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

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

Dorsal view of a Grammotaulius betteni (Limnephilidae) (Northern Caddisfly) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This is a striking caddis larva with an interesting color pattern on the head. Here are some characteristics I was able to see under the microscope, but could not easily expose for a picture:
- The prosternal horn is present.
- The mandible is clearly toothed, not formed into a uniform scraper blade.
- The seems to be only 2 major setae on the ventral edge of the hind femur.
- Chloride epithelia seem to be absent from the dorsal side of any abdominal segments.
Based on these characteristics and the ones more easily visible from the pictures, this seems to be Grammotaulius. The key's description of the case is spot-on: "Case cylindrical, made of longitudinally arranged sedge or similar leaves," as is the description of the markings on the head, "Dorsum of head light brownish yellow with numerous discrete, small, dark spots." The spot pattern on the head is a very good match to figure 19.312 of Merritt R.W., Cummins, K.W., and Berg, M.B. (2019). The species ID is based on Grammotaulius betteni being the only species of this genus known in Washington state.
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.

Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Jul 31, 2009July 31st, 2009, 6:32 am EDT
After my somewhat lenghty hiatus from posting I thought some of my friends would enjoy this picture of a very healthy wild rainbow.

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Sekoutdoors
NE Montana

Posts: 12
Sekoutdoors on Jul 31, 2009July 31st, 2009, 8:27 am EDT
Sweet Pic! I started fly fishing last week. Long time bass angler and tournament fisherman. Grew up fishing for trout in S. MO and AR, but never with flies, had a blast last week around Yellowstone and Bozeman. Had so much fun heading back Aug 12th! Any tips for a guy starting out?
Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Jul 31, 2009July 31st, 2009, 8:41 am EDT
Gorgeous fish, Matt. Glad to see the finny ones are treating you well.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Jul 31, 2009July 31st, 2009, 2:43 pm EDT
Louis,

I had a great trip and caught many large browns and rainbows as well as dozens of 17" - 19" fish. The large fish were so big that I was wishing that there were more of the 17" - 19" fish. A large fish would peel all of the fly line and 100 yards of backing in one, or two, sustained runs. It could take fifteen minutes to land those big guys that you just couldn't go after due to where you may be standing in the flow.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Jul 31, 2009July 31st, 2009, 2:49 pm EDT
Sekoutdoors -

"Any tips for a guy starting out?"

Your inquiry covers such a broad area - might you be able to narrow it down to a couple of topics? There are dozens of good books about beginning fly fishing and probably half a dozen that are excellent.

IMO, and it is old school, I'd recommend Joe Brooks "Trout Fishing" and another Brooks book titled "The Complete Book of Fly Fishing". It is likely that they are both out of print but a good used fly fishing book dealer probably has a copy.

They were two of the earliest books I ever read about "how to" fly fish. They have a wealth of information about all aspects of fly fishing.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Sekoutdoors
NE Montana

Posts: 12
Sekoutdoors on Jul 31, 2009July 31st, 2009, 3:40 pm EDT
Thanks, I actually was able to read those books via libraries. I am having a lot of fun learning a new way to fish, I doubt I will ever tie my own flys, but I am hooked!
Troutnut
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Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Jul 31, 2009July 31st, 2009, 3:41 pm EDT
My favorite early how-to book was "Prospecting for Trout" by Tom Rosenbauer (also/currently sold as The Orvis Guide to Prospecting for Trout, I think). He's also got another good one, "Reading the Water."
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Troutnut
Troutnut's profile picture
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Jul 31, 2009July 31st, 2009, 3:43 pm EDT
I doubt I will ever tie my own flys


Hehe, we'll throw that quote back at you in a few months. :)
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Ericd
Mpls, MN

Posts: 113
Ericd on Jul 31, 2009July 31st, 2009, 4:29 pm EDT
"I doubt I will ever tie my own flys"

You're right Jason. I thought that and was convinced of that as recently as May. I can't wait to use my new, albeit cheap, fly tying kit this weekend! I've been perusing the insect and tying forums here a lot lately.
How am I going to break it to my wife that my fly fishing is going to get MORE involved? That's not completely rhetorical.

