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Stonefly
-- Michal Murri

It's getting dark now so I'm going for it. Through crawling along the bottom of this dark and dreary river, I'm headed for shore, across this riffle, bringing my wings and wishes with me.

I've been here for two years, ya know, "foraging," as they say, on tiny plant matter and other goodies. I wish I was tougher. Or could swim, at least. But I suck at swimming and am therefore only a strong current away from get pulled off these rocks and sent tumbling like Papa across some piscatorial buffet line. I've got a cousin though, Acroneuria californica, or some ridiculous name - I think you call him a Golden Stone - he's carnivorous. Did you know that? Ya, he's what they call predacious. Would eat his own young if given the chance. Kinda like a shark. Even gobbles small fish fry. Did you catch that last part? He's a fly. That eats fish. I'd like to see one of those Diptera Dorks pull that off. Then again, what can you expect from any fly who occupies a branch on the mosquito family tree?

But at least they can swim. Like my drowning Caddisfly brothren, they float their pansy post pupa-stage to the surface film while I'm left to lowcrawl toward the opposite shore like a war criminal under enemy fire.

Love my big, long, orange, juicy body, belly like the gut of a fresh brookie

Fisherman love me when I make it, though. Love my big, long, orange, juicy body, belly like the gut of a fresh brookie. Guides really love me. My existence gives them the luxury of tying pillow-sized patterns to a client's line and removing that size 20 adams in fading light.


And you knopw what else, I've got a mouth. A Real One. Show me a mayfly with a mouth and I've got some fertile soil above the Deschutes I'd like to sell you. I never understood why anybody would fish with one of those other flies anyway. If I was around, I mean. I've seen the others and frankly I'm not impressed. "Look at me, I'm a sailboat!" "Look at me, I'm a pup tent!" Whatever, moth boy. Little pebble-gatherin' bastard. While your off wearing silk panties "completing your metamorphosis," I'll be up on that branch getting laid in front of god and everyone. What good's a pupal stage, anyway? Get to the point, already.

All the books have me listed third, like some red-headed stepchild of the insect world. "While not as important to the flyfisher as Mayflies or Caddisflies..." Says who? Everybody talks about is how caddisflies "adapt" well to all environments, whether spring creek, swamp or sewer. So what? Is that really something to brag about? Might as well be a grasshopper, living on a concrete eddy line between landfill and vacant lot. I live where the water flows clean and clear. If you've found me, you've found a piece of river worth saving, dig?

I will admit I ain't much for flight. Kinda fly like I swim, come to think of it, wings flappin' like an injured grouse, head leaning forward lookin' all goofy.

But I'm just not built for it. We can't all be graceful as a Green Drake, you know, flying around like gravity hadn't been invented yet. But you can tell when I hit the water. And so can the fish. Size matters. Nobody sips me. I'm crawling onto shore now so I guess I've said my piece. Would like to add that I love flyfishing though. Love it. Every time one of those 20-inch hogs hammers a number two Mustad through his gums it makes him think twice about gobblin' my ass. Thanks for listening, but I'm about ready to lose this shell and crawl on over to that leaf. I see a cute little egg-layer calling my name.

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