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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.

Dorsal view of a Zapada cinctipes (Nemouridae) (Tiny Winter Black) Stonefly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
Nymphs of this species were fairly common in late-winter kick net samples from the upper Yakima River. Although I could not find a key to species of Zapada nymphs, a revision of the Nemouridae family by Baumann (1975) includes the following helpful sentence: "2 cervical gills on each side of midline, 1 arising inside and 1 outside of lateral cervical sclerites, usually single and elongate, sometimes constricted but with 3 or 4 branches arising beyond gill base in Zapada cinctipes." This specimen clearly has the branches and is within the range of that species.
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.

Report at a Glance

General RegionYellowstone National Park
Specific LocationLa,mar River, Gardner, Yellowstone River, Soda Butte, Trout Lake,Armstrong Spring Creek in Paradise Valley
Dates FishedAugust 13-24
Time of DayAll Day
Fish CaughtCutthroats, Cutbows, Rainbows, Browns, Brookies and Whitefish
Conditions & HatchesFirst few days were very cold, but by the fourth day the air warmed and the hatches came alive. We fished BWOs, Sulfers, Flavs, PMDs, Rusty Spinners and Hoppers. The water was about average depth I was told and clear.

Details and Discussion

Lastchance
Portage, PA

Posts: 437
Lastchance on Sep 2, 2009September 2nd, 2009, 1:09 pm EDT
It was the trip of a lifetime for me. The scenery is incredible and worth the trip itself. There are plenty of fish from 12 to 16 inches with a 20-inchers very possible. I landed one cutt over 20 in Trout Lake and another one 18 in the Lamar. We fished literally in the midst of a Bison herd a few times. We saw two grizzly bears, black bears, elk, mule deer, whitetails, coyotes, mountain goats, pronghorn antelope, and assorted birds. The purple mountains, valleys and foothills were just beautiful. Well, I don't want to bore the people that have already experienced the place.
CaseyP
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Sep 3, 2009September 3rd, 2009, 8:35 am EDT
uh-oh! another convert...yeah, it's great, isn't it? welcome to the club. ;-)
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Sep 3, 2009September 3rd, 2009, 3:28 pm EDT
Good for you, Bruce. I've only been out once, tacking a few days on before and after a conference I attended in Jackson Hole. Like you, I found my trip out west utterly amazing. I was there just after ice out, and everything was high and muddy except the Firehole and Henry's Fork, so I missed the cutts, but had a blast. I fished near bison one day, and in driving snow a couple of times, but the fish cooperated nicely. Thanks for sharing your report--any photos?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Creno
Grants Pass, OR

Posts: 302
Creno on Sep 3, 2009September 3rd, 2009, 5:23 pm EDT
Pick up a copy of 'Playing God In Yellowstone' to think about what you missed. And on your next trip be sure to try the upper meadows of Slough Creek.
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Sep 4, 2009September 4th, 2009, 11:15 am EDT
Will do. The owner of High Country Flyshop in Jackson Hole, who was very helpful to me for my past trip, told me that he loves Slough Creek. I hope to get back sometime.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Flyfishpa
New Germany, Pa

Posts: 1
Flyfishpa on Oct 13, 2009October 13th, 2009, 10:18 am EDT
Bruce: I've fished from West-Central Wyoming up through North-West Montana and you fished some of the best water. It's absolutely amazing and unlike anything one can experience back here in Pa. We have some awesome fishing but the obvious attributes that you describe of Yellowstone are unparalleled anywhere else. I'm already planning for next year, starting on the Greys and Green rivers in Wyoming and heading north to end up camping along Slough Creek for a few nights. Sight fishing the upper meadows of Slough with a big old rubber-legged stonefly is something everyone should experience once. This is my first post on Troutnut and I figured I'd start with you since we must be neighbors with me living in New Germany.
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Oct 14, 2009October 14th, 2009, 6:20 am EDT
Bruce,

Bore on, man! Don't you know this is the kind of stuff that just may get us through this winter? I'm sitting at my desk, in my office, and now I'm running down memory lane because of your report...You have already helped me through this day! Ich danke Sie!

Back in 2004, just before Labor Day, I took a horseback trip with Blue Ribbon Flies up to the third meadow of Slough Creek. The out-fitters were setting up camp and we all ran down to the river. I was walking alone the banks and spotted a fish feeding in a deep bend in the river. I cast over to him and had a 17" Cutt on my line within minutes of actually seeing the river for the first time.

All the work us midwestern anglers do back home to catch a sulky old brown hiding up under some overhanging tag alders or tucked up under a bank in an impossible spot only prepares us for the chances we get to fish outwest.

Bruce, just thank the river gods for giving you the chance to bore your fellow anglers with fish stories and providing you with that smile you have been wearing lately!

Just an aside...It was interesting to me that the Cutts, when hooked, bare down and dive to the deepest part of a run. You have to work to get their heads up. The fish I mentioned above walked me upstream as if I had a dog on a leash. If you catch it's cousin the Rainbow, on the other hand, he flips completely out and goes airborne...It's weird that these two closely related fish have such different behaviors.

Thanks for the diversion and I agree with the above post...We aren't opposed to photos. If you don't know already, you go to the photography section on this site and download the pics there and it posts so we can view them.

Thanks Again!

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Lastchance
Portage, PA

Posts: 437
Lastchance on Oct 14, 2009October 14th, 2009, 11:13 am EDT
Gees, I tried to load the photos twice, but I don't know if I went through the photography section. I'll try again. The trip was wild and wonderful and I could go on all night. Everyday another memory reminds me of the great time. I wish we could all go together.
Bruce
CaseyP
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Oct 16, 2009October 16th, 2009, 7:12 am EDT
I wish we could all go together.--Lastchance


yeah, that's why i buy lottery tickets...it's really cool to go yourself, but even better with friends virtual and real!
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
JOHNW
JOHNW's profile picture
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
JOHNW on Oct 17, 2009October 17th, 2009, 6:55 am EDT
Bruce,
That was the same area where I had my first western fishing experiences. Soda Butte proved to be the ticket that week.

If you want remote head up the lamar river toward the Hoodoo's or better yet head to NW Montana and the Bob Marshal Wilderness.

Thank god Mr. Roosevelt and company had the foresight to set that land aside for "posterity"!!!!!!!!!!!!!
JW
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
Lastchance
Portage, PA

Posts: 437
Lastchance on Oct 18, 2009October 18th, 2009, 10:47 am EDT
Hey Casey & John: If I win the lottery we all go out West in prime time. I'd love to be out there now with the leaves colored and snow in the mountains.


John: The next time I go out I'd like to explore more wilderness areas. I think it might take 2 full weeks to enjoy that kind of vacation.
JOHNW
JOHNW's profile picture
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
JOHNW on Oct 19, 2009October 19th, 2009, 11:35 am EDT
Bruce,
You can do a very reasonable back country trip in about 10 days including travel the caveat being that you must commit to a single river/system. That is not a "bad thing" and when it comes down to the cost of things booking a back country trip through an outfitter is pretty much a break even compared to Pilgriming it and are much more comfortable.
I highly reccomend the South Fork of the Flat Head for such a trip. It is chock full of very willing westslopes that have the mentality of brookies around here not to mention the chance at some truly awe inspiring bull trout (they will try to eat 16"+ cutties).
JW
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn

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