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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.

Dorsal view of a Kogotus (Perlodidae) Stonefly Nymph from Mystery Creek #199 in Washington
This one pretty clearly keys to Kogotus, but it also looks fairly different from specimens I caught in the same creek about a month later in the year. With only one species of the genus known in Washington, I'm not sure about the answer to this ID.
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.

Troutnut
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Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Jul 30, 2008July 30th, 2008, 3:37 pm EDT
Creating this other topic got me thinking about numbers, and I don't think we've ever discussed it here: What's your best numbers day?

For trout, my best was somewhere in the 80s on the Brule in Wisconsin... most of them were small, but there were 20+ decent fish and several really nice ones, too.

My best numbers day in Alaska was 70 grayling, averaging about 15 inches. That was some amazing fly fishing!
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Dreedee
Posts: 16
Dreedee on Aug 2, 2008August 2nd, 2008, 1:25 pm EDT
Jason:

I think many of us are reluctant to answer the question. If our number is "low," it implies we're not very good fisherman; if it's high, folk'll think we're fathead braggarts. It's a bit of a "no-win" question. But, I'll admit, 70 fish on the Brule is quite an accomplishment. I wrote a story on the Brule for Fly Rod and Reel in '99. Bob White helped me get it published by painting some pics to go with it (the mag didn't like my pictures). I love the Brule, though haven't had the time to get out of River Falls. Love the Website.
CaseyP
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Aug 2, 2008August 2nd, 2008, 3:46 pm EDT
the world seems to divide into counters and non-counters. personally, i cannot count higher than three, so many of my fishing days are "good" days because i lost count...like today in MT when we found a bunch of cutthroat and rainbows in a mountain creek. lost count both before and after lunch!
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Wbranch
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York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Aug 3, 2008August 3rd, 2008, 12:58 am EDT
Are we going to get the B.A.S.S. mentality of numbers and yanking 'em in with 40# line?

I read once where there are stages in a fly fisher's life; initially he is most concerned with how many he catches, then he is interested in catching bigger fish and finally looking to catch specific big fish.

I've been at the third stage for many years. I only go to rivers where 20" and larger trout swim. I seek out rise forms that appear to have been created by large fish. I've landed at least two dozen 20" - 23" browns this season. My largest non migratory brown was a 26" behemoth caught on the WB of the Delaware in June of 2002.

Once upon a time in my youthful twenties I hiked into Pelican Creek, a spawning tributary of the Yellowstone, and landed like 73 cutthroat between 12" and 17" in about six hours.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Troutnut
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Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Aug 3, 2008August 3rd, 2008, 5:23 am EDT
I didn't mean to imply that the question should be approached with a B.A.S.S.-like "contest" mentality at all. Often in fly fishing one difficult fish takes a lot more skill to catch than 70 easy ones. So I asked out of plain old curiosity, not competitiveness.

I'm sure plenty of you just don't count your fish at all... but as a math major studying quantitative fishery science (or as my girlfriend calls it, "counting fish") I can't help it!
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
RleeP
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Aug 3, 2008August 3rd, 2008, 4:45 pm EDT
>I'm sure plenty of you just don't count your fish at all... but as a math major studying quantitative fishery science (or as my girlfriend calls it, "counting fish") I can't help it!>

Thank you... I was hoping somebody would mention we involuntary counters..

I've tried everything I know not to count fish.

I've put rubber bands around my wrist and snapped them vigorously when I caught myself counting. All I got was sore wrists.

I've read Proper, Schweibert and Art Lee before going astream so that I might become more philosophically fit. All it made me do is crave French cheese...

I know I'll never get to Stage 4 if I don't change my ways, but I cannot help myself. There's a clicker in my head and it duly records every fish.

What's worse, because I never catch big fish, I may not even make it to Stage 3.

But enough bellyaching from me. I should answer the question:

Back in the mid-80's at a TU Chapter outing based at Sizerville State Park near Emporium, I caught 249 mixed wild brook and brown trout in a single day while fishing 11 streams over 15.5 hours. Laid end to end, this was 1,442 inches or trout or an average of approx. 5.8" per fish.

I did catch them all on dry flies though. I'm hoping this fact will be taken into consideration when my application for advancement to Stage 3 is acted upon...
Wbranch
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York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Aug 3, 2008August 3rd, 2008, 6:42 pm EDT
With your affliction it is very doubtful that you will ever rise to the Second Level of Perfection.

Some of us are born to be quantity driven while others seek only the quality astream that large trout can provide.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Aug 4, 2008August 4th, 2008, 2:01 am EDT
I'm still quite young, so perhaps I just haven't lived long enough to desire the specific big fish, but for now I'll have to respectfully disagree with Matt's stages a fisherman progresses through as he matures. While I think we do learn to appreciate different things the longer we fish, I don't think those things must be either big or specific fish (though they certainly can be). I've fished for big, specific fish, and it's fun and challenging, but I get just as much enjoyment from other accomplishments or experiences.

