I wrote about the Cascades Stone a few years ago, but have seen them on the river recently and thought it was time to highlight this seldom seen hatch by fly fishers.
It’s actually called the Doroneuria baumanni, a cousin of the Golden Stone.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
When we first noticed this bug a few years ago, we thought it might be an older Salmonfly because it is similar in size to those found on the lower Deschutes River and found on the Metolius in much smaller numbers. The female is around a size 6 and the male smaller, as seen above. Since it was so late in the year, I assumed it was an old Salmonfly that had been around for a while and faded out. To further confirm my thought process, there weren’t very many around…less than a handful.
Doroneuria baumanni. – bottom
Here are a few mating with a few Little Olive Stones joining in.
When I started asking around if anyone knew what they were, someone told me Willowflies. That made more sense. A slightly different version of the Salmonfly. So I started calling them Willowflies.
A year rolls around and the bugs show up just like normal in August. And sure enough, when I looked in the brush, there they were. We keep a lookout for the nymphal shuck on the foliage and that was the key they had begun hatching. It usually begins in August.
I don’t see them flying around like the other stoneflies. Only find them on the underside of stems or larger leaves. I decided to find out additional details about these “Willowflies”.
I looked up Willowflies and Shortwing stoneflies. But they didn’t look like the bugs I saw. Willowflies were the closest, but much shorter and thinner. The Willowflies I found were Brown Willowflies…or Skwalas. And the Shortwings…well, we found those in Montana on the Madison. (Learn more about Shortwing stoneflies in Arlen Thomason’s BugWater book.) Their name tells it all. The males have wings about half the size as the “Willowflies” found on the Metolius. This didn’t make any sense at all. What to do?
I sent Rick Hafele, a real bug expert (check out his website at www.rickhafele.com), an email with a picture and asked him what they were. Rick is one of the authors of several books on the subject, including Western Mayfly Hatches. He wanted a sample to key out the bug and I mailed one to him. The answer? My bug sample was a Doroneuria baumanni. It’s in the same family (Perlidae) as the Golden Stonefly. A close relative to the Golden. Not a Willowfly.
I asked Rick if there was a more common name. Nope. I guess since it isn’t a major hatch, fishermen haven’t given it one. Maybe I’ll call it the Golden Stonefly Cousin! Good as any.
A short time after writing my original post in September 2014, I found it was linked as a resource on a website entitled Troutnut. After a couple of emails, I found the common name Cascades Stone was given in 1998.
So there you go…my story of learning the Cascades Stone.
A year after my original post, this nymph showed up while kick netting the bottom.
Do the fish key on the adults? In my experience, not that much. I haven’t seen them flying around. You must look closely in the bushes to find them, so the “cousins” don’t seem to be high on a trout’s radar.
That doesn’t mean they won’t eat them. I’ve used Fat Albert and Chernobyl Ant flies to get their attention.
So, keep your eyes open. Be observant. And catch a fish or two!
Enjoy…go fish, stay safe!
Great information and pictures, John. At about the same time you were investigating and documenting these big stoneflies on the Metolius, I was realizing that similar big bugs I was seeing on the upper McKenzie were something different than found in the lower part of the river. In fact, they turned out to be these same Cascades Stoneflies. On that river I do see them fly occasionally, but not very often. And there, the fish do seem to key on them. Or at least they are much more in the mood to take a big foam imitation of them during the hatch. I’ve since seen these bugs on the Metolius, including last year. I’m on kind of a mission to find out how widespread they are in our region. During August and September, I look for them wherever I go.
Thanks for the positive Comments, Arlen. I really appreciate them.