Winter Stoneflies

Capniidae Family
Th Capniidae family of stoneflies are present in most of the nations trout streams
and may be observed during the winter months. They represent one of the few
species of aquatic insects that emerges and is available to the trout when the
water is extremely cold.

Although these are classified as "Little Brown Stoneflies" for the most part, they
are almost black or dark shades of brown. Most anglers refer to them as "Little
Blacks" and some as "Little Winter" stoneflies. They are also called Snowflies.
They get that name because they are easy to spot crawling around on the snow
due to the contract.

Trout can be taken on nymph imitations of the Snowflies but imitations of the
adults are sometimes productive. Trout are not very prone to rise to the surface
to eat the egg laying females on the surface when the stoneflies hatch in very
cold water.

Before we begin with what are called "Winter Stoneflies", lets review some basic
stonefly information. Of the nine major families of stoneflies, four are commonly
called “Little Brown Stoneflies”. They are the Capniidae, Nemouridae,
Taeniopterygidae and Leuctridae families. Now you don't need to remember
these names but you do need to remember this. Stoneflies of these four families
are usually small, usually less than one-half inch long.

The “Little Brown Stoneflies” are not all brown. They range from brown to black.
Even though anglers may refer to some of them as “Little Black Stoneflies”, by
proper classification they are still considered to be “Little Brown Stoneflies”.
Also, what many refer to, as “Little Black Stoneflies” are just very dark brown
stoneflies but more importantly, one of these four families.

One good thing about stoneflies is that you don't have to know them down to the
species. In fact, just knowing them down to the family level is usually all you will
need to know. That is because they all behave very similarly. Also, you only need
to know two stages of their life. The nymphs and the adults.

The Winter Stoneflies are in the Capniidae family. There are several species of
the Capniidae family. The best hatches of these “Little Brown Stoneflies” usually
occurs during the winter and early spring months.  

Species of the Capniidae family are fairly easy to recognize in their adult stage
because they are the only ones in the group of “Little Browns” that have long
tails. They are usually small stoneflies that range in color from dark brown to
pure black and usually have short wings. You may see them walking on snow
near streams or they may be found on bridges, rocks, or stream side
vegetation.      
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
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