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This topic is about the Mayfly Family Baetidae

"These little critters supplant the importance of many other well-known mayfly hatches."

-Fred Arbona in Mayflies, the Angler, and the Trout


Arbona did not overestimate these critters. Their great numbers and multiple broods each season make up for their size, which is rarely larger than size 16 and often smaller than size 20.

Hardly mentioned in angling literature prior to the middle of the last century, baetids have become increasingly important to anglers, rivaling any other family of mayflies in this regard. This is largely due to the extension of fishing seasons that now include the early and late periods when this family’s species usually dominate hatching activity. Another important reason is the tremendous improvement in tackle allowing more practical imitation of these little mayflies. The dramatic ecological changes in many of our watersheds and the subsequent impact this has had on the makeup of taxa populations is also a factor.

Taxonomically speaking, this is a most unruly family. The entomological community seems to be perpetually reclassifying its genera and species to the chagrin of many anglers. These changes are not capricious. The reason is older nomenclatures haven't provided the taxonomic flexibility required as more becomes known about the complexities of baetid relationships. Classification of this family’s genera and species is very much a work in progress. The changes have been so extensive that it is beyond the scope of this hatch page to track the taxonomic history effectively without interjecting even more confusion. If you are frustrated by the inability to find some of the old familiar names, you're not alone. Rest assured these popular hatches are listed here, just under the latest classifications. The old famous names are referenced in their hatch pages.

Common baetid hatches with a national distribution are the species Acentrella turbida, Baetis brunneicolor, and Baetis tricaudatus. In the West, Baetis bicaudatus, Diphetor hageni and Plauditus punctiventris can also be common. In the East and the Midwest, look for Baetis intercalaris and Plauditus dubius. The species Iswaeon anoka is important in both the West and Midwest. Some of the Procloeon and Anafroptilum (prev. Centroptilum) species are coming to the increasing notice of anglers across the country.

Stillwater anglers are likely to run across Callibaetis ferrugineus ferrugineus in the East and Midwest. Western anglers will find Callibaetis californicus and Callibaetis ferrugineus hageni to be very important.

Streamside identification of these mayflies to specific and often even generic level has always been difficult. This is now even more so as new taxonomic evidence has shown hind wing conformation (or lack of hind wings) and other features are less dependable as ways to tell the genera apart. Many of the lesser-known species probably produce excellent local hatches but have not caught enough attention to be properly recognized by anglers. The lesson is that we should not assume anything about the identity of many Baetidae hatches we come across; they may not even be in the Baetis genus, let alone familiar species. Read more...

There are 80 more specimens...

The Discussion

OldredbarnNovember 8th, 2010, 12:06 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Paul,

I was looking at your float tube and I think I see a small GPS unit on it...You are unrelenting mister! Those fish must quake all up and down the shoreline when they see you coming! It reminds me of that stocked pond I have mentioned before...On the day when you are allowed to keep them it's a killing field...I saw two young boys once with a small row boat and a fish finder on it...You could call across this pond...Where did they think they were hiding? Maybe we need to give the ones with the pea brain a sporting chance!? :) Maybe fish with our eyes closed or one arm tied behind our backs.

Spence
"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
PaulRobertsNovember 8th, 2010, 6:43 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
It's sonar with GPS. My wife chided me when I put sonar on my tube. "Isn't that kind of cheating?" "No." I said "You are WAY overestimating what sonar can do."

Sonar is much less about finding fish as it is about finding fish habitat. In shallow water, like in a trout stream, where you can see bottom and/or read current and fish/prey activity, this is much easier. But on deeper stillwaters, viewing that world in 2 dimensions is way too limiting. I like to know my waters and what's going on down there where the action is. I'll take all the information I can get.

