Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Off to Montana

No, this isn't Virginia.  It's the Bitterrroot River flowing out of the Bitterroot range of the Rockies, south of Missoula, Montana.  This is where I'll be fishing next week.  It's the annual fly fishing trip with three of my very best friends.  The bad new is -- there won't be any blog entries posted next week: the good news is -- I'll be taking my camera and sampling gear to look for some of the species of mayflies, stoneflies, and caddisflies that are different than those we find in the East.

But first, a quick report on my trip to the Moormans today.  I went back to see if I could find some of the small minnow mayflies I found last week that I think might be Heterocloeon petersi (see the previous entry).  No luck.  I did find small minnow mayflies, but I just found the same species I've been seeing in other streams at the moment: Heterocloeon curiosum and Baetis intercalaris.  These:

(And yes, most of the Baetis intercalaris nymphs that I've found have been this small!)  I also saw common netspinners, fingernet caddisflies, brushlegged mayflies -- small and large -- common stoneflies (genus Acroneuria), and quite a few "tiny" flatheaded mayflies.   The "larger" flatheaded mayflies included this beautiful Epeorus vitreus.

Love those gills!  I also found a snail that we never find in big numbers -- a "Physid," the most common "lunged" snail we find in our streams.  Remember that most lunged snails open on the left when the narrow part is on top.

This Physid was larger than those that I normally see, also also darker in color. Most Physids are yellow, with gray spots or "freckles," this one was brown with yellow spots.  I suspect the color change has something to do with age.  Here it is moving its way around the tray.

That about wraps it up for the day and the week.  Time to leave behind the small streams of Virginia and head out to the "Big Sky" -- and "Big Water" -- country.

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