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The Specimen

Timpanoga hecuba (Great Red Quill) Mayfly DunTimpanoga hecuba (Great Red Quill) Mayfly Dun View 3 PicturesThis specimen is 14 mm. Technically this is the subspecies (Subspecies: Entomologists sometimes further divide a species into distinct groups called subspecies, which have two lower-case words on the end of their scientific name instead of one. The latter is the sub-species name. For example, Maccaffertium mexicanum mexicanum and Maccaffertium mexicanum integrum are two different subspecies of Maccaffertium mexicanum.) T. h. hecuba. The Cascades, Sierras and further West is where the other subspecies (Subspecies: Entomologists sometimes further divide a species into distinct groups called subspecies, which have two lower-case words on the end of their scientific name instead of one. The latter is the sub-species name. For example, Maccaffertium mexicanum mexicanum and Maccaffertium mexicanum integrum are two different subspecies of Maccaffertium mexicanum.), T. h. pacifica is found. The Great Basin seems to have formed a barrier preventing any overlap in their distribution.
Collected September 15, 2013 from Mystery Creek #178 in Idaho
Added to Troutnut.com by on September 23, 2013

The Discussion

EntomanSeptember 23rd, 2013, 2:12 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
This critter provided some excellent fishing a little after lunch the day this specimen was collected. They seem to be very delicate in handling as it expired inverted in the fly box while setting up for the photos. On this particular day the duns were up and away with little if any time spent on the water. The fish were feeding on ascending nymphs well below the surface. The hatch was a perfect fishing density and the fish were glutted with these large guys. To the naked eye they appeared chocolate brown with tan rings. The wings were a med. dun. Notice how stout their tapered abdomens are... Real chunks of protein!

The duns did not darken as they aged and as the photos show, there is little (if any) difference in the appearance between the dorsal and ventral surfaces. Very unusual for an ephemerellid...
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
OldredbarnSeptember 23rd, 2013, 1:30 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Mystery Creek # 178


Hmmm...Sounds a litlle like the infamous "Redacted Pond" I've heard so much about. ;)

No fish pics??? You holding out sir?!

Looks a damn site better than what I had this weekend up in Grayling...The predominate bug was a Tony-esque size 28 that I just told myself to ignore. Everyone but the creek chubs were as well. During the clean up on the Manistee I let a fair-sized bug float by just to see if anyone would eat it...That's one fair-sized bug...He went unmolested...Someone else swore that they saw one Iso...I had to do some "Fall Surprise" type pounding up.

The male Brooks are in full fall breeding color and are a bit snarly...They just might hit anything you float near them...Especially if its skittered a bit. Seem interested in anything with some orange in it. Not that I've changed my religion or anything and have converted to a "colorist"...;)

On Friday evening I moved a lot of fair fish, but got some serious looking refusals...Damn these guys can get picky after seeing a trillion flies floated over them in a season...It was like my old Au Sable Browns were trying to put me in my place, knock me down a peg or two. "Herr Professor Doktor of the Dry Fly...We have heard that you have spent some time away from us...PA in April, Montana in August. Now you are actually floating two dry flies over us like we are those chumpy western trout...Get ahold of yourself man! You are going to have to try a little harder here tonight. Maybe those geeked up Brooks will fall for this crap, but not us...See you next spring, smarty pants..."

Over the National Guard's artillery fire, and the bird hunter's shotgun blasts, I swore I heard trout sneekering with a German accent! I also heard myself whisper, "Yes. Thank God for Brook trout!"

"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
Jmd123September 23rd, 2013, 2:22 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2480
"Hmmm...Sounds a litlle like the infamous "Redacted Pond" I've heard so much about. ;)"

Somehow I doubt that you give exact names or details for your favorite spots, Spence...we're all just trying to keep the "riff-raff" out. I realized this when a local worm-dunker read one of my posts about the Pine and became inquisitive...though there are plenty of them out there, keeping those fish "fly-dumb" for me...

"Not that I've changed my religion or anything and have converted to a "colorist"...;)"

Aw c'mon Spence, you've never tied or thrown a Royal Coachman/Wulff/Trude/Parachute in your life? Man, those can keep a dry-fly fisherman going when the hatches get thin (such as this time of year). My latest nice one (see my post) hit the old reliable White Wulff, on a night with next to no bugs and almost dead quiet water. Oh well, to each his/her own...

Sorry to hear you didn't have the luck you wished for...and yes, thank goodness for brookies. Going after them on [REDACTED] Pond in a few hours with the kayak, earlier so I can throw some streamers/buggers at them before evening sets in and they (hopefully) come up top.

Only thing I've seen hatching around here lately is Nectopsyche (they're even getting thin now) and the only thing that goes for them is little leaping rainbows that could be food for my last fish...

