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Lateral view of a Female Hexagenia limbata (Ephemeridae) (Hex) Mayfly Dun from the Namekagon River in Wisconsin
Hex Mayflies
Hexagenia limbata

The famous nocturnal Hex hatch of the Midwest (and a few other lucky locations) stirs to the surface mythically large brown trout that only touch streamers for the rest of the year.

Dorsal view of a Neoleptophlebia (Leptophlebiidae) Mayfly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
Some characteristics from the microscope images for the tentative species id: The postero-lateral projections are found only on segment 9, not segment 8. Based on the key in Jacobus et al. (2014), it appears to key to Neoleptophlebia adoptiva or Neoleptophlebia heteronea, same as this specimen with pretty different abdominal markings. However, distinguishing between those calls for comparing the lengths of the second and third segment of the labial palp, and this one (like the other one) only seems to have two segments. So I'm stuck on them both. It's likely that the fact that they're immature nymphs stymies identification in some important way.
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.
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Finally, fly fishing!

Finally, fly fishing!

By Troutnut on April 30th, 2014
In this area, the first place to catch grayling each year is also one of the least idyllic places in Alaska to fish, a spring-fed slough in downtown North Pole where many of the Chena River's grayling congregate to spawn. It runs low and clear while all the other rivers in the area are high, turbid, and still holding more icebergs than grayling. The angling pressure at popular access points looked more like the Catskills than Alaska, but I was still excited to catch my first fish in months. The grayling were abundant and eager, and I enjoyed ridiculously easy fishing on nymphs and more interesting action on dries for a couple hours before I tired of the highway buzz and the gas station scenery and headed home. Soon, water levels will drop and the real Alaska will be ready for play.

Photos by Troutnut from Badger Slough in Alaska

First fish of 2014
A decent grayling for this stream
Badger Slough in Alaska

On-stream insect photos by Troutnut from Badger Slough in Alaska

The least welcome sign of spring

From Badger Slough in Alaska

Comments / replies

Upstate NY

Posts: 160
Catskilljon on May 2, 2014May 2nd, 2014, 3:28 am EDT
Wow, those pictures are really nice! I have seen photo's of Grayling but didn't realize they were so colorful...your shots are great.

Glad to see another is finally getting into some fish, sheesh this has been a slow start. CJ
Kschaefer3's profile picture
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Kschaefer3 on May 2, 2014May 2nd, 2014, 7:30 am EDT
I agree with CJ, beautiful fish! The colors that comes off grayling when the light hits them is incredible.
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on May 2, 2014May 2nd, 2014, 10:37 am EDT
Nice fishies, Jason! Congrats on finally getting out with a fly rod. You got mosquitos already??? We haven't even seen them around here yet, and I think it's actually going to be a while...

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on May 2, 2014May 2nd, 2014, 6:02 pm EDT

Good stuff! Makes me wonder what it may have been like fishing for them in the Au Sable before they completely disappeared in the nineteen-teens sometime. A beautiful fish...

I've mentioned it here before but the only Grayling left in Grayling is in the Grayling restaurant, hanging on the wall. If I remember it sometime I'll take a picture of it.

If you are struggling with a little civilization in Alaska, I'm wondering how you are ever going to make it "down in the lower 48". :)


"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
PaulRoberts's profile picture

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on May 2, 2014May 2nd, 2014, 7:03 pm EDT
Stunning grayling. Oh my! What beautiful colors. Oh my.
Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on May 12, 2014May 12th, 2014, 3:37 am EDT
Beautiful, Jason. Thanks.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell

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