This mayfly has unique long hairs on its forelegs as the main distinguishing characteristic (allowing anyone keying to move through quickly). Carefully observe the limbs because such hair can be matted down and therefore hidden in preserved wet specimens. The body of Isonychia is slim and "minnow-like" when observed dorsally. In specimens we collected, they were commonly brown and substantial in length and width as compared to the very common Baetidae. Some individuals are immature, but upon closer inspection one can see the setae on the forelegs.