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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

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 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 RegionSteelhead Alley
Specific Locationvarious steelhead creeks

Details and Discussion

Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Oct 7, 2010October 7th, 2010, 5:08 pm EDT
Found someone.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
PaulRoberts's profile picture

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Oct 8, 2010October 8th, 2010, 4:46 am EDT
Ooooooohh. Have fun. Steelhead are the one fish that could lure me into the darkness. It still angers my wife remembering the time she traveled from China in hopes of seeing me and found that a warm December brought waves of steelhead into my creeks, and I had it all to myself. I still don't regret it, and in the end I got the girl too. Maybe that's why I now get my fix on little streams and little trout -microcosmic challenges that help maintain a blissful domestic life. :)
rochester mn

Posts: 133
Dryfly on Oct 9, 2010October 9th, 2010, 1:45 pm EDT
Ah, the hunt for the elusive steelbow. Pennsylvania/Ohio and steelhead don't seem to match for me.
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Oct 12, 2010October 12th, 2010, 6:39 am EDT
>>Pennsylvania/Ohio and steelhead don't seem to match for me.>>

If PA wasn't planting a couple bazillion steelhead smolts a year, it wouldn't be a match for them either..

Its a Fritos Fishery whose management, every year, is more about what the local Chamber of Commerce wants than anything that actually has to do with fishing.

But the fish are big, the streams are generally shallow, shale chutes and accordingly, the opportunities for sight fishing to big migratory rainbows are probably unequaled anywhere else in the country. Once, about 15 or so years ago, I guided the Perkins siblings (Perk, Dave & Molly) on Elk Creek and the 2 guys told me it was their favorite sight fishing anywhere except for what they'd had in Kamchatka. In the words of Eric Burdon, "This really blew my mind.."

Elk Creek, in the same sentence as Kamchatka, fer crissakes.

Its just that I'm from the area originally and I get a giggle out of the notion of serious guys festooned in a 1000 bucks worth of gear standing in the same place in Elk Creek where my Dad used to net smelt, spear suckers and take his Plott hounds down for baths.

Speaking of coon dogs, if you go downstream around the first bend below what is now called Folly's End (used to be Bert Luther's place) you'll come to the high bank where my paternal grandfather made the mistake of inserting his foot into an argument between a couple of his Blue Ticks and a big ol' boar coon. The dogs and the coon were rolling around in a ball in the shallows making a hell of a commotion. So, the old man hauled off and kicked the coon in the slats. The coon came out of there with his teeth stuck in the toe of the old man's boot and on into his 2nd and 3rd toes as I recall. While the old man was never much on actual work (he got his screws turned in the Great War and to my knowledge never worked a day in his life on a regular job), he was very light on his feet for being 5'6", 205 lb. And never more so than when the coon had him by the toes. So, he's dancing around on the bank trying to shake him loose and after a few moments, pulled out a .22 pistolover and fed him 3 or 4 rounds. This relaxed the coon immensely and the old man got his foot back. My Dad (who was maybe 14 or so at the time, this was in the late 1930's) cut him a stick to use for a crutch and the old man went home, soaked his toe, smeared it with bag balm and taped it up. And was back out running them the next night, although I don't think he tried to referee any more coon/dog disagreements. He was a tough old b--t--d though. Once, when he was nearly 80, I saw him bite a chuck out of the side of a red delicious apple, with both his upper and lower full plates out. Try that...

But never mind me. I'm obviously getting old and cranky. Sorry for thread busting.

Bring back the Blue Pike! That's what Lake Erie is supposed to be about..
PaulRoberts's profile picture

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Oct 12, 2010October 12th, 2010, 9:38 am EDT
Enjoyed that! Thanks.
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Oct 13, 2010October 13th, 2010, 5:23 am EDT

Great stuff! You know any of us that spent any time in the woods with the "old guys"...usually grandpas & uncles, love reading stuff like that. We youngins learned somehow from the stupid mistakes made by those that went before us...When it's family these "teachable moments" can be a little embarassing though. I guess this is how the "culture" is passed down to the next generation...That is if the person involved somehow lived to actually pass it on. :)

I know you won't be kicking any coons!

Gun safety was a big thing with my grandfather and he went out of his way to make sure I knew the rules. He drove these home by telling me, and later having my great uncle Arlie himself tell me, about the time Arlie got some snow packed in the barrel of his shotgun and pealed it back like a banana or Elmer Fudd when he was out chasing Bugs. The violence of that story really got the attention of this 12 year old!

Unfortunately I had two rather close calls. My grandpa told me over and over to be careful around one of my cousins when we were out hunting...He somehow got a reputation as being dangerous..."Always know where he's at and keep an eye on him."

It was during the opening week of firearm season in the late 60's. It was my first time I was finally old enough to chase deer. I had hunted small game for a few years with my grandpa and dreamed of opening day.

We went up to the old house for lunch which was closed up and left our guns leaning up against the wall on the front porch and we walked down the road to my aunts to eat. When we returned I reached for my 30/30 and also grabbed my grandpa's 12 gauge for him. The snow had covered over an ice patch from the roof of the old house and I went down on my kness immediately. The hammer of my 30/30 hit the edge of the cement porch and went off...If I would of tried to protect myself and pointed the gun away from me I may have hit one of my uncles but instead the bullet went in to the wood cover over the porch...My left ear was ringing very loudly.

Until she passed away my grandmother would point to the small hole I had put in her roof over the porch and tell anyone and everyone this story...I had somehow become the rube!