Think of it this way: Imagine deer or rabbit hunting in which you are not allowed to see the lay of the land. Fishing is really the same. One of the first, and costly, mistakes novices make is in believing that the magic is in the lure in and of itself. It's not, it's in an appropriate well presented lure matched to particulars of the lay of the land unseen below you. A similar error lies in the all-too-common "chuck-n-wind" mentality, in which the angler casts hoping the fish will find the lure, rather than realizing how limited a mature fish's attack range normally is, how important structure and cover can be to a fish's attack strategy, and then your getting the right lure right there in the right manner.

Sonar is just a habitat finding tool, it doesn't catch the fish for you. And I do get my butt kicked on occasion. The fish have real estate as well as conditions in their corner much of the time. My job is to pare down real estate and read and adapt to conditions. Fascinating game.
OldredbarnNovember 9th, 2010, 7:54 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Sonar is much less about finding fish as it is about finding fish habitat. In shallow water, like in a trout stream, where you can see bottom and/or read current and fish/prey activity, this is much easier. But on deeper stillwaters, viewing that world in 2 dimensions is way too limiting. I like to know my waters and what's going on down there where the action is. I'll take all the information I can get.


Paul,

Sounds a little like a boy rationalizing his need for toys...:)Just between you and me and not our wives...

My fishing friend Bill and I ice fish from time-to-time. When we first started, according to Bill, "real men don't need a shanty! We are out here in the elements just enjoying nature and that brisk breeze." Bone chilling cold was more like it!

Well Mr B has a real short memory from time-to-time and the next year we were out there in his new portable shanty...So warm inside you had to remove your coat...

The following year he had one of those fish cams that he's dangling down it the hole, a reverse periscope kind of thing, looking for fish...I said, "Willy! You got to be kidding me! Hell...I have a couple stump busters here in my pocket and we can get this thing over with toot-sweet! Fish like dem old Finlanders up in the UP, eh?! We don't need no stinking camera! We are real men here. Don't you remember Mr. Natural?!" I'm afraid to see what he may have this winter...Something to pick up satelite signals on fish movements, no doubt. NASA & NOAA will be telling us when we need to head out to the stream...What ever happened to the old solonar tables or whatever they were called? Can't fish today boys the barometric table says nay...Off to the bar with us then!

Do you remember Tom Lehrer? "Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky is his name, eh!" Do you remember this? I don't know why this popped in to my brain just now...Must of just lost a couple old brain cells or something...They just flared out and that was it..."So it goes." Maybe this is for the "Bug Boys"...I don't know.

"Plagerize!
Let no one else's work evade your eyes
Remember why the good Lord made your eyes
So don't shade your eyes
But Plagerize! Plagerize! Plagerize!
Only be sure always to call it please 'research'"

Let's just call the sonar/GPS toy/tool...research then, eh? ;)

Spence
"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
PaulRobertsNovember 9th, 2010, 8:50 am
Colorado

Posts: 1776
As to sonar being a "toy". Of course it is. Then so is the fly rod, the fly vest and everything in it. Etc...etc…. etc… But..where does your copy of LaFontaine's "Caddisflies" fit? Toy, or research?

The playing field is complex, and that's OK with me. One can decide at what resolution their toys are satisfying.

I once had a bubble headed salesgirl selling some energy elixir give me her spiel and then cap it off by saying, "And it's natural!" She then shrugged and said, "You know, nature really is very simple." I'm sure my jaw dropped and all I could say was, "No. No. No it's not. Nature is very very very very complex."

Sonar as research? No, not for my uses. Field research in my mind involves quantifiable data. Observation, yes. Observation will catch you more fish, and appropriate background research will teach you more about nature than you could EVER get just "being there".
PaulRobertsNovember 11th, 2010, 8:41 am
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Poop Poop Poop!

OK, it's not dead yet. I have to redeem myself for going so far off topic:

The biggest Baetid emergences I've seen have been during overcast weather. In fact, my early spring habit over the past few years had been to hit the bass ponds for prespawn bass on sunny days and the streams for Baetis activity on soggy days.

