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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.

Case view of a Pycnopsyche guttifera (Limnephilidae) (Great Autumn Brown Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
It's only barely visible in one of my pictures, but I confirmed under the microscope that this one has a prosternal horn and the antennae are mid-way between the eyes and front of the head capsule.

I'm calling this one Pycnopsyche, but it's a bit perplexing. It seems to key definitively to at least Couplet 8 of the Key to Genera of Limnephilidae Larvae. That narrows it down to three genera, and the case seems wrong for the other two. The case looks right for Pycnopsyche, and it fits one of the key characteristics: "Abdominal sternum II without chloride epithelium and abdominal segment IX with only single seta on each side of dorsal sclerite." However, the characteristic "metanotal sa1 sclerites not fused, although often contiguous" does not seem to fit well. Those sclerites sure look fused to me, although I can make out a thin groove in the touching halves in the anterior half under the microscope. Perhaps this is a regional variation.

The only species of Pycnopsyche documented in Washington state is Pycnopsyche guttifera, and the colors and markings around the head of this specimen seem to match very well a specimen of that species from Massachusetts on Bugguide. So I am placing it in that species for now.

Whatever species this is, I photographed another specimen of seemingly the same species from the same spot a couple months later.
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.

FredH
FredH's profile picture
Lake Charles , Louisiana

Posts: 108
FredH on Feb 19, 2011February 19th, 2011, 4:11 pm EST
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Feb 19, 2011February 19th, 2011, 4:13 pm EST
NIIIICE looking fly, man!!!

Tell me how you do on it...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Feb 19, 2011February 19th, 2011, 11:06 pm EST
Very nice work! I assume you just tie this for show and wouldn't fish them as they are too pretty to lose.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
FredH
FredH's profile picture
Lake Charles , Louisiana

Posts: 108
FredH on Feb 20, 2011February 20th, 2011, 12:21 am EST
Thanks Jonathon and Wbranch . To be honest , I probably will not fish this fly as I tied this one while making a step by step tying CD and will sell it with one of the cds. But it is very durable and could be fished if someone chose to .
Fred
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Feb 20, 2011February 20th, 2011, 5:16 am EST
I don't see how a fish could resist it - it looks too good!

Curious to know, how long did it take you to tie and what size hook is it?

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
FredH
FredH's profile picture
Lake Charles , Louisiana

Posts: 108
FredH on Feb 20, 2011February 20th, 2011, 11:02 am EST
Jonathon I'm not sure how long this fly will take to tie as I was tying and photographing each step as I went.None of the steps are extremely difficult or time consumming . The hook used is a Mustad 94859 size 20.

Fred
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Feb 20, 2011February 20th, 2011, 12:33 pm EST
Very nice, Fred.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
FredH
FredH's profile picture
Lake Charles , Louisiana

Posts: 108
FredH on Feb 20, 2011February 20th, 2011, 11:31 pm EST
Thanks Shawn.
WestCO
WestCO's profile picture
Palisade, CO

Posts: 65
WestCO on Sep 27, 2011September 27th, 2011, 6:56 pm EDT
I think the question you were asking was if the fly is too lifelike. Dave Whitlock writes pretty strongly against doing this as trying too hard to be lifelike can sometimes tip off a fish. In otherwords, if you're too exact and make one little error they will more than likely be turned away than they would be if you were just tying to simulate a profile. That's always been my take on it but most of you guys know a lot more than I do. It looks like a nice fly. I for one fear paint because it has a different glisten underwater than some natural products do.
...but fishermen I have noticed, they don't care if I'm rich or poor, wearing robes or waders, all they care about is the fish, the river, and the game we play. For fishermen, the only virtues are patience, tolerance, and humility. I like this.
FredH
FredH's profile picture
Lake Charles , Louisiana

Posts: 108
FredH on Sep 27, 2011September 27th, 2011, 8:45 pm EDT
Westco thanks for taking the time to comment . The title of this post was my attempt at humor.I literally tied a "FLY" .

