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Lateral view of a Male Baetis (Baetidae) (Blue-Winged Olive) Mayfly Dun from Mystery Creek #43 in New York
Blue-winged Olives
Baetis

Tiny Baetis mayflies are perhaps the most commonly encountered and imitated by anglers on all American trout streams due to their great abundance, widespread distribution, and trout-friendly emergence habits.

Artistic view of a Perlodidae (Springflies and Yellow Stones) Stonefly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
This one seems to lead to Couplet 35 of the Key to Genera of Perlodidae Nymphs and the genus Isoperla, but I'm skeptical that's correct based on the general look. I need to get it under the microscope to review several choices in the key, and it'll probably end up a different Perlodidae.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Denali Highway, day 2

Denali Highway, day 2


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By Troutnut on September 14th, 2013
We slept in Sunday morning and biked up to get the remaining meat around noon. The weather and ride were as nice as the previous day's, as was the rest of the beautiful but uneventful drive back across the Denali Highway to Paxson. We saw no other caribou and many dozen hunters, underscoring just how lucky I'd been to find a bull, even such a small one.

We reached the eastern side of the highway as the sun set and the moon rose over Mount Sanford, a majestic shield volcano 90 miles to the southeast in the Wrangells. That range is occasionally visible from high points on the eastern Denali Highway, but I'd never seen it so clearly before. Just another one-of-a-kind treat from the most scenic highway on Earth.

Photos by Troutnut from Clearwater Mountains, Miscellaneous Alaska, and Denali Highway in Alaska

Denali Highway

From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska
Lena and Taiga on the Maclaren River Trail. This trail heads north toward the Maclaren Glacier and West Fork of the Maclaren River, uphill on the west side of the Maclaren River.

From the Maclaren River Trail in Alaska
Aurora Peak. You can also see a bit of the Maclaren Glacier on the very left hand side of the image

From Denali Highway in Alaska
Panorama from the Maclaren River trail

From the Maclaren River Trail in Alaska
Looking back at the Clearwater Mountains from the east

From Denali Highway in Alaska
View west across the Maclaren River valley from Maclaren Summit. The Clearwater Mountains make up the highest part of the horizon near the sun.

From Denali Highway in Alaska
Taiga fetching

From the Maclaren River Trail in Alaska
Beaver dam and beaver lodge overgrown with willows

From the Maclaren River Trail in Alaska
Riding out

From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska
First haul of meat. After getting the meat back to the road, I stashed the hind quarters and burger/rib meat bag in an alder thicket. I took these two front quarters and tenderloins/backstraps out with me on an after-dark bike ride 3 miles downhill to the car. My awesome 172-lumen ZebraLight H51W headlamp lit up the trail almost like a car headlight for me and Lena to make the ride.

From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska
Kettle lakes

From Denali Highway in Alaska
Glacier Gap. This notch in the mountains two miles north of the highway holds a sizable lake.

From Denali Highway in Alaska
Riding out 2

From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska
Kettle lakes and the Alaska Range

From Denali Highway in Alaska
Tundra colors

From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska
Retrieving the last load of meat. Multiple groups of hunters had seen a pack of at least three wolves in this area the previous day, and a few days earlier. So I was a little bit nervous about leaving part of the meat overnight, and relieved when we found it untouched. It may have helped that a group of hunters had camped on the road not far away.

From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska
Final load packed up. I strapped the hind quarters off either side of my bike's rear tire rack, loaded the burger/rib bag and antlers in my pack, and had an easy ride out to the car without Lena having to carry anything or get messy caribou on her gear.

From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska
The four tallest peaks (on the horizon, from this perspective), from left to right, I think, are Mt Hayes, 10,065-foot Aurora Peak, and a "double" peak that is actuall Mt Shand (left/foreground) with the peak of Mt Moffit sticking up in the background to the right of it

From Denali Highway in Alaska
Moonrise over Mt Sanford. An unusually clear view of this mountain from 90 miles away on the Denali Highway

From Denali Highway in Alaska
Beautiful yellow valley

From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska
Denali Highway in Alaska
Packed up and ready to go. This was a great way to transport the meat. It stayed cool, didn't stink up the car, and didn't even get dusty at all from the dry road.

From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska
Windy Creek Road

From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska
Alaska Range from Mile 52 Denali Highway. The left-most double peak is 12,510-foot Mt Shand (left) and 13,020-foot Mt Moffit (right). The other two tall peaks, middle and right, are unnamed (at least on Google Earth). The peak on the horizon about 2/3 of the way from Mt Moffit to the unnamed middle peak is 11,400-foot McGinnis Peak.

From Denali Highway in Alaska
Denali Highway in Alaska
Fireweed. This is what Alaska's iconic purple flowers look like once they've gone to seed

From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska

Closeup insects by Entoman from Mystery Creek #178 in Idaho

Female Psychoglypha alascensis (Limnephilidae) (Snow Sedge) Caddisfly Adult from Mystery Creek #178 in Idaho
This specimen was 22 mm.
Female Timpanoga hecuba (Ephemerellidae) (Great Red Quill) Mayfly Dun from Mystery Creek #178 in Idaho
This specimen is 14 mm. Technically this is the subspecies T. h. hecuba. The Cascades, Sierras and further West is where the other subspecies, T. h. pacifica is found. The Great Basin seems to have formed a barrier preventing any overlap in their distribution.

Comments / replies

Crepuscular
Crepuscular's profile picture
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 920
Crepuscular on Sep 20, 2013September 20th, 2013, 4:35 am EDT
OK Now you're just showing off! ;)
the moonrise photo is ridiculous! I love it.
Feathers5
Posts: 287
Feathers5 on Sep 20, 2013September 20th, 2013, 5:37 am EDT
Awesome photos. You have to be living a dream.
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Sep 20, 2013September 20th, 2013, 12:03 pm EDT
Jason, those colors are just mindblowing. Do they look just like that to the naked eye as well? Your photography is superb at bring them out. Wow, words just can't describe this...Thanks so much for sharing your adventures up there!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Troutnut
Troutnut's profile picture
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Sep 20, 2013September 20th, 2013, 1:18 pm EDT
Yes, this is what the colors look like to the naked eye. If anything, they're more vivid in person. They look fantastic in my editing software (Lightroom) but unfortunately the way jpegs and color spaces in web browsers work I can't get them to faithfully reproduce what I see on my screen. Everything on the site is a bit flatter and more muted than the real deal.

I do use a polarizing filter, which brings out deep blue skies and reduces glare in some of the pictures. So a few of them are more like what you'd see while wearing polarized sunglasses. But in general that filter usually just compensates a bit for the camera's shortcomings. No camera really does justice to these scenes.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Sep 23, 2013September 23rd, 2013, 9:43 am EDT
OK Now you're just showing off! ;)


I agree Eric...He hasn't gone completely native though...Once he parks the bike and gets a 4 wheeler we will never see him in the Lower 48 ever again! ;) That's a sure sign he's done.

Wonderful stuff Jason.

Spence

Riding in Valdez Creek road. We weren't the only ones with this idea. The Department of Fish & Game hotline mentioned that there were some caribou in an an area reachable from this road (several miles in), but it's in a non-motorized area. So people were accessing it via foot, bicycle, and even pack horse. Taiga found the horses very interesting.


I should of read this before I posted!
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Troutnut
Troutnut's profile picture
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Sep 23, 2013September 23rd, 2013, 10:57 am EDT
Once he parks the bike and gets a 4 wheeler


Never!
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Sep 23, 2013September 23rd, 2013, 3:23 pm EDT
Great photos. In addition to the moon shot, my favorites were the tundra colors and fireweed photos.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell

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