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> > Your favorite hatches?

TroutnutAugust 19th, 2006, 11:18 pm
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2736
I'm going to spend a lot of time working on improving the hatch articles on this site over the coming year, drawing from less traditional sources than the angler-entomology books I've mostly already covered. I've got a pretty big library of scientific papers on mayflies to start with.

My question for you is: What species should I start with?

What are your favorite hatches, and which ones do you think are lacking some info you'd like on this website?
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
LitobranchaAugust 22nd, 2006, 3:11 pm
Knoxville TN

Posts: 51
Well Litobrancha recurvata, Hexagenia spp and Ephemera always make Memorial Day in Western North Carolina very interesting. I imagine you have them covered rather well. Apatania hatches are often very heavy, I have collected hundreds standing still with a net in midstream in mid-april. Pycnopsyche is a lot of fun if you can get a good hatch before the leaves get in the water, a big fluffy orange stimulator is all you need.

Been lurking here a while, great site.

GooseSeptember 19th, 2006, 10:22 am
Posts: 77
first of all, i wish we'd all use generic names of the bugs we're talking about along with the biological names. I can never remember them. I guess my favorite hatch is the sulfur because it lasts for about 4 to 6 weeks and I do well with emergers. My second favorite is the trico for the challenge and the fact it comes off when there is plenty of light and time to fish it.
GONZOSeptember 19th, 2006, 11:33 am
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Sorry Goose! It's easy to get carried away with "inside baseball" discussions; but I assure you it is not intended to exclude anyone.

Allow me to translate Litobrancha's post:

Litobrancha recurvata = Dark Green Drake (a wonderful, big, Hex-like hatch that occurs--more or less--in June)

Hexagenia spp. = Hex, Great Olive-Winged Drake, Michigan Caddis, etc. (the giant mayflies that get most Midwestern and some Eastern anglers so excited to be on lake or stream in July and August)

Ephemera = Usually the Green, Brown, and Yellow Drakes; but Lito also has what Schwiebert calls the Medium Pale Sulphur Drake (E. blanda) in his neighborhood. (The Eastern Green Drake is the romantic Memorial Day highlight on many famous PA streams, and the Brown Drake is a transcontinental species that can share their hatching period where they overlap.)

Apatania = Early Smoky Wing Sedge (a little grey-brown caddisfly that emerges in early spring, sometimes alongside Quill Gordons and Blue Quills)

Pycnopsyche = Giant Red Sedge, Great Brown Autumn Sedge, etc. (a big orange-brown Eastern caddisfly that hatches in the fall when little else is around)

I hope that helps (and I hope that Lito doesn't mind). Thanks for keeping us from wading too deeply!

PS. . . My favorites are the Olive Morning Dun, which is my name for D. lata (cornuta); the Yellow Quill/Pink Lady (E. vitreus); and the Slate Drake (I. bicolor). When they all emerge on a late May or early June day, I'm in piscatorial heaven.
TroutnutSeptember 19th, 2006, 11:54 am
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2736
Hey Goose,

It's a bit confusing to use the common names, because most bugs have several common names (and most common names, like sulphur, apply to several bugs). I've got an article on this site, In Defense of Latin Names, which goes into more detail on why I like to use the scientific names.

I realize most people don't know them, which is why I made the prey library part of the site use both. I think people in the forums are likely to use an mix of the names, which will be a bit confusing, but that's how things go. I'll try to mention both whenever it's suitable.

One other problem is that sometimes we're talking about species that don't really have any common name. Lots of hatches are like that.

Eventually the scientific names just kinda rub off. I learned them first and they seem easier to me... the words are a little bigger but keeping track of which thing is which is a lot less confusing.

Gonzo -- thanks for the translation here!
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
GooseSeptember 20th, 2006, 7:50 am
Posts: 77I understand the dilema, guys. I do know some of the Latin names, but I begin to get them confused. I'll keep reading and learning. I know what you mean, though, sulfurs here in West-Central, PA, are different than in other part fo the East and West. When I speak to someone here about them they immediately know that I'm talking about a bug that's most likely a 16 or 18. And, depending on the exact stream or river, it can range in color from dirty yellow to an orange. I beginning to think that color probably isn't that important. I think the size and shapes of an imitation is the most important.Thanks
TroutnutSeptember 20th, 2006, 9:08 am
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2736
Sulphurs/sulfurs also vary in size/color with the time of year, because pretty much every location gets several different species of them each year. Apart from size and color, they also have different hatching behavior, which can be important (some are best for wet flies, some emergers, some dries).