But during bright weather little Baetid imitations work really well bc they are generally so prevalent, and small, requiring lighter tippets -generally a good idea under bright conditions.

OldredbarnNovember 11th, 2010, 11:51 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Ok...Let's go one more step then.

1) Say we have an unseasonably nice spell anywhere during the multiple broods or/multiple species of Baetis throughout the year...Do they then just wait for a shitty day to emerge? I have already offered my example on the Gallatin in 2004 on a beautiful bright blue western day...They were uberall (everywhere)...

2) I told you I was reading my old fishing logs...Slightly off topic, but I found an interesting entry from the early 90's. A good friend of mine is a guide and years back his little brother use to work in a local fly shop in Grayling. The younger brother and I fished together when we could and evenually he grew up, married, and moved out of the state.

One time I stopped in to see my guide friend and he told me his brother was visiting and was over at his place and I should drive over and haul his butt out fishing which I did.

During our morning of fishing we went in opposite directions and back then it was difficult to get me off the stream once I was actually on it. I was walking through the woods back to their home and in my log I mentioned feeling like I was covered with mosquitoes...I looked down to see I was covered with P adoptiva spinners...I was brushing them off the the ferns etc as I was walking through.

When I got back I told the boys about this and said that sometime soon we are going to have a nice spinner fall...Someone said that they thought that these bugs had "alreday done their thing and were just sitting there dying." I guess the question is, how likely would that be?

I was literally covered in these bugs. They were everywhere. Do/can spinners retire back to the brush en masse and just sit there and expire maybe totally spent from trying in vain to get lucky?

Spence
"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
GutcutterNovember 27th, 2010, 3:28 pm
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
i've refrained from responding to this, waiting for the bug doctors to chime in...
but i say - a resounding NO.
to keep the species going, the eggs gotta be dropped.
unless there is some type of natural disaster, the next generation must be deposited in the water.
any other thoughts...
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
TaxonNovember 27th, 2010, 7:22 pm
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1295
Spence-

The Paraleptophlebia adoptiva imagos you brushed off the ferns were likely either pre-copulation males waiting for the right moment to form a mating flight, and/or pre-copulation females waiting for the right moment to join a mating flight, or post-ovaposition females waiting for their eggs to ripen before returning to the water to commence ovaposition. In any event, they would certainly not have been post-ovaposition females, which don't depart the water.

Armed with this opinion, and (or course) accompanied by no more that $5, you should be able to purchase a Large Mocha most places they are sold in N. America.
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
OldredbarnNovember 28th, 2010, 8:35 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
The Paraleptophlebia adoptiva imagos you brushed off the ferns were likely either pre-copulation males waiting for the right moment to form a mating flight,


Roger,

I know that this was a long time ago, but I remember it well, and I agree with the above. From what I remember I thought males as well. They were smaller and showed no evidence of eggs etc. I didn't stop and give the moment the time it deserved but that was my feeling.

My question concerns the amount of "energy" these non-feeding males have and whether or not they actually can visit the mating swarms more than once. I think we all have been in situations where we have spinners overhead and the temp changes and they all seem to disappear...How much time do they have before it's too late?

Spence
"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
MartinlfNovember 28th, 2010, 9:38 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2919
I've heard, and we may have explored this idea previously, that some Paralep spinners, perhaps mollis, do return to the bushes to die after the mating flight and egg laying. Someone offered this explanation to me after I complained about waiting forever for a paralep spinner fall that never happened despite tons of bugs in the air that morning. I'll post this then see if I can dig up the old thread. I can't remember what the verdict was in it--if it exists.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
TaxonNovember 28th, 2010, 10:29 pm
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1295
My question concerns the amount of "energy" these non-feeding males have and whether or not they actually can visit the mating swarms more than once.


Spence-

The male imagoes are already in the mating swarm when a female joins the swarm and chooses a mate. I expect the male simply falls from the air after copulation but don't know for sure.
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
Page:123

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