For example, I discovered a small brookie stream the other day that was unnamed on my DeLorme map - that was in itself quite satisfying. I caught probably fifteen fish (didn't really count), but only two actually made me laugh with excitement when I caught them. One was the biggest fish of the day, almost 10", and it exploded a full three feet laterally in a glassy pool to inhale my fly. The second was about 2", but I caught it in such a difficult spot with such a clever presentation that it was probably the most satisfying fish of the day. Now, when I go back, there's no doubt I'll be looking for my big friend in the glassy pool, but I'll also go hoping to make some clever or well-executed presentation to a really tough spot as well in hopes of having my ingenuity and skill rewarded by a very small fish. Finally, every time I go fishing I take at least one moment to stop everything I'm doing and breathe deeply.

I hope I never grow out of any of these things.

-Shawn

P.S. To answer Jason's initial question, I'm not sure (I usually lose track when the catching is good). But I do remember one time on a very heavily fished stretch of a popular stream in which I caught upwards of 30 fish in about 2 hours covering only 100 yards or so of stream, during the sulphur hatch. I've fished that hatch many times in that stretch, but that's the only time I literally could not keep the fish off my line. I was fishing a nymph without an indicator, and I was catching so many fish that the other fishermen there stopped to watch. That moment was pretty cool and pretty fleeting...
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
RleeP
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Aug 4, 2008August 4th, 2008, 3:31 am EDT
>>I'm still quite young, so perhaps I just haven't lived long enough to desire the specific big fish, but for now I'll have to respectfully disagree with Matt's stages a fisherman progresses through as he mature.>>

No, Shawn. I don't think it has anything to do with age, maturation or progress, although the word I believe best describes it, like progress, does begin with a "P".

That word would be preference.

Or at least, that is how I prefer to see it...:)
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Aug 4, 2008August 4th, 2008, 6:01 am EDT
Rleep,

"Matt's stages a fisherman progresses through as he mature."

Hey, I didn't develop those stages, I saw this in Schwiebert's "Matching the Hatch". The chapter heading is "On Ethics and Philosophy Astream" page 152 - 153 basically describe his concept of an fly angler's growth and stages.












Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Aug 4, 2008August 4th, 2008, 6:17 am EDT
My apologies, Matt - I shouldn't have misrepresented that idea as yours - as you said originally, you read it in a book.

Now that you've revealed the author, though, would it be too precocious of me to say that I disagree with Schwiebert's progression?

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Aug 4, 2008August 4th, 2008, 8:48 am EDT
Shawn,

Personally I don't give a hoot if you want to be precocious or not. Everyone is entitled to their own passion or poison. However Mr. Schwiebert was considered by many to be the Dean of American fly fishing for the last half of the twentieth century. So if you want to disagree with Ernie (I called him Ernie)that is entirely your preogative.

I actually wish there were more of you guys who wax poetically about the virtues of small creeks and the wild 8" browns and 7" brookies. Then there would be fewer guys taking up space on the rivers I prefer to fish.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Aug 4, 2008August 4th, 2008, 4:40 pm EDT
Fair enough, Matt. From the photos you post of your catches, no one would know you have a problem finding good water. Traffic on the stream is a funny thing, a blessing and a curse. It's something so great that you want to share it with someone, but you never want to show up and find some stranger in your spot, no matter how nice a guy he'd be to fish with.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
CaseyP
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Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Aug 10, 2008August 10th, 2008, 6:35 am EDT
update on non-counting: a few days ago in MT i was compelled to actually fish a trico hatch by my guide. to reward my persistence, the hatch went on until noon, and the fish never stopped slurping. guides don't lose count; he says 40 fish by lunchtime. if i had not been there, i would never believe that 1) fish really do like those little things, and 2) the pattern matters. my optometrist is the hero of that day!
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Aug 12, 2008August 12th, 2008, 4:00 am EDT
Great day, Casey! Congratulations. Like you, I tend to lose count, but sometimes I do estimate. I believe we all want to remember, and different people do it in different ways. I don't take photos, but I do measure big fish and record various details of trips in a journal. All I can say for sure at this point is that it's been a great season for me this year; thanks to the bows, brookies, and browns that let me connect. And I'd agree--sometimes, and possibly especially with hard fished Trico hatches, pattern does matter. Tight lines,
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Briankeen
altoona pa

Posts: 2
Briankeen on Aug 19, 2008August 19th, 2008, 1:38 pm EDT
My best day was during sulphur season with tandem nymphs . MY buddy Keystone witnessed the 100 plus day . Total tally 113 (lucky number) . I fished from sun up to sun down .
RK
Keep the high ground ! William Darby
MarkP
Cary, Il.

Posts: 4
MarkP on Aug 26, 2008August 26th, 2008, 7:04 am EDT
Midwest:
Around 60 in about 8 hours on the West Fork of the Kickapoo in Wisconsin.

New England:
Around 50 on the Hoosic River in Western Mass.

I say "around" because counting trout for a fly fisher against the rules...
I love fly fishing and fly tying more than a fat kid likes cake...

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