Some several years back, The Life History and Economic
Importance of A Burrowing Mayfly, Hexagenia limbata, In
Southern Michigan Lakes, by Burton P. Hunt, along
with Mayflies of Michigan Trout Streams, by
Justin W. and Fannie A. Leonard, and also including a bulletin
on "The Mayflies, or Ephemeroptera, of Illinois, by B. D.
Burks were prominent among my daily reading. Make that studying
and reference volumes. Those were my days, and not a few nights,
of learning about bugs. Mainly, the insects that seemed to
comprise the normal diet of the trout I was attempting to
In those works there are 'keys,' tables and such where one
can systematically trace the characteristics of an unknown
bug and convert it to a known insect. Why would I want to do
this? Not really sure I can give a very convincing argument
for it, but that I know it added more to my days on the stream
and enhanced the days when I could not be on it.
I will suggest that any of you who may think it might be fun
to investigate these paths, to do so with all haste. Enlist a
partner for companionship as well. This type of journey is best
when shared with another of like mind. I am aware of some who
have gone before us all and did so virtually alone, dark passage
indeed. Fortunate will you be if you can hatch such a plan these
days and times.
If you would like a tiny head start, or a gentle shove, let me
offer this for now. A section we have we call,
Not Quite Entomology.
There you will find a series of insects and how to likely
find them and perhaps how to mimic them and their habits.
I had a companion during the years that most of that section
was actually produced and shall always value that time amongst
my most cherished. They were good times. Days and evenings of
challenge and identification. Times spent discerning the faintest
details of a specimen under the whispering light of a Coleman
Lantern gently chasing the darkness from the kitchen table of
the camper we called home those seasons.
For those of you who may think learning all of these big names
is tough, remember that you had little trouble with the word
stethoscope or Mississippi. Or, just what is a spinner anyway?
A dun is a what? Is one an imago, or is one a subimago? Works
for me. ~ James Castwell