My frequent fishing partner Brad Bohen spotted and photographed this beer poster in Brule, WI. He's got a good eye for trout, and this one looked familiar. Sure enough, it's a 15 incher I caught on the Beaverkill in the Catskills in August 2004 on an emergent sparkle pupa. I posted it here.
These caddisflies were thick over the water in the evening on a cold, clear northwoods lake. They were in many places on the lake, all closer to the shady shore, which also was the shore most sheltered from the wind. I'm not sure which of those features attracted them.
Shuck: The shed exoskeleton left over when an insect molts into its next stage or instar. Most often it describes the last nymphal or pupal skin exited during emergence into a winged adult.) attached that it seems like they molt from the dun to spinner stage in mid-air. Actually they molt on streamside vegetation like other mayflies, but they sometimes take off to mate before they're completely finished.
Ranatra Water Scorpion AdultView 7 PicturesHere's a big water scorpion (no relation to actual scorpions). These guys are just about the most sinister-looking creatures you could find, and what's especially creepy is that they can come up out of the water and fly around, as I learned when one left my aquarium and buzzed my head while I was peeking into the microscope at a mayfly nymph.
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Dun: Mayflies have two adult stages. They first emerge from the water as duns (scientifically known as the subimago stage). They then molt into the spinner (imago) stage, in which they mate and die. Sometimes the word "dun" is confusingly used to refer to a brownish gray color in fly tying materials.
Larvae: Many classes of aquatic insects, such as caddisflies, midges, craneflies, dobsonflies, alderflies, and many more, are known as "larvae" rather than "nymphs" in their juvenile stages. They have mostly soft bodies rather than hard exoskeletons. These insects also advance through a "pupa" stage before reaching adulthood.
Molt: When aquatic insects with hard exoskeletons (like mayfly and stonefly nymphs) grow bigger, their exoskeleton does not grow with them. Instead they grow a new, larger one underneath and shed the old one when it's too small. This process is called molting.
Nymph: The juvenile, underwater stages of mayflies, stoneflies, dragonflies, and damselflies and other aquatic insects whose juvenile stages are covered by hard exoskeletons. The word can also refer to the fishing flies which imitate these creatures, in which case it is used as a blanket term for flies imitating any underwater stage of an invertebrate (except for crayfish and leeches).
Pupa: Any insect which spends most of its juvenile lifetime as a larva first becomes a pupa for a time before emerging as a fully grown adult. Depending on the species, the pupal form can be very important for fly fishermen to imitate.