I spent some time collecting yesterday in between drifting buggers through the holes for steelies with Jason on a local tailwater. The fishing was a little slow, to say the least, but the bug sampling went pretty good.
Early Brown Stone – 1
Early Black Stone – 1
Large Stones – 9
Small stones – 9
Dragon – 1
Damsel – 1
Aquatic Worm – 1
Mayfly Crawler – 8
Mayfly Clinger – 8
Mayfly Swimmer – 3
Scud – 1
A little after noon, we decided to run into the local village for lunch. We stopped into a charming little downtown shop devoted to the alcoholic beverages, but which also has a small deli in back. On the way to order my lunch, I was sidetracked by the liqueur shelves.
“You got any Everclear?” I asked the woman working the counter.
“Sure do!” She answered with a big smile.
“Second shelf up, four bottles from the end.”
I picked the bottle up and looked it over. According to a google search I made earlier in the day, it was the closest thing to pure ethanol I could find without going to a compound pharmacy. ”This stuff may be too strong,” I thought. Then I remembered reading a forum post at TroutNut where a guy mentioned that he liked 100-proof dry gin as it seems to preserve colors better for short term storage. I found the gin and set it on the counter.
“I think the Everclear might be a little too strong.” I said.
“Its serious stuff.” She said. ”There is a guy that comes in and buys it by the case to make moonshine with.”
“I need it for bugs.” I said, quickly recovering with, “for a research project.” After seeing that the weird look was forming on her face.
“Never heard of someone buying liqueur for bugs before, but I guess they need a drink every now and then, too.”
I slid the pint into the chest pocket on my waders and headed back to the deli where Jason was coming back with a steaming bowl of soup and a sandwich. I got a large bowl of homemade chicken noodle and sat down as Jason was coming back from the street.
“I had to run out to my car to pour my drink. She said I could drink a beer inside if I poured it into this pepsi cup.”
“What’d you get?” I asked
“It has to be good, it has a brook trout on the bottle.”
We finished eating and hit one more spot before Jason had to call it a day.
I transferred all of the nymphs into the gin when I got home and photographed the adult stones. After posting the pics on the “Get Bugs Identified” section of TroutNut, I found that both adults are actually from the same species, Strophopteryx fasciata, only one is a male, the other a female. I didn’t realize that you had that much color variation between the sexes with stoneflies. I definitely plan on learning more about them as they’re probably the family of trout stream insects I know the least about. I also learned that stones mate terrestrially, which makes perfect sense as I’ve never seen a cloud of stones getting it on over the water.
If you look at the tips of each abdomen in the photo above, you can see some differences between the male and female — male on left, female on right.
I think I have all of the photos I need for the adult phase of this species. I’m going to do some measurements on them tonight- body length, wing length, widths, etc.. I have some stonefly adult fly patterns in my head, and want the proportions to be perfect.