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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.

Lateral view of a Psychodidae True Fly Larva from Mystery Creek #308 in Washington
This wild-looking little thing completely puzzled me. At first I was thinking beetle or month larva, until I got a look at the pictures on the computer screen. I made a couple of incorrect guesses before entomologist Greg Courtney pointed me in the right direction with Psychodidae. He suggested a possible genus of Thornburghiella, but could not rule out some other members of the tribe Pericomini.
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.

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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