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The Specimen

Maccaffertium ithaca (Light Cahill) Mayfly DunMaccaffertium ithaca (Light Cahill) Mayfly Dun View 6 PicturesBased on the identical size, shape, and relative proportions of different body parts, I'm pretty sure this dun is of the same species as two spinners I collected at about the same time. The color is dramatically different, but that's to be expected with many of these species in the transition from dun to spinner.
Collected June 7, 2007 from the West Branch of the Delaware River in New York
Added to by on June 8, 2007

The Discussion

DryflyJune 5th, 2010, 2:26 pm
rochester mn

Posts: 133
Do Cahills ever come off in enough numbers for a rise to occur? Around here, they trickle off annoyingly, and never get much trout attention.I am wondering about this, cause I saw some spinners at a DQ last night. Are they ever real important?
GONZOJune 5th, 2010, 2:43 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
The name "Cahill" covers a lot of ground, but I have sometimes seen Stenacron and a few of the Maccaffertium Cahills emerge in sufficient numbers to bring the trout up. You're right though, they frequently just trickle out or their significance can be overshadowed by other, more numerous mayflies. However, the spinner falls can often be another story. I've had great--though usually brief--fishing to the spinners (mostly on freestone streams).
VinlflyfishJune 5th, 2010, 3:51 pm
northern cambria

Posts: 42
did u ever fish black lick creek or the north branch of the sesquhana in clear field and nicktown and are those considered in the cahill territorie

trout; a mans best friend
GONZOJune 5th, 2010, 5:19 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Hi Vinnie,

No and yes, respectively. Cahill territory (at least in the sense intended here) is pretty much most of the Eastern and Midwestern US. Some variety of Stenacron or Maccaffertium mayfly will almost certainly be found in the waters you mention. They are common in both coldwater and warmwater streams.

The name "Cahill" refers most specifically to a series of fly patterns developed around a fly originally named for Dan Cahill--usually with "Light" or "Dark" (or some other adjective) attached to the name. Less specifically, the names are used by fly fishers to refer to a whole host of mayfly species (mostly heptageniids) that somewhat resemble the flies.
VinlflyfishJune 5th, 2010, 5:23 pm
northern cambria

Posts: 42
oh ok so like light cahills so were do u fish
trout; a mans best friend
OldredbarnJune 7th, 2010, 11:09 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608
Nice try Vinnie! I thought I heard it get really quiet in here when you asked Lloyd where he fishes...:) It's probably as old as fly-fishing itself to hold your secret spots close to your chest and the co-ordinates to fishing holes are only shared with your close and most trusted angling friends after they have crossed themselves and signed in blood never to share the info on fear of losing their first born or favorite rod and we all know here which one would go first, right?!

We were all hoping that you might pull it off...Especially those trout chasers in PA.

I had a friend that owned a popular fly shop and the so-called fly-fishing cognoscente would gather there every morning over coffee looking to glean some info on where to go and what was coming off. A desparate crowd really. It was similar to guys in other situations like hockey locker rooms or the Teamster driving room I worked in as I worked my way through the university in Detroit. If you had a thin skin you were in the wrong room.

You had to make sure that you didn't get sucked up in the excitement of the moment and spill your beans or you would run in to everyone you saw that morning standing in your honey-hole later that night.

My friend had a young son that was just getting to that age, pretty close to your own, where he wanted really badly to be part of this mixture of testostorone and got carried away one morning after things had reached a bit of a fevered pitch.

"I fished with my dad last night and we caught some nice fish!" he said out-loud...The room went stone cold quiet since his pop was considered "The Guy" on the river and everyone was nearly wetting themselves in hopes that they could exploit this naive little fella.

"You did? Someone said..."Where were you exactly?"

"I think we were on the South Branch."

"Oh...Where on the South Branch? Could you be a little more specific?" Said the Big Bad Wolf...

The young man turned to his dad behind the counter, who was starring
right at him at this point with his arms folded accross his chest..."Dad...Where did we fish last night?"

"On the South Branch son..."

"I know dad but where on the South Branch?"

"We were on the South Branch!" he finally said and the air went out of the place...Oh well we thought...It was worth a try, eh?!

