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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.

Dorsal view of a Amphizoa (Amphizoidae) Beetle Larva from Sears Creek in Washington
This is the first of it's family I've seen, collected from a tiny, fishless stream in the Cascades. The three species of this genus all live in the Northwest and are predators that primarily eat stonefly nymphs Merritt R.W., Cummins, K.W., and Berg, M.B. (2019).
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.

By Troutnut on August 5th, 2011
I headed out with a friend & his canoe to float the Chatanika River. It's a popular river to float, so naturally it wouldn't be adventurous unless we decided to do something crazy, like float dozens of miles upstream from where people usually put in. We had some fine dragging and even a little bit of paddling, and many remote pools held eager grayling that rarely see a fly.

Photos by Troutnut from the Chatanika River in Alaska

The Chatanika River in Alaska
The Chatanika River in Alaska
The Chatanika River in Alaska
The Chatanika River in Alaska
The Chatanika River in Alaska
The Chatanika River in Alaska
The Chatanika River in Alaska
The Chatanika River in Alaska
The Chatanika River in Alaska

Underwater photos by Troutnut from the Chatanika River in Alaska

This simple rubber-legged foam beetle is one of my favorite flies for Arctic grayling.  It's quick to tie so I don't mind losing one or two on snags.  It's durable, so one fly can last a hundred fish or more.  It never needs floatant to ride the surface well.  Most importantly, it catches fish, although grayling often hit almost anything.  The bold profile and attention-grabbing plop of the beetle, I think, draw fish from farther away than a more subtle fly might, and it often draws unusually savage strikes.

From the Chatanika River in Alaska
The Chatanika River in Alaska

Comments / replies

Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Aug 7, 2011August 7th, 2011, 4:37 pm EDT
What a gorgeous fish! Excellent photo, Jason.
"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
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Aug 8, 2011August 8th, 2011, 8:39 am EDT
Jason,

I think I read that they were pretty tasty and this didn't help them any when they lived in the Au Sable. Probably one of the reasons they are gone along with the ease they took to flies...What they like?

There is a classic called "The Old Au Sable" by a Dr Hazen Miller and he discribes the commercial fishing that was done and that some anglers had 3-4 droppers and would catch multiple fish on one cast.

I don't know Jason but you are starting to look a little "native"...We ever going to see you down here on the "outside" 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
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Aug 8, 2011August 8th, 2011, 9:26 am EDT
Great photos, Jason, especially the underwater ones!

BTW Spence, the logging (siltation and water warming) and damming of the Au Sable didn't help the grayling either - it was a multi-pronged assault...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Troutnut
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Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Aug 8, 2011August 8th, 2011, 10:28 am EDT
Spence,

Grayling aren't really tasty at all. There's nothing unpleasant or pleasant about the taste, they're just extremely bland for a salmonid. I think people ate them a lot in the past because they're adequate food on the table, not because they're especially delicious. They probably went extinct because they're very slow-growing and long-lived, and they can't withstand much harvest pressure at all. (I'm sure the logging didn't help, either.) They do well in Alaska because most people prefer to eat salmon & halibut, which we have in abundance, and the few who do eat grayling can spread that pressure over hundreds of streams. There is a problem with overharvest in a few streams close to towns. The grayling population in the Chena near Fairbanks was decimated in the 80s, so C&R-only regulations were instated in the 90s, and now it's the best grayling fishery on the Alaska road system. The Chatanika is the new close-to-town meat fisherman's stream, and I think that's part of why the fish there run a little small compared to Chena grayling.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
JOHNW
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Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
JOHNW on Aug 8, 2011August 8th, 2011, 12:43 pm EDT
So all of this wonderful photography leads me to wonder when Jason might host the First annual Trounut Alaskan Conclave?

Then again Spence might host a Conclave in the UP.
JW
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Aug 8, 2011August 8th, 2011, 12:46 pm EDT
I could have one in the Oscoda area, but you'll have to fight over who gets the guest bedroom, the fold-out couch, or the floor...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Aug 8, 2011August 8th, 2011, 1:16 pm EDT
Then again Spence might host a Conclave in the UP.


John,

After what the market did to me today I may need to go a little further north than the UP! My wife and her sister were driving up north together today and they kept sending me Thelma & Louise text messages...At one point her sister asked me how the market was doing and I told her I had jammed one of my office chairs under the door handle to my office and had the 12-gauge loaded and leaning in the corner in case one of my clients became a little irate...:)

Ouch!

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
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Aug 9, 2011August 9th, 2011, 12:30 pm EDT
Spence, you can always come up here & hunker down for a while, and if the economy really takes a nosedive we can just live off "the fat of the land", like the 5+ pounds of chicken-of-the-woods mushrooms I found today growing on a tree in Tawas (and there's probably 15 more pounds there waiting to be harvested - I don't think anyone else knows what they are!). There's plenty of Huron National Forest to disappear into with a tent, and I've got enough firearms & ammo to hold off the zombies for a good long time!!! Just make sure to stock up on insect repellent...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Aaron7_8
Aaron7_8's profile picture
Helena Montana

Posts: 115
Aaron7_8 on Aug 11, 2011August 11th, 2011, 5:38 pm EDT
I gotta quit reading Jonathons' post while drunk he is starting to make way too much sense.
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Aug 11, 2011August 11th, 2011, 6:10 pm EDT
Aaron, there's room for you too - I have enough ammo to go around...do you prefer rifle, pistol, or shotgun? I got some old spinning gear too if we really get desperate - and I'm planning on ice fishing this winter as well. SCREW the stock market, we'll have Survivor - Au Sable! ("Outfish, outhunt, outcamp"...) Just gotta get some cute bikini-clad chicks for our show - oh wait, there's some kayaks coming down the river right now!!! Who knows how to clean wild game???

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Jesse
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Posts: 378
Jesse on Aug 13, 2011August 13th, 2011, 8:00 am EDT
Great pictures my man i love getting on this site and seeing fishing shots and beautiful scenery!
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
http://www.filingoflyfishing.com

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