I once heard of a study where two flies were presented to fish , one with 5 legs and one with 7 legs. The one with 5 legs was eaten repeatedly while the one with 7 was ignored. I don't know if this is actualy true or not . I tend not to believe those that spout certianties about fish. And try to stay away from words like allways and never. Fish are the best judges of our flies .They will either take it or leave it. Find out for yourself what the fish where you live will eat, what color, what size . Find out if they prefer impressionistic or imatative patterns.And just when you think you have them all figured out something will change and the flies that worked last week wont get a second look.
But this is why we all tie more than just olive wooley buggers. We continue to stretch our imagination and skill to try and find a pattern that will work when others wont.I don't know if my patterns are getting me closer or farther away , but I'm having fun and fool a fish from time to time in the process.Thanks again for your comments, Fred
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Sep 27, 2011September 27th, 2011, 9:03 pm EDT
Hey Fred,

Well said.

BTW,
I once heard of a study where two flies were presented to fish , one with 5 legs and one with 7 legs. The one with 5 legs was eaten repeatedly while the one with 7 was ignored.

Is this why your flyfly appears to only have 5 legs? :)

Regards,

Kurt
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Sep 27, 2011September 27th, 2011, 9:24 pm EDT
I think Fred's comments are extremely valid. Until one of us can turn into a fish and then back into a human again, who the heck knows what a fish is thinking?? Lately I have been having tremendous success on trout with an old pattern called Joe's Hopper, which is a rather impressionistic representation of a grasshopper. In fact, I tell non-fly-fisher-persons that I show it to that, no, it doesn't look exactly like a grasshopper, but to a fish looking at it from below, it looks enough like one that they blast it with gusto! (The takes are never subtle, if you know what I mean.) Dave Whitlock even tells in an article in the latest edition of Flyfishing & Tying Journal how he combined parts of a Joe's Hopper with a Muddler Minnow to come up with a "realistic" hopper pattern as his Dave's Hopper - which I have also tied in the past, but which is more complicated and slower to tie with the spun-deer-hair head.

Well, the Joe's Hopper pattern is just hammering 'em for me, including a 12 1/2" brookie this past evening (see my post for a photo) and a 12-fish day on a local stream. Yet, who's to say that more exact imitations wouldn't work as well or even better? I would find it surprising that a fish would have the time, patience, and brainpower to look over a fly and think to itself, "Well, that doesn't have the right number of stripes or the right shade of 'burnt umber' to be a real one so I'm not gonna eat it!" when survival is at stake...on the other hand, those who fish considerably more pressured waters than I favor might well say that if the fly "isn't quite right" the fish will turn their noses up at it. I absolutely hate crowds and the pounded waters they fish so your results may differ...but I think Fred's flies will likely catch loads of fish, especially those big fat southern sunfish that live in Fred's vicinity and take the place of trout quite nicely, as they did for me in the Texas Hill Country, especially the San Marcos River.

Also, beware the "wisdom" of others over your own personal experience. Someone not long ago on here tried to tell the rest of us that we shouldn't tie "eyes" on our flies because, well, the predatory fish that might hit our streamers could see that our fake baitfish were looking at them and "could see them coming", and would therefore refuse our presentations in favor of "eyeless" flies that "couldn't see them coming." Said poor individual had read that in a magazine somewhere, and was practically laughed off of the site by those of us who absolutely HAMMER the fish on our "eyed" streamer patterns (such as the Clouser Minnow and my own Killer Bass Fly). Moral of the story? Don't believe everything that you read just because it was written by an "expert", such as Dave Whitlock who actually violated his own "rule" by creating a MORE realistic grasshopper imitation! You need to go out and throw a lot of fly patterns around yourself on your favorite waters and see what works for YOU.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Softhackle
Softhackle's profile picture
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Sep 28, 2011September 28th, 2011, 8:21 am EDT
Fred,
I suggest you find a copy, perhaps, at your local library for a book by Bob Wyatt, Trout Hunting, The Pursuit Of Happiness. Read the section on fly design. The whole book is great, of course, but I really enjoyed Bob's ideas on fly design.

Myself, I believe that more impressionistic flies work better than those that completely duplicate the insect in appearance. This is not that I do not admire a tier that ties realistic flies.