BTW, sorry Kurt for pulling this one a bit off-topic...you know how that goes on here!

;oD

Jonathon

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
SayfuSeptember 23rd, 2013, 2:30 pm
Posts: 560A Green Drake Species? Our local paper just made mention of a good hatch of Flavs on a trib of the South Fork. I had thoughts of them being a slightly smaller Green Drake species mentioned in Craig Mathew's old book on Yellowstone hatches. I know he mentioned hecuba. And I know flavalina is a close species to Drunella Grandis I think it is. And not the time of year for our flavs, but it is for a Fall Green Drake.
EntomanSeptember 24th, 2013, 2:38 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Jere -

Well, close. They are all ephemerellids. Sorting out the various genera and species can get a little confusing. For us westerners, size only works as a way to separate them on individual watersheds as they can vary quite a bit from location to location. If the angler skips around alot and isn't up on the bugs in the water he is fishing, size isn't as much help if the hatch is smaller than size 8. However, size (among another few characters) does seem to work if the angler is familiar with their hatches on a particular stream. As a general rule of thumb:

a. Only the green drakes (and most flavs) have some shade of green/chartreuse/yellow on them (when freshly hatched), at least at the segment margins and under the thorax. Their bodies run from bright green to olive brown. This differentiates them from Timpanoga, at least when they're fresh.

b. Drunella grandis subspecies are the largest of the green drakes and have somewhat slimmer abdomens compared to their robust thoraxes. They have proportional length tails.

c. Just down in size from them is the species D. Doddsii. It has a distinctive, radically tapered abdomen as thick as its thorax at the first segment and extremely short tails.

d. Smaller still is the super spiny D. Spinifera. Luckily, the dun of this little monster is proportioned like a small grandis, making it much easier to tell the three green drakes apart (in this size range there is also a diametrically opposite appearing species to spinifera, the spineless D. pelosa, but it is doubtful that anglers will run into these rarer and predominately coastal critters very often).

e. The smallest Drunella species or "Flavs" can look like small green drakes and could be confused with spinifera if they run large and again the angler doesn't know his water. They can also be confused with other ephemerellid species in their smaller sizes.

f. T. hecuba subspecies are as long as D. grandis, but are built more like D. doddsii (bulkier). They are also brown from the get go with tan instead of green or yellow highlights. They are less leggy than grandis as well.

Hope this helps,



Spence -

Hmmm...Sounds a litlle like the infamous "Redacted Pond" I've heard so much about. ;)

No fish pics??? You holding out sir?!

Yep... I've fished this section of river a half dozen times this season with no sign of any other angler, flesh or spoor. You wouldn't believe the size and numbers of fish if I told you and it's one of the prettiest spots I've ever cast a fly on. 'Nuff said...:)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
OldredbarnSeptember 24th, 2013, 5:10 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Nuff said...


No!!! Nuff said would be, "When you driving out 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
EntomanSeptember 24th, 2013, 5:44 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
LOL:) I could take you there, but I'm not sure it'd be worth dealing with your angry wife and the authorities inquiring as to your whereabouts. How long would it take for your MIA status to blow over?
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
OldredbarnSeptember 24th, 2013, 9:06 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Yeah...if I leave town one more time this year folks will begin to think I'm
a local version of Walter White. The neighbors furtive waves, as they slow down as they pass the house here, well, they seem like they either don't know me or they are keeping an eye on the stranger. :)
"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
Jmd123September 24th, 2013, 10:25 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2480
"...folks will begin to think I'm a local version of Walter White."

Spence, don't tell us that you have a hidden meth lab on the South Branch of the Au Sable...maybe that's why the fishies bite so well for you up there! "Man, I'm just too freakin' wired, I'm gonna KILL that fly!"

;oD

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
SayfuSeptember 24th, 2013, 12:50 pm
Posts: 560Entoman..I watched, and listen to Kelly Gallop tie his Green Drake pattern (grandis) He tied it a maroon body color, and said to try it, and see how well fish take it when grandis comes off. Says they turn to that color rather quickly after coming off. The discussion I am in now deals with a green drake looking bug that comes off now on certain waters. The local expert told the newspaper reporter they were flavs, and that was put in print. I've traced the source back to this guy that has authored a book on "Flies for Yellowstone Park." I questioned the accuracy because an angler brought me one from the trib mentioned, and the bug was big..a good sized 10-12 in body length....same time of yr., Sept. Two, I have never heard of a Sept flav, and have heard of Sept. green drakes.
EntomanSeptember 24th, 2013, 3:35 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Jere -

Yes, I'm aware of Galloup's opinions on this subject. I agree with him that green drakes do indeed darken as they age and I do not doubt the effectiveness of his maroon flies for these hatches. Where we part company is that they don't darken nearly as fast as he suspects, nor do I believe that is the reason for his maroon fly's effectiveness. We all tend to assume that the closest color imitation according to our eyes is the way to go. Therefore, when the trout respond to the dark maroon color it must be because the color approximates the dun that is darkening, right? I doubt it. Who really knows how fish perceive color and more importantly perhaps, how this perception triggers the response we want.