A couple years before this happened I was hunting rabbits with the "old guys" around a "pothole" in some farmers field. It was really cold out; 20 below the night before and not warming up much. I saw my grandpa move away from a spot and decided to take his place there. Not too long after I hear the dogs and see a bunny running right at me. I raised the gun and shot. I had a 410 bolt action and the next shell somehow got jammed and I watched the wounded bunny run right by me and under an old rusting auto never to re-emerge...

All this happened in an instant and right after I made my first shot my eyes focused further out in to the woods. There stood one of my uncles jumping up and down, waving his hands in the air, and shouting something like "Don't shoot! Don't shoot! Hey!" Luckily I didn't come close to actually hitting him but it sure shook me up and rattled his cage a bit...

He still claims he loves me, but during that first deer season mentioned above he and I chased some deer deep in a swamp across from my grandma's place. There is a small trout stream in the middle of this swamp and we had to cross it a couple times. As soon as we got on one side of the stream the deer would somehow know and cross back to the other side...I always thought that my uncle should of placed me in a stationary spot and run the deer back past me...For some reason he thought it was better to keep me close by...I think the idea of me, a newbie, sitting in one spot with a 30/30 and he running around out there in the swamp just didn't sit too well with him that day...:)

"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

Posts: 16
Bowmandjk on Oct 30, 2010October 30th, 2010, 3:02 am EDT
Rleep Love your posts here and on paff and growing up on walnut and elk i remember the old fishing and swimming holes . I also remember nobody but us locals on these creeks.Hope you got into some fish when you came home in september.
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Oct 30, 2010October 30th, 2010, 10:21 am EDT
Hi Dave: Thanks... I'm getting up near that age where I'm liable to say just about anything that comes to mind so long as my mind is clear and I'm comfortable. These days, that requires being within about 28 seconds of a bathroom....:)

When I came back last month, I fished French Creek down below Venango a couple time for smallies. It was very low and the water was pretty cool for good bassin' (mid-50's), but I got enough to hold my interest.

Then my brother and I went down near Titusville trout fishing one full day and fished a few of our favorite Oil Creek tribs. It was as much a trip back in time as it was an actual fishing outing. My Mom grew up on Gilson Ridge, a little eat of Hydetown and her dad had a small farm up on one of the ridges overlooking McLaughlin Creek. Got a few small wild browns and a lot of memories of Opening Days with my brother and Dad in the 60's.

The best fishing I actually had was in a farm pond my brother-in-law has access to (I was staying with he and my sister) that's in that long flat along PA 97 in the middle 5 miles between Waterford and I-90. I went up there and caught largemouth from about 9-14" almost as fast as I could winch them out on big yellow Clousers and Pearl Estaz Murray Marauders. Then I put on a big black rabbit fur leech and crawled it along the bottom and got a big channel cat (by my standards anyway...), about 24", maybe 4-5 lb.

Its always good to come home. In about 3-4 years, we'll be coming for good. I already have my flat bottom 12" cartopper picked out and my electric motor. I'm going to take over from my Dad (who passed away in 08) as the Crappie King of LeBoeuf.


Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Nov 1, 2010November 1st, 2010, 5:47 am EDT
Dryfly wrote -

"Pennsylvania/Ohio and steelhead don't seem to match for me."

Are you suggesting that Lake Superior is a "better match" for steelhead?
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Nov 2, 2010November 2nd, 2010, 3:17 am EDT
>>Dryfly wrote -

"Pennsylvania/Ohio and steelhead don't seem to match for me."

Are you suggesting that Lake Superior is a "better match" for steelhead?>>

I don't know if Dryfly was suggesting what you asked about, but I'd suggest it in a heartbeat.

If I recall correctly, the preponderance of Superior steelhead are wild fish. Probably 95% of Lake Erie steelhead (and close to 99% of PA fish) are planted as fingerlings. Additionally, allowing that non-indigenous, created fisheries are sometimes desirable, Lake Superior is a far, far better place for an anadromous salmonid fishery than Lake Erie. It is a cold water lake without (other than localized or spotty) strong populations of non-salmonid species. Erie is essentially a warm water lake with a warm/cool water species profile. And a very good one at that..

No contest, IMO.
rochester mn

Posts: 133
Dryfly on Nov 2, 2010November 2nd, 2010, 10:46 am EDT
Yes superior tribs fit into the steelhead image, but thats just me. I'm not saying that I wouldn't fish for big bows in erie tribs, its just that standing shoulder to shoulder waiting for big stocked fish to swim by doesn't not fit the two handedrod pacific northwest intruder on thw swing caught fish.
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Nov 10, 2010November 10th, 2010, 10:52 pm EST
"the preponderance of Superior steelhead are wild fish."

You are lucky then to have a such a fishery - do you have any numbers data that would indicate the return rate of adults in the fall for various rivers?

You may have a good fishery but since those steelhead are not indigenous to the Great Lakes you are lucky the fisheries people decided to try Pacific steelhead stockings a couple of decades ago. Some antagonists probably hate that non native salmonoids inhabit those lakes.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Erie, PA

Posts: 15
DocWet on Mar 5, 2013March 5th, 2013, 3:03 pm EST
On Lake Superior, an Indian (native) told me he goes to a special creek and GRABS'em when they are in. He is allowed an unlimited amount for his family. I went there to fly fish and caught (broke off most) wild browns and rainbows and had a wild time till the mosquitos drove me home.

Cheers, DocWet
My favorite trout stream picture; below, shows what a first class trout river looks like. The lack of stream gradient means that this river is not subject to the roaring scouring floods so common here in PA. that wipe out everything in the river.

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