Benthic macroinvertebrates or “bugs” as some scientists may call them, live in the bottom or our rivers and streams. This vital part of the food web is comprised of a bunch of different species, but the most revered and sought after by Trout, is the Stonefly. The nymph stage of these insects live in highly oxygenated waters, free from pollutants. Members of the Capniidae family, aka the Winter Stonefly, hatch out in winter months. Many scientists and organizations here in southeast MI search out the stonefly in the months of January and February. They use the presence of these critters as an indicator of high water quality. The absence of them does not necessarily indicate polluted water, however, their presence in repeated years in good concentrations tells the story that the water is clean.
To learn more and to participate in the hunt for the Winter Stonefly in Southeast MI, visit one of the organization websites below. Each organization hosts an annual winter bug hunt and provides the necessary training and equipment.
The Clinton River Watershed Council https://www.crwc.org/programs/adoptastream/adopt-a-stream-upcoming-events/
The Huron River Watershed Council
Friends of the Rouge