For example, purple has also proven to be a quite successful color when these big guys are about. Here's a fly of my nephew John's (cutbow) design that is very effective during the big drake hatches on riffly water (on smoother flows the parachute version is probably the way to go):



It was designed to be a general attractor, but Mr. Trout thinks it's a pretty good drake imitation. Go figure...:)

BTW - I agree with you that those flies you are talking about sound too big to be flavs and too small to be grandis (though not necessarily). Most likely still a green drake, though. Probably spinifera? I'd have to see them... Size 10/12 is right smack in the middle of the confusion zone, size wise. It all depends on how the critters run in that watershed.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
SayfuSeptember 24th, 2013, 6:15 pm
Posts: 560I did figure, and have gone overboard with purple patterns (ie) purple parachutes, purple humpies, purple soft hackles....I even bought a purple guinea fowl skin from Whiting Farms, and purpled out!
OldredbarnSeptember 24th, 2013, 7:43 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
I did figure, and have gone overboard with purple patterns (ie) purple parachutes, purple humpies, purple soft hackles....I even bought a purple guinea fowl skin from Whiting Farms, and purpled out!


Sayfu...This is funny! IMHO, size does matter...Color...Not so much.

Kurt and I were discussing the Purple Haze that is making the rounds out your way...My conclusion was we were over thinking it. :)

Maybe, in some way, the fly that Kurt has posted reacts in such a manner that it elicits a response from the fish and the color has no effect what-so-ever. Figure out the size of the mayfly and tie it as you see it and also in some other color and give them a go.

Its the angling version of Heisenberg's uncertainy principle. :) Until the trout decides to communicate with us we are all only guessing. :)

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
GutcutterSeptember 25th, 2013, 6:36 am
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
...Here's a fly of my nephew John's (cutbow) design that is very effective during the big drake hatches on riffly water...
...It was designed to be a general attractor, but Mr. Trout thinks it's a pretty good drake imitation...


Perhaps he should call it the purple poly Wulff?
Very nice design (and tie)
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
Jmd123September 25th, 2013, 2:13 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2480
"Perhaps he should call it the purple poly Wulff?"

As Tony points out, it does look like a Wulff pattern (which are near and dear to my heart) - except that looks like moose mane for the tail?

I might have to get some purple dubbing, or floss. Wasn't one of the original variants of the Adams tied with a purple body? I remember seeing an article on the Adams in one of the magazines a few years ago and it had a purple-bodied one.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
EntomanSeptember 25th, 2013, 9:49 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Wulff? Nah, since this fly is so obviously from whole cloth it should be named after the creator or called something like the Purple Haze.;)

You're right, Jon, that's moose. As far as Adams are concerned - yep, guys have been using different colored bodies on them for decades. Black, purple and yellow to name a few have been popular for a long time. The purple one is the Purple Haze that Spence mentioned.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
OldredbarnSeptember 25th, 2013, 10:34 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
You know I carried around a couple flies for some time that looked similar. I can't remember where I got them, but remember them being sold as a western Brown Drake...Colors were a bit different. Heavily hackled for those western rivers.

"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
SayfuSeptember 26th, 2013, 4:25 pm
Posts: 560Oldredbarn....I'm buyin color. There are a number of observations that Gary Lafontaine had that I disagreed with, but not his appraisal of the Royal body flies that withstood the test of time. When asked why?....Lofontaine responded , "the red was enhanced in clear water, good lighting conditions. The green was enhanced during low light, off colored water, flies fished in shady bank areas. My light bulb went on. That was my steelhead fishing observation, and I use to put on clinics regarding color selection, and the ROY G. BIV thing. BINGO! He shoots, he SCORES!...and he purples out.
CutbowOctober 2nd, 2013, 1:39 am
Post Falls, Idaho

Posts: 38
I am honored that one of my flies is featured on this site! I decided to name it "The purple thunder." What happened was last week I had a fish on with it and Kurt, who was 60 feet from me, asked which fly I was using. I got tired of saying "That purple fly I tied" so I spat out what came to mind which was Purple Thunder.
"Once you catch your first fish on a fly you won't care about any other kind of fishing!"
Jmd123October 2nd, 2013, 9:53 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2480
Perfect!

Jonathon

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...

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