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Salmonflies
Pteronarcys californica

The giant Salmonflies of the Western mountains are legendary for their proclivity to elicit consistent dry-fly action and ferocious strikes.

From Slough Creek to the Henry's Fork

By Troutnut on July 31st, 2020
I really wanted to photograph some bugs in the evening, so I didn't fish in the morning. Instead I got up early, broke camp, and hiked about ten miles out the well-maintained trail to the trailhead from 8:30 to 11:50 am. I stopped in a fly shop in West Yellowstone to replace a couple minor supplies, while trying to keep my breathing to a minimum in the crowded store during a pre-vaccine Covid peak. I would have good odds of surviving the virus, but it would have good odds of screwing up my fishing plans, so better safe than sorry.

I arrived at the famous Harriman Ranch section of the Henry's Fork around 3 pm, but nothing was really hatching until 5. As clouds rolled in, PMDs started hatching (Ephemerella excrucians), followed eventually by Flavs (Drunella flavilinea) and Gray Drakes (Siphlonurus occidentalis), mixed with lots of caddisflies. I caught four small rainbows, then a 15-incher and a 17-incher (my best yet on this reach) that made a great cartwheeling leap high in the air. The bug collecting was even better than the fishing.

Photos by Troutnut from Slough Creek and the Henry's Fork of the Snake River in Wyoming and Idaho

Closeup insects by Troutnut from the Henry's Fork of the Snake River in Idaho

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