Note: I couldn't think of the word "rhetorical" and had to ask my wife what that word was, "where you are asking a question and not really looking for an answer..." Case in point, she asked if I was on my "fishing forum again"
Sekoutdoors
NE Montana

Posts: 12
Sekoutdoors on Aug 1, 2009August 1st, 2009, 3:34 am EDT
Actually, had to retire from Nerve and arthritis damage at 30 after being a Marine, Police CHief, Vol Fireman, and a bunch of other wiz bang stuff. Not that I wouldnt, but delicate work is not something my hands do well anymore, I will still show up to the incident, dont ask me to help the bomb squad!
Joe
Aaron7_8
Aaron7_8's profile picture
Helena Montana

Posts: 115
Aaron7_8 on Aug 2, 2009August 2nd, 2009, 12:52 pm EDT
I agree with jason on "Prospecting for Trout" he recommended it to me last winter and it is a good read with some great ways of looking at things. Also another great book recommended to me was Lefty Kreh's "Presenting the Fly" it has some really great tips and was the first time I ever had a roll cast described/photoed that I could acurately duplicate.

Matt, I am glad you had a great time but please do not perpetuate the myth that there are big fish in Montana.
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Aug 2, 2009August 2nd, 2009, 11:52 pm EDT
Aaron,

You'll note that I didn't mention where I went - no need in having any more guys on any of the MT rivers. Aaron is right the only big fish in MT are from the hatcheries all of the wild fish are little 8" - 11" rainbows.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Aug 3, 2009August 3rd, 2009, 4:59 am EDT
OK, I'm convinced. Just cancelled a week trip in Montana. Don't want to be bothered with taking such tiny fish off the fly.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Aaron7_8
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Helena Montana

Posts: 115
Aaron7_8 on Aug 3, 2009August 3rd, 2009, 1:15 pm EDT
Matt you forgot to mention the ever present whitefish. Nothing says dissappointment when you are fish a streamer and you pull in a 18" whitey.
Wiflyfisher
Wiflyfisher's profile picture
Wisconsin

Posts: 622
Wiflyfisher on Aug 3, 2009August 3rd, 2009, 4:06 pm EDT
OK, I'm convinced. Just cancelled a week trip in Montana. Don't want to be bothered with taking such tiny fish off the fly.


Louis there is the odd chance of catching something a little bigger like this... http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/article_d6955d81-3290-5adb-8892-87cf20a37553.html

If you going to fish for guppies on the Madison River near Quake Lake be sure to check out the Whiting dry fly hackle selection here... http://www.campfirelodgewestyellowstone.com/west-yellowstone-fly-shop.asp. They say they have largest selection of Whiting necks anywhere, close to 1000 necks.
GONZO
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
GONZO on Aug 3, 2009August 3rd, 2009, 9:13 pm EDT
Now you've done it, John. After all of Aaron's efforts to convince us that there are no big fish in Montana, you have to produce massive evidence to the contrary. Shame on you.

Here's my favorite part of that article:
...rather than slurping caddis and mayflies from the surface like an average brown that would likely reach a maximum length of 19.5 inches.

Not only do they flaunt a 20 lb. behemoth, but they calculate the "average" down to the decimal point! And notice the use of the word "likely." I think Aaron should send an angry letter to the editor of the Billings Gazette. Clearly, they are working at cross-purposes.
Wiflyfisher
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Wisconsin

Posts: 622
Wiflyfisher on Aug 4, 2009August 4th, 2009, 12:35 am EDT
Lloyd, sorry but that article has been all over the Internet. The cat is out of the bag. Everyone is talking and dreaming about going West to Montana with hopes of catching a 20 pounder!

Plus, articles like that keep the crowds off of the Wisconsin streams where the slurping, bug feeding Salmo trutta only reach a max length of 7.25 inches.
Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Aug 4, 2009August 4th, 2009, 3:05 am EDT
Trip's back on!

"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Aug 4, 2009August 4th, 2009, 3:05 am EDT
Just kidding, I have neither time nor funds to go out west. But one can dream.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Wiflyfisher
Wiflyfisher's profile picture
Wisconsin

Posts: 622
Wiflyfisher on Aug 4, 2009August 4th, 2009, 3:05 am EDT
By the way, if I lived in MT I would be poor, divorced and spend my summer days as a trout fishing hermit hunting slurping 19.5" fishies, eating smoked whiteys and mumbling to myself a lot.

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