Eggs appear on the lee side of this rock this time every year, but I never know who puts them there, or where they go. They just appear one day, then leave a month or so later. Every spring I visit the rock frequently to see if I can catch the phantom egger. The river was up and a little murky, so I made quick work of swimming across the fast current to reach the lee of the rock. The eddy carried me up river the rest of the way. There weren’t any eggs stuck there yet.
Rock weed still covers the tops of rocks though it is just stalks by this time of year. Soon, it will start to regrow and become lush soft coverings that drape the boulders in this rapid, and make the underwater place look tropical, but for now it is still beard stubble. Which seems fine for the caddis who are more actively grazing than a week ago, and seem to take advantage of the open grazing range. Each case is crafted by the caddisfly larvae it contains and the orange, white and red quartz sand grains and silver mica flecks that make up each case look like gemstones walking on the bottom. The hoard of jeweled cases roams across the rocks.
I nosed into each nook and cranny along the shore, just in case the phantom egger chose another spot but the search only revealed more caddisflies. Maybe it’s just a little colder longer this year. Maybe the egg laying is flow dependent. Maybe the phantom egg layer is gone. Regardless, there aren’t any eggs here yet, and I will continue my expectant search in the hopes to solve the mystery of the phantom egger.