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… and why they’re so important!

June in the Eastern Sierra is “take a kid or friend fishing” month. Our big backyard is the perfect place to teach your youngsters and friends about fishing. Besides the fresh mountain air, wide open spaces, crystal clear streams and deep blue lakes, there are some very good reasons why fishing in the Eastern Sierra is so great.

River health is one very important factor in the life and times of the fish that run these waters. It may seem obvious that healthy rivers provide good conditions for healthy fish. What makes a river healthy may not be so obvious.

Many flyfishers are familiar with the wide variety of aquatic insects in the Sierra Nevada and these unique harbingers of stream health are a major contributor to the health of streams and rivers.

Stream environments can be divided into two major habitat types:

Riffles – which are shallow rocky areas with swift currents, and

Pools – which are deeper areas often at stream bends where currents are slower, particles settle out and deposits of sediment, leaves and wood accumulate.

The Herbst Lab, at the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory (SNARL), has been studying the health of aquatic ecosystems since 1986. In a recent publication of the Friends of the Inyo Magazine, the Jeffrey Pine Journal, the lab published a field guide to aquatic stream insects.

Here with kind permission of The Herbst Lab is a field guide to 6 aquatic invertebrates that are vital to the health of our streams and rivers.

6 Aquatic Stream Insects

The aquatic invertebrates pictured here are all immatures. They go through development, molting their skin or cuticle as they grow. Nymphs are those that become very similar looking adults, just sprouting wings, while those know as larvae go through a complete metamorphosis where the adults look very different (as a butterfly to a caterpillar).

Doroneuria

Doroneuria (photo credit: R.B. Medhurst)

Duroneuria

Known by the common name as the golden stonefly, this is a large active predator (2-3”) that searches like a tiger for prey. The nymphs live only in cold turbulent riffle habitats and live for several years before maturing into winged adults. They are indicators of good habitat quality and an important food source to fish.

 

Pteronarcys

Pteronarcys (photo credit: R.B. Medhurst)

Pteronarcys

The California salmonfly (2-3”) is another large stonefly that develops over multiple years. It is also a good indicator of quality habitat and important in food webs. Frequently found around large submerged rocks where packs of leaves often get stuck on the upstream side of rocks. With an eating style known as a shredder, it eats the decomposing leaves and wood.

 

Tipula

Tipula (photo credit: R.B. Medhurst)

Tipula

The crane fly larvae (1-3”) often live in pools and are also consumers of decaying leaf and wood matter. It develops into large long-legged true flies (order Diptera), sometimes called Mosquito hawks. These fragile insects do not eat mosquitos, feeding little if at all during their short adult life span. The larvae, sometimes known as leather jackets, store enough nutrition after multiple years of growth for the mated adult female to develop eggs.

 

Rhyacophila

Rhyacophila (photo credit: R.B. Medhurst)

Rhyacophila

The primitive mountain caddisflies (0.5-1”) are all predatory and common in cool streams at moderate to high elevation, and are a diverse genus of many species. Unlike most other caddis that build portable cases of sand grains or plant material, these caddis larvae are free-living cruising for prey in unpolluted streams.

 

Arctopsyche

Arctopsyche (photo credit: R.B. Medhurst)

Arctopsyche

Net-spinning caddisflies (0.5-1”), known to fly fishing as the great gray spotted sedge, use silk to build a fixed retreat on rocks where larvae position themselves to collect drifting food particles in a mesh net they spin at an opening in the case they build. As with caterpillars that spin silk, the material is quite strong, resisting the currents where capture of food particles is most productive. Like butterflies, the adults have scales on their wings, looking somewhat like moths. They act as ecosystem engineers in streams, building structures and filtering suspended food particles.

 

Cinygmula

Cinygmula (photo credit: R.B. Medhurst)

Cinygmula

These mayfly nymphs are small (0.2-0.5”), often sprawled on rock surfaces whwere their flattened bodies permit them to move easily in fast water, and where they can graze or scrape off thin films of algae for their food. Known as dark red quills in fly fishing jargon, these nymphs live just a year or less and only very briefly as diaphanous adults. As with the insects above, they are integral to the food web of streams and their presence shows a healthy environment.

 

Earth Day & Education

Kids love bugs! At the recent Earth Day celebrations at the Bishop City Park, the guys from Herbst Lab had a wonderful display of insects and a fun “petting zoo”. Educational information and results from their research is available online at The Herbst Lab.

Kids love bugs!

Kids love bugs! (photo credit: The Herbst Lab)

Fascinating!

Fascinating! (photo credit: The Herbst Lab)

“Science is only powerful when shared.” – The Herbst Lab.

Take a Kid or Friend Fishing

When you head out to the river or up into the mountains take a child, a friend, a family member and share the love of fishing in the Eastern Sierra. Take a look into the streams and pools and see if you can spot these amazing little creatures that make fishing in the Eastern Sierra the rewarding experience that it is.

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6 days ago

We are buried in smoke again today, so we thought it would be fun to share a little about how the names of some of the towns in the Eastern Sierra came about. Thank you, California High Sierra for the article!
californiahighsierra.com/trips/california-high-sierra-towns-the-origin-of-their-names/
Photo by Amy Leist
... See MoreSee Less

We are buried in smoke again today, so we thought it would be fun to share a little about how the names of some of the towns in the Eastern Sierra came about. Thank you, California High Sierra for the article!
https://californiahighsierra.com/trips/california-high-sierra-towns-the-origin-of-their-names/
Photo by Amy Leist

Comment on Facebook

Wow... been a good long while since I’ve been to Bishop. Their high school team was in our league (I went to Tehachapi High) and we traveled there for some football games — something like a 5-6 hour drive each way if I recall correctly. A tough team to beat also. I’m betting it hasn’t changed all that much over all these years (circa late ‘60s).

