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Artistic view of a Male Pteronarcys californica (Pteronarcyidae) (Giant Salmonfly) Stonefly Adult from the Gallatin River in Montana
Pteronarcys californica

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

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.

Dinking around on a small stream

Dinking around on a small stream

By Troutnut on September 28th, 2020
On September 29th I went up to the mountains to sight in my hunting rifle in advance of deer season. However, the custom ammunition I ordered was the wrong length and wouldn't fit into the chamber, so that job ended quickly. (I won't name the company, because they bent over backward to make it right, and I got it fixed by hunting season.) As a consolation prize to make the trip productive, I drove to a nearby stream and played with the colorful little rainbows and cutthroat trout on perdigon nymphs. As a bonus, I caught a striking and unusual species of Siphlonurus mayfly.

Photos by Troutnut from Mystery Creek #249 in Washington

Mystery Creek # 249 in Washington
Mystery Creek # 249 in Washington

Closeup insects by Troutnut from Mystery Creek #249 in Washington

Lateral view of a Female Siphlonurus autumnalis (Siphlonuridae) (Gray Drake) Mayfly Spinner from Mystery Creek #249 in Washington
I found this specimen and saw a few more of its kind during midday on a small, steep, rocky creek fairly high in the Cascades, different from the previously reported habitats of its species.

Comments / replies

Red_green_h's profile picture
New Mexico

Posts: 64
Red_green_h on Nov 17, 2020November 17th, 2020, 8:05 am EST
Man those are some pretty fish. Small streams like those are near and dear to my heart. I could fish small stuff like that each and every day. What set up do you like to use on streams like that?
Troutnut's profile picture
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Nov 17, 2020November 17th, 2020, 11:04 am EST
I use a lot of different setups on small streams. I have one dedicated rod for them, an Orvis 7' 4-weight, and I stick with that one when fishing in tight quarters. This particular small stream flows through a really wide-open, rocky channel with lots of backcast room, and I wanted more practice with my Euro nymphing rig, so I used that.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Nov 19, 2020November 19th, 2020, 6:38 am EST
Yes, beautiful fish! Well done.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Nov 19, 2020November 19th, 2020, 7:33 am EST
Nice little stream with pretty fish! And yeah, a 7-footer is perfect for that situation, maybe even a 6 1/2-foot 2-weight (I have a couple). Thanks for posting!

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Dec 27, 2020December 27th, 2020, 5:42 am EST
Has anyone tried using nanofill material for leaders??!

Why would anyone want to do that? Nanofil is a Berkley braided line of very strong break strength to diameter ratio. However it is not transparent like nylon or fluorocarbon so while it is thin it is clearly visible in the water. Additionally Nanofil braid is super slippery line and a normal clinch knot or Davy knot won't hold. I would never have the patience to tie a Palomar knot every time I wanted to change my fly.

Modern nylon and fluorocarbon are amply strong enough to land large trout and other game fish on surprisingly thin and light tippets. Learn to use them and know their advantages and limitations.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.

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