A tier who I think does an excellent job combining impression with realism is Steve Thornton. I met Steve a few years back, and he is an excellent tier. http://www.virtual-nymph.com/

Mark

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
FredH
FredH's profile picture
Lake Charles , Louisiana

Posts: 108
FredH on Sep 28, 2011September 28th, 2011, 9:40 am EDT
Hi Mark, I would guess that most of us could fish with conventional tackle and live bait if we chose to. So my tying realistic flies goes beyound just catching fish. It's about challenging myself as a tier and a fisherman .You should try it. You may find some aspects you could incooperate into your flies to give you more options on the water.
Fred
DrMartin
Posts: 6
DrMartin on Sep 28, 2011September 28th, 2011, 2:05 pm EDT
These threads usually lead to questions.

Questions like, what realistic flies were tested against what impressionistic flies?

Was the testing done with Dry flies, Wet flies or Nymphs?

Anyway, I guess you can see where this is going.

Flies that imitate the natural are what most, fish with. Whether it's the flowing material or flash of a baitfish, the color and size of a specific insect, the imitation of fluttering wings on the water with hackled dries or the more imitative Realistic Fly.

All work and all have times when they don't. They're all options that allow us as individuals to try and pick what we are most successful with.

Opinions by "Experts" as what is worth trying and what is not is in "my opinion" worthless without actual test results.

But of course, this is just my worthless opinion.....

David Martin
WestCO
WestCO's profile picture
Palisade, CO

Posts: 65
WestCO on Sep 28, 2011September 28th, 2011, 8:07 pm EDT
Westco thanks for taking the time to comment . The title of this post was my attempt at humor.I literally tied a "FLY" .

I once heard of a study where two flies were presented to fish , one with 5 legs and one with 7 legs. The one with 5 legs was eaten repeatedly while the one with 7 was ignored. I don't know if this is actualy true or not . I tend not to believe those that spout certianties about fish. And try to stay away from words like allways and never. Fish are the best judges of our flies .They will either take it or leave it. Find out for yourself what the fish where you live will eat, what color, what size . Find out if they prefer impressionistic or imatative patterns.And just when you think you have them all figured out something will change and the flies that worked last week wont get a second look.
But this is why we all tie more than just olive wooley buggers. We continue to stretch our imagination and skill to try and find a pattern that will work when others wont.I don't know if my patterns are getting me closer or farther away , but I'm having fun and fool a fish from time to time in the process.Thanks again for your comments, Fred


Haha. Just tell me what you think. I'm a jackass. The truth is that you guys are so much more experienced with a range of flies that I've never seen before that I just assumed you were tying something like that. I'm very familiar with flies from one very specific region. Now that I look at it, well like I said, I'm a jackass. Touche sir.
...but fishermen I have noticed, they don't care if I'm rich or poor, wearing robes or waders, all they care about is the fish, the river, and the game we play. For fishermen, the only virtues are patience, tolerance, and humility. I like this.
FredH
FredH's profile picture
Lake Charles , Louisiana

Posts: 108
FredH on Sep 29, 2011September 29th, 2011, 3:49 am EDT
Westco I'm sorry. I did not intend to make you feel bad by my comments. You were just commenting on my fly which I do appreciate.

I tend to get a little defensive when it comes to realistics.
Fred
WestCO
WestCO's profile picture
Palisade, CO

Posts: 65
WestCO on Sep 29, 2011September 29th, 2011, 10:39 am EDT
I wasn't offended. It one of those posts where I barely even looked at it before I started acting like I knew what I was talking about.
...but fishermen I have noticed, they don't care if I'm rich or poor, wearing robes or waders, all they care about is the fish, the river, and the game we play. For fishermen, the only virtues are patience, tolerance, and humility. I like this.
Sayfu
Posts: 560
Sayfu on Oct 2, 2011October 2nd, 2011, 5:11 am EDT

We get deer flies out my way, and in the fall they become a real problem attempting to make a daily float for my wife and me. We carry a swatter in the boat. What a tragedy it would be if I was that good at tying, and then had one of those lying on the deck, and my wife ruin it with a heavy handed swat!!

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