I'm so sorry the smoke is bad there still. I missed my annual visit this year. It's on my to do list for next year.

We can see it over the Spring Mountains to the West/NW here in Las Vegas. Fortunately, not much of it made it into the LV valley.

Would LOVE to move there if my hubby can find a job nearby!

We left this morning. Not only is it very smokey the smell of smoke is incredible. I don't smoke and I was ready to light up.

Nice photo. That's the real West.

Miss Bishop, Lone Pine, Big Pine, Tinnamaha campground!!!!

No, that is where the theater and Joseph’s used to be. Joseph’s has been gone for some time now. Penny’s is now Dollar General. Unfortunately a lot of vacant stores. Hi Kent!❤️

Hello and good morning. I am planning to drive up to Bishop from Southern California. The main purpose is to see fall colors. May I know if the fall colors are still at peak this coming next two weeks or is it past peak? Thank you for your advice/suggestions.

We were just there.😔

We have to leave too, I almost threw up it was so bad, got to Lee Vining and blue fresh air..take care of yourselves

so sorry for the smoke crazy time for all this year.

I spent a week here and didn't get to see the beauty through the smoke 😏

When was this picture taken, Sunday at 6 am ? never seen it this quiet.

Awesome pic! I wish a Main Street business had a rooftop deck so you can eat with that exact same view!

No smoke in the photo. ??

Is this an old photo? Joseph’s market was the only market back when we lived in Bishop in 1969.

It’s still Smokey? Where is the smoke coming from ?

Beautiful town

I always love to go threw Bishop.

Went thru Bishop yesterday, it was terribly Smokey 😪💚

I wish it was still small !

Does bishop still have a jack in the box

My favorite place ❤️

Isnt that the Old JC Penney store?

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1 week ago

Wonder if this little sheep was as grateful as we were for a view of the mountains this morning??!! Happy Friday! From Bishop, with love ❤️
#keepbishopsafe #mttom
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Wonder if this little sheep was as grateful as we were for a view of the mountains this morning??!! Happy Friday! From Bishop, with love ❤️
#keepbishopsafe #mttom

Comment on Facebook

Wonderful vacation destination

And a free thinker! This is Good!

🙏praying that it stays like this 💖

I miss Bishop so much and living there too 😢😉❤️

This is one of my favorite places to take pictures when I lived in Bishop. There’s many more.

Sigh. Bishop. Love it.

See you next week little sheep

We loved our visit to Bishop

Miss bishop fun times there

Nice!!!

Oh how I love that view

It was beautiful

Love Bishop

👍

Need snow on them things!

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1 week ago

In case you are wondering what roads and campgrounds are open, here is the latest, as of yesterday, October 14th:
www.sierrawave.net/state-of-inyo-roads-and-campgrounds-whats-open-closed-oct-14
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In case you are wondering what roads and campgrounds are open, here is the latest, as of yesterday, October 14th:
https://www.sierrawave.net/state-of-inyo-roads-and-campgrounds-whats-open-closed-oct-14

Comment on Facebook

I've been on that same road every year at this time...

It sure was smoky today.

Still hazy there.😥

I love the West.

Beautiful picture thanks for sharing 🙂🙂❤❤

We always used to stay at Brown’s Millpond Campground just north of Bishop. Very nice private campground with a stream running through it. So many wonderful memories from Mule Days!

Up her for 4 day little smoke but really nice trees turning colors

It's the hunting and fishing Road 🏞️🎣🏕️🌌🤠🥰

Love Bishop and the surrounding mountains !!!

Hwy 168 going to Lake Sabrina, North and South lakes?

With I was there.

maybe next weekend any hotel suggestions?

Johanna Atwell

GOD HOW I WISH I WAS ON THAT ROAD... CAREFREE HIWAY...

Lots of nice smoke.....

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2 weeks ago

The Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance is hosting a virtual 5K walk and fun run this year!!! Going on NOW!! You can do it from WHEREVER you are!!!Hello Friends!☺️
💥 ESCA 20th Annual 5K Walk & Fun Run! 💥October 11-17th! Virtual Edition!
Please LIKE and SHARE this flyer with your friends and family!
Thank you for your continued support! ☺️
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The Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance is hosting a virtual 5K walk and fun run this year!!! Going on NOW!! You can do it from WHEREVER you are!!!

2 weeks ago

Dog days of summer or fall??!!
Last weekend we had warm temps and blue skies again. Fingers crossed we get some more blue skies this weekend!

Photo by Amanda Zhang
#NorthLake #fallcolors #keepbishopsafe
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Dog days of summer or fall??!! 
Last weekend we had warm temps and blue skies again. Fingers crossed we get some more blue skies this weekend!

Photo by Amanda Zhang
#NorthLake #fallcolors #keepbishopsafe

Comment on Facebook

I heard the colors have peaked in this area. Is it still worth visiting or are there other good spots to hit up?

Beautiful picture.

Wonderful vacation destination

Beautiful

Beautiful picture! Cute dog!

North Lake?

Looking good

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