You never know Vinnie when you might catch him with his guard down and you might get lucky...Don't count on it though, Gonzo's played the same game before himself and he has won a round or two.


"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
DryflyJune 7th, 2010, 1:41 pm
rochester mn

Posts: 133
Spence is right, whenever someone asks me If I caught any my standard reply is "a few." Sometimes I'll spin up a story about a flood or chemical spill or soemthing else, and then direct them away from "my" spot. Fisherman aren't necessarily an honest bunch. :)
MartinlfJune 10th, 2010, 10:31 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
Fisherman aren't necessarily an honest bunch.

That would have to go in the understatement of the year thread.

And in the best quotes [sic.] thread, too. (or, the "best quotations thread" -- if it were retitled for the Stuffy English Professors Club members)

"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
OldredbarnJune 10th, 2010, 10:55 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608

Over the years I have tried to help out nephews and got them involved with my other obsession ice hockey. When they were young they always seemed a little afraid to get involved with the rough stuff that's part of the game. Uncle Spence would tell them that they are not playing chess and the rough stuff is part of the game. I told them about my love of "trash-talk" on the ice and that occassionally it led to uncle Spence getting his clock cleaned a few times.

I would then tell them that after a game I played where there was some sort of scrum I would walk up to the other party after the game and shake his hand and I always said "good game fella". While we were playing hockey within the confines of the boards we played hockey and outside of the boards that rough stuff isn't part of the game.

I think among us anglers, "Fisherman aren't necessarily an honest bunch. :)" is the same thing...Not always telling the truth and doing it with a little smile on our faces...It's just part of the deal.

We aren't going to give away the store and you and I or other anglers know when we are zooming each other abit and it's part of the fun...It's part of the game.

Shane. My fishing buddy and I would love it when someone would float by in a canoe or something and you know they don't know anything about fly fishing and then ask, "What they biting on?" We used to go out of our way recalling the most obscure flies from a bygone era and answer back, "Oh. I'm just using a Cornine's Quill" or some such...Maybe even rattle off the scientific name for giggles...Sometimes a young couple would float by and the girlfriend would be in the front looking good, but having a bad time, as she's swatting away hatching may fly duns...I used to say to her as they cruised by..."Oh be careful there! They have one hell of a bite!"

"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
LastchanceJune 10th, 2010, 11:20 am
Portage, PA

Posts: 437
I would never divulge my "good" spot to anyone but very close friends. On the other hand, I will gladly go out of my way to help a young person learn about the sport. I direct them to a decent part of the stream, tell them what flies are working for me, and even give them several to fish. One time on Spring Creek, my buddy and I came upon this young guy and he started asking us questions about fly fishing. We tried to answer all his questions and give him some advice. We filled up an empty snuff can with about 50 flies that worked on the stream. He was smiling ear to ear. Young people are the future of oour sport. Now, if I see that a guy is an experienced fisherman and just prodding me for some inside advice, I just smile and say, "it ain't so much what your fishin' but how you're fishin.'"
MartinlfJune 10th, 2010, 12:55 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
Some have remarked on my unusual grimaces when I'm fishing. I explain to them that when I was young, fishing right next to my Uncle John, I sometimes caught nothing while his bobber seemed to go under under every minute, like clockwork. I would ask him, "Uncle John, why aren't I catching any? What am I doing wrong?" His inevitable reply still rings in my ears . . . "Boy, you ain't holding your mouth right."

I have had occasion to use the phrase myself. Though typically only on good fishing buddies.

And some have returned the favor.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
OldredbarnJune 10th, 2010, 12:56 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608

Rusty Gates up in Grayling at the Gates' Au Sable Lodge used to ask the guys to donate those little tins that held Altoids, I think they are called. He would clean them out and did some pretty cool exterior paint jobs on them. He would tuck them behind the counter and everytime someone stopped in or was staying there and they had a youngster in tow...He gave them this tin with a couple "secret" flies and the kids ate it up...

If they actually caught a fish with one...They were hooked, pardon the pun...You know they loved having their own special Rusty Gates made fly box.

"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
LastchanceJune 10th, 2010, 3:53 pm
Portage, PA

Posts: 437
That's a great story and gesture.

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