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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

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.

Case view of a Pycnopsyche guttifera (Limnephilidae) (Great Autumn Brown Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
It's only barely visible in one of my pictures, but I confirmed under the microscope that this one has a prosternal horn and the antennae are mid-way between the eyes and front of the head capsule.

I'm calling this one Pycnopsyche, but it's a bit perplexing. It seems to key definitively to at least Couplet 8 of the Key to Genera of Limnephilidae Larvae. That narrows it down to three genera, and the case seems wrong for the other two. The case looks right for Pycnopsyche, and it fits one of the key characteristics: "Abdominal sternum II without chloride epithelium and abdominal segment IX with only single seta on each side of dorsal sclerite." However, the characteristic "metanotal sa1 sclerites not fused, although often contiguous" does not seem to fit well. Those sclerites sure look fused to me, although I can make out a thin groove in the touching halves in the anterior half under the microscope. Perhaps this is a regional variation.

The only species of Pycnopsyche documented in Washington state is Pycnopsyche guttifera, and the colors and markings around the head of this specimen seem to match very well a specimen of that species from Massachusetts on Bugguide. So I am placing it in that species for now.

Whatever species this is, I photographed another specimen of seemingly the same species from the same spot a couple months later.
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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By Troutnut on July 11th, 2021
On July 12, 2021, my friend and I flew into Reno, rented a car, drove about an hour to Carson Pass, and hiked across the saddle to the north into the headwaters of the Upper Truckee River. There lies a large meadow where nonnative brook trout were largely extirpated to make space for a reintroduced population of native Lahontan Cutthroat. In this meadow, they never grow beyond the size of a light snack for their better-known brethren in Pyramid Lake far downstream. But I love fishing tiny streams for tiny, colorful trout, especially a subspecies I've never caught before. This was also a good chance to test camping gear that had rested all winter, and to begin to acclimate to high altitude before heading south to the Golden Trout Wilderness the next day.

Due to prolonged drought, the water was extremely low, but what water remained in the system was all from spring sources and plenty cold for fishing (55 ºF at 5 pm, on a day when the lowlands were scorching well above 100). Working with great stealth to avoid spooking the very wary fish in such skinny water, I caught and quickly released about twenty trout, of which the largest was a whopping nine inches long. There was ample bug life in the meadow, including some Drunella duns coming off and lots of boldly marked Ameletus nymphs ready to pop soon.

I also learned a harsh lesson about the perils of camping along the Pacific Crest Trail. My friend and I found a great campsite, empty when we arrived. We pitched our tents and went off to fish, returning at nightfall to catch some much-needed sleep. Now we had about five neighboring tents and at least ten people. One guy pitched his tent within five feet of my friend's. Another group made a campfire and sat around loudly chatting very late into the night. Apparently through-hikers don't have the same sense of outdoor etiquette as the rest of us, or standards along such a popular trail are just different. Either way, I won't repeat that mistake again.

Photos by Troutnut from the Upper Truckee River in California

Carson Pass from the trail to the Little Truckee

From the Upper Truckee River in California
Lupine and paintbrush surround the stream.

From the Upper Truckee River in California
My first Lahontan cutthroat

From the Upper Truckee River in California
Beautiful meadow in the headwaters of the Upper Truckee.

From the Upper Truckee River in California
Pretty little stream-resident Lahontan cutthroat trout

From the Upper Truckee River in California
The Upper Truckee River in California
The Upper Truckee River in California
By the standards of the Upper Truckee in the meadow I fished, this was a large, very enticing, easy-to-fish pool.

From the Upper Truckee River in California

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