River Grass

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There is a tiny caddis fly, nyctiophylax moestus, that builds its little trumpet shaped fiber nests on blades of river grass. In a typical clump of grass there are thousands of such nests. Millions upon millions of these little sedges should line the bed of the Wood River, but they don’t ! Their homes, the host grass clumps, have been trampled out of existence there.

Brian plucked a n.m. from its home during a paddle trip we took last year on the Pawcatuck River. They were once surely all over the bed of the Wood, that two mile or so stretch that has been so trampled that clumps of river grass are now hard to find there. At least on our trip through untrammeled waters we could see that they were thriving somewhere.

The nymph has a glorious chartreuse colored body. I’ve read about, and would love to witness,  the voraciousness with which the nymph will thrust itself temporarily outward to devour a passing midge larva.

They are summer emergers. Brook trout must once have lined up, sucking these bugs down, long long ago before we came along to wreak our havoc on nature. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to tie on a number 20 and catch a brook trout during such an event ? Or just to watch ?

Burt Strom

1 comment to River Grass

  • brian o'connor

    I invite everyone who fishes the “Miracle Miles”, the upper Wood, to go to the tail-outs of both Magic pool and the Million Dollar Tree pool. These riffle areas between pools were once, before continuous heavy stocking, covered with forests of the aquatic plants which are the hosts of this caddis. These riffles have been desserts for many years. The entire upper river could be used as an example of how cattle ruin riparian ecologies. There are no cattle..

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