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

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

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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Report at a Glance

General RegionCentre County
Specific LocationAxeman
Dates FishedThursday March 18
Time of Day9:00 - 11:00
Fish CaughtNothing
Conditions & HatchesHigh, 46 degrees, nothing but midges.

Details and Discussion

Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Mar 18, 2010March 18th, 2010, 9:17 pm EDT
Fished Spring Creek yesterday with Tony, aka Gutcutter, water just too high, and almost no visibilty. Flow was just under 300 cfs at the Axeman gage at 6:00 a.m. and still 270 at 7:00 p.m.

I nymphed hard for two hours and only caught the bottom. Left at 11:45 and drove down to Clarks Creek. Water was up significantly but I liked the flow rate and the clarity was excellent. Water was very cold and many of the fish were sluggish. Landed eight and missed/lost another six.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Mar 19, 2010March 19th, 2010, 7:42 am EDT
Matt, next time Spring is up and muddy, you might try streamers, especially sculpin patterns. Anyway, it'll just be a little longer till the Hendricksons start popping near Hancock.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Gutcutter's profile picture

Posts: 470
Gutcutter on Mar 28, 2010March 28th, 2010, 8:38 am EDT
as matt stated, we met on spring creek thursday morning. the water came down steadily and the flow decreased towards normal over the next few days. there were plenty of olives - they just weren't in the areas that are traditional for this time of year. i had a tough time catching fish on nymphs as matt described. only got a few fish each day before the olive hatch started. i tend to fish the same way matt does - tight line with splitshot. maybe the bobber guys did better.
i also witnessed the best stonefly hatch i have ever seen in 30+ years of fishing this stream. and i'm not talking little black stones.
they were a grey stone size 14 and i never saw a fish rise to the hundreds that were dropping eggs and sitting on the water for 2-5 seconds before they flew upward to do it again.
there was also an 18 little black stone and a 16 tan caddis plus a lot of very small cream midges.
again, few fish on #12-16 stonefly nymphs swung into the shallows with no weight (sight nymphing) or deep in the pools with splitshot.
when the olives came off it was really cool to see the mayflies heading up away from the water and the stoneflies heading down towards the water.
the fish didn't start rising in earnest until after 3pm and they seemed to be taking emergers in riffles instead of duns in pools. they were tough to see. i did pretty well thursday friday and saturday
i also caught 4 fish up at the paradise on 26 and 28 midges with my new cane rod. first fish i have caught with it.
all in all an o.k. trip - about 25 or so fish in 2 and a half days, but disapointed that it was not as good as recent years.
i suspect the massive run-off and wild flows had something to do with it.
i am usually only up that way in march and august so i don't know if those stones are common. when i started this obsession as a teenager with a drivers license, i fished there at least once a month -every month- and don't ever recall seeing large stoneflies like that.
are they there but normally at another time?
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Mar 28, 2010March 28th, 2010, 11:41 am EDT
I've seined Spring quite extensively, and I can't recall ever even dredging up a stonefly nymph. I also can't recall ever having seen an adult on that stream. But my experience on it only goes back 6 years or so. Good stuff.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis

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