pennywinkle n Also penniwinkle, pennywinkler, pennywrinkle, pinnywinkle [pennywinkle, pennyrinkle Engl dial varr of periwinkle n2]
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1913 San Bernardino Daily Sun (CA) 13 Apr 19/5, The water is high and the fish well fed, evidently from “pennywinkles’[’] a shelly, sandy formation under the rocks. 1947 Billings Gaz. (MT) 26 Apr 4/4, In the stomach of the trout you may find the pebbles which are residue of a diet of “pennywinkles,” as many fishermen style the larvae [of caddis flies]. 1966–67 DARE (Qu. P6, . . Kinds of worms . . used for bait) Inf OR3, Pennywinkles—worm in shell under rocks; WA8, Pennywinkle, periwinkle, night crawler, grasshopper; WA24, Pennywinkle. 1974 Daily News (Port Angeles WA) 20 Oct 7/1, I admitted that it is related to what is locally known as the periwinkle. The caddis fly is the adult stage of this little worm. . . I often call them “pennywinkles,” perhaps because as a boy I used to harvest them by the canful to sell to fishermen for bait—at so many per penny. 1999 DARE File cwID (as of 1940s), My goodness, your question about pennywinkles takes me back. That is just what we called them [=caddisfly larvae]. They make good trout bait. 2001 NADS Letters nwMT (as of 1940s), While growing up in Northwestern Montana we always referred to Caddis fly larva as Pennywinkles. . . They were most common in late June and early July. They grow to be about 3/4″ long and have shells made from sand and, sometimes, wood splinters, or other debris. They are outstanding bait for trout fishing and never fail to generate interest when used. Ibid cWA, When fishing in the Cascades above Leavenworth, Washington (in the Wenatchee Valley) in the 1970s I heard local fishermen refer to using pennywinkles as bait for trout.
1909 Nashville Banner (TN) 26 June sec 2 3/1, He [=a catfish] appeared just as happy and contented as when he chased tadpoles and pennywinkles at the bottom of South Harpeth River. 1938 West Point News (GA) 28 Apr /1, The blue gill can be taken with worms, pennywinkles, young wasp, or with a fly. 1958 Atlanta Constitution (GA) 21 June 10/3, The peniwinkle was one of my favorite catfish baits. . . The larvae is dark brown and is dressed in a hide so tough that a catfish has to bite hard to get one off the hook. We used to find these grubs around sodden leaf masses or drifts in the edges of small streams. 1966 DARE (Qu. P6, . . Kinds of worms . . used for bait) Inf GA1, Night crawler; [also] roller worms, stretchers, pennywinkle—found in wet decayed leaves. 1985 Wildlife NC Aug 9 GA, Carl Betsill . . , a native of Georgia, says that pennywinkles are common bait in his native state. “A pennywinkle is a horsefly larva that’s about one-half to three-quarters of an inch long, and it grows on the underside of mats of weeds or rafts of sticks bark and other flotsam that collect in small streams.” 2009 in 2020 DARE File—Internet swIL, Pennywinkles are found in small creeks and branches where leaves have rafted in the edge of the water. An aquatic insect lays their eggs in this accumulated debris. . . The larvae of this insect is a squirming worm about two inches long which will survive on a hook for considerable time. Catfish and panfish are quite fond of them. 2009 Ibid nGA, One particular bait we always catch in the spring we get in creeks by digging in piles of wet decaying leaves or seining behind the rocks we rake back in the creek. They look like a oversized brownish black maggot. My dad and uncles always called them go devils. . . I have heard them called pennywinkles also. . . I found out that they are the larvae of a crane fly. They are easily the best channel cat bait I have ever used in the spring. 2012 Ibid GA, [Referring to a photo of a horsefly larva:] We called them jim stret[c]hers and penny winkle. I know we use to go to creeks and grab a big hand full of leaves. We would get a bunch and tear the bream up. They got hard to find in a lot of the creeks around here. [Three other participants in this discussion, all from GA, agree that these are called “pennywinkles.”]
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