...your childhood team has just won it all, you are full of beer, and you are just yards away from the best Brook trout stream in the universe (this last part may be the beer talking).

As soon as the game finished and the boys skated around with the Cup the once jammed bar emptied out in a blink. Myself and another patron decided to play some pool next to the old bear skin hanging on the wall there. The poor fellow looks like he has the mange from fly fishing types snipping bits of hair from his hide.

There is a small window over in that corner of the bar with a neon beer sign in it. I discovered, in my hazy state, that it was crawling with bugs. There was a beautiful little yellowish mayfly there that looked like a dorothea shrunk down 2 or more hook sizes. Think of our view from inside the bar. It was perfect. A trout's eye view. We were looking through the glass at the bottom side of the fly.

Don't you laugh at me! They are used to this sort of weird behavior from angler types in Lovell's...And you know you have done odd things if only someone had filmed it. Think of it from the perspective of some none angler watching you from the shore, all dressed up in your odd outfits, trying to catch some fly rising from the river. The barmaid was cool as long as we weren't hassling the bear skin and kept buying beers and an occasional one for her.

I became a bit obsessed with this little fly. I had seen it before etc. When I got back to Detroit I phoned Willy and he made a smart-assed comment about it being difficult to find fish feeding on these guys from the inside of the bar. I can't honestly say that I have witnessed the hatch, it may happen in the middle of the night, and haven't witnessed any fish feeding that I could say were taking the mystery fly.

I walked back to the cabin on cloud-nine! We won the Cup! I'm in Lovell's! Tomorrow morning...brookies! I think I called the wife from the beat up telephone booth out by the road in front of Bud's..."I love ya baby! My boys won the Cup!!!" "Ok dear...You walked to and from the bar...That was wise...Now get some sleep and don't drown tomorrow...Ok?"

Years earlier same place...Bud's Cabins. The cabins are old log ones and are on the river directly across from the aforementioned Tavern. I wish you all could see the small hatch chart screwed to the wall. It has to of been there since the 40's and mentions the "Curse". I have spent some odd nights on the dock here after some late fishing listening to the band playing in the bar, guys trying to get lucky with some juiced up girl out on the deck behind the bar, and watching the war game light show from the National Guard firing range up there.

I really can't explain the National Guard thing to someone who hasn't really experienced it. Surreal is an understatement. Besides I'm suppose to be talking tiny bugs here!

One late morning I'm sitting inside the screened in porch of my cabin when an angler walks up out of the river heading for his. He stops to say hello and then proceeds to give me his dissertation on his philosophy of fly fishing. "I seldom fish anything smaller than a size 14...This is a 14 paraschute Adams on here and that's about all you need. I believe in big fly big fish. I'll go head to head with anyone...I catch my share of fish! Big fish!"

I pointed to the little mayflies all over the screen...probably the aforementioned Pseudocloeon anoka...excuse me, I mean Plauditus punctiventris. I said to him, "This is what they are taking out there." I had had good daytime fishing using a #24 or #26 grass green Bennicci thread body with a dark dun hackle snipped flat on the bottom...all week. He squinted at the flies on the screen, shook his head, and just muttered..."No way!"

Anyway! I'm sorry about this ramble if anyone actually reads it. I desperatly need an editor! I think the bottom line of all this is an interesting quote I spotted on one of those soft-hackle sites that Mark aka "Softhackle" has graciously directed me to...It's from James Leisenring, "We fish for pleasure; I for mine, you for yours." quote Tom Waits, "You'll find your ignorance is blissfull every god-damn time." Here's wishing that the bug you saw will be the only one, ever... and you won't fall under the "Angler's Curse"!

Tight Lines!


"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

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