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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.

Dorsal view of a Setvena wahkeena (Perlodidae) (Wahkeena Springfly) Stonefly Nymph from Mystery Creek #199 in Washington
As far as I can tell, this species has only previously been reported from one site in Oregon along the Columbia gorge. However, the key characteristics are fairly unmistakable in all except for one minor detail:
— 4 small yellow spots on frons visible in photos
— Narrow occipital spinule row curves forward (but doesn’t quite meet on stem of ecdysial suture, as it's supposed to in this species)
— Short spinules on anterior margin of front legs
— Short rposterior row of blunt spinules on abdominal tergae, rather than elongated spinules dorsally
I caught several of these mature nymphs in the fishless, tiny headwaters of a creek high in the Wenatchee Mountains.
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 RegionMissouri Ozarks
Specific Locationa small spring creek
Dates Fished11/4
Time of Dayafternoon
Fish Caughtbrown trout, smallmouth bass
Conditions & Hatchesovercast, very few bugs (the few that were on the water were mostly baetis) low, clear water
Air temp 52 degrees
Water Temp 54 degrees

Details and Discussion

Motrout's profile picture
Posts: 319
Motrout on Nov 4, 2010November 4th, 2010, 12:11 pm EDT
I saw clouds in the sky this afternoon, and I knew that meant that I had to get to a stream quick and try to find a Blue Winged Olive hatch. I drove down to the lower stretches of a medium sized spring creek for the day. This stream is stocked with rainbows in the winter and spring, but they get cleaned out quickly. Browns are stocked once a year and have special regulations in place-there is a decent population of them year-round.

So it was brown trout I was in search of today in this little stream. I was hoping to see the bugs when I got there, but they were very sparse. Not a rising trout was to be seen. Still, there were some baetis on the water, so I started off with a little #20 dry fly. Nothing. Then I tried a #14 Parachute Adams with a #20 Olive Hare's Ear as a dropper-a rig that often works very well in this creek. I gave that a good try in both the riffles and the pools, but no takers. I had yet to see a trout, rising or otherwise. I was starting to wonder.

Finally, with no better ideas, I tied on a #4 streamer that I've tying lately. It's an ugly as sin squirrel tail job, but I thought I'd give it a try. A few casts after I tied this on, I got a vicious strike. I thought I had a real dandy of a trout on, but it was a smallmouth bass. A pretty good one though, at 16". It wasn't the biggest surprise in the world, as this creek does flow into a warmwater river, but definitely not what I was expecting.

Heartened by that, I kept fishing the streamer. Finally I did hook up with a brown trout-not a big one, but a feisty 12 inch fish. It was a very pretty fish, all colored up for spawning. I decided to end on that note, and headed back to the truck. By this point it would be too late for the afternoon Olive hatch I was hoping to hit anyway.

In all, it was a nice afternoon. But it sure has been a tough fall for the Blue Winged Olives. I'm still hoping to hit it at least once-they are calling for rain next week, and I'll be on the water when it happens. The days they are predicting rain coincides with a trip to a river with a very good Olive hatch, so we'll see.

"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach

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