Dozens if not hundreds of mayfly species are around size 16-18 with yellow or orange bodies. I can't identify many of them myself to anything more specific than the family level, but sometimes that's all you need to make an educated guess about fly choice.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
SofthackleSeptember 21st, 2006, 9:09 am
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
May brings out the Ephemerella dorothea about the same time as the sulphurs(Epeorus vitrea). Most fisherman do not distinguish between the two, calling both "sulphurs". On my home water, the Genesee, I find the dorotheas to have a distinct orange cast near the rear of the body. To me, the sulphurs are more pale yellow-green. My artistic training, I guess, makes colors more distinguishable to me. I note color differences. I also have found that trout in the river also distinguish between the two. The dorotheas are my favorite.

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders:
GONZOSeptember 21st, 2006, 10:26 am
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Hi Mark,

Well, that's two votes for E. vitreus (which is the preferred spelling for entomological nitpickers). I like to refer to this hatch as Yellow Quill/Pink Lady to avoid confusion with the Ephemerella "sulphurs"--but that's just the common name problem again.

You're right that the vitreus males usually have a greenish cast, but the larger females (Pink Ladies) often have a pinkish-orange color to the abdomen (I'm an artist, too :)). Size is usually enough to distinguish them from dorothea--typically #12-16 for vitreus and #16-20 for dorothea (in waters with heavy populations, both species tend to get progressively smaller as the hatching period proceeds). Of course, the more definitive clue is that Epeorus vitreus duns/spinners have two tails and Ephemerella dorothea adults have three.

You can sometimes have success with a compromise dry-fly pattern during concurrent hatches (like a #14-16 "sulphur" parachute, for example), but the main reason for distinguishing between the two is to match their emergence traits. While dorothea sometimes emerges slightly subsurface, most anglers match the emergers with a nymph or emerger in the film. The vitreus emergence, on the other hand, is almost entirely subsurface, with anything from a classic wet-fly (like a Pale Watery Dun, Pink Wickham's Fancy, or Little Marryat) to modern vitreus emergers scoring heavily.

Personally, I'm partial to vitreus because it often seems to attract the attention of larger fish than dorothea. But I agree, when you hit it right, both hatches rock!
GooseSeptember 21st, 2006, 11:31 am
Posts: 77Gonzo! Am I right in saying the E. Vitreous is the first and larger of the two emphemerlla's to hatch and are a pale yellow color, and the dorothea is the smaller of the two and is a little more orangish? Trying to become more proficient in the language.
TroutnutSeptember 21st, 2006, 11:47 am
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2736
I think we've got some confusion with the letter E. :)

E. vitreus is Epeorus vitreus, a mayfly in the Heptageniidae family with a body shape kind of like a march brown.

E. dorothea is Ephemerella dorothea, in the Ephemerellidae family. If you're thinking of the first and larger Ephemerella sulphur, you probably want Ephemerella invaria.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
GONZOSeptember 21st, 2006, 11:58 am
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Ditto. Ephemerella invaria(about#14-16) usually starts as a late afternoon/early evening hatch around mid-Mayish (in PA). Ephemerella dorothea(#16-20) typically follows around the end of the month and is more of a dusk-to-dark hatch due to warmer water temperature. Epeorus vitreus can overlap both, usually starting in late May (PA).

PS . . . Goose, in many older references you will also see Ephemerella rotunda listed as a kind of sister "early sulphur" species. They are now considered to be the same--E. invaria.
SofthackleSeptember 24th, 2006, 1:17 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Hi again,
On the Genny, Epeorus vitreus (Schwiebert has vitrea) and Ephemerella dorothea both hatch around the end of May. Invaria looks more like Ephemerella subvaria-Hendrickson,no?

At any rate, my success comes from my soft-hackle tie Lil' Dorothy. I fish this and a sulphur colored fly very similar to this I call a Sulphur soft-hackle. I have to alternate between these because I often find both flies hatching at once. I find that if one does not work, the other usually does.

link for photo:

Hook: Standard wet fly sizes 12-16
Thread: pale yellow or cream
Hackle: pale ginger hen
Abdomen: One strand of embroidery thread(floss) color # 722
Thorax: Lt. Cahill Hareline dubbing

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders:
TroutnutSeptember 24th, 2006, 3:41 pm
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2736
Invaria looks more like Ephemerella subvaria-Hendrickson,no?

Yeah, that's right. The body type is quite different from Epeorus.

That's a good-looking wet fly in the picture. I like the translucency of the body.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist

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