Header image
Enter a name
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 Limnephilidae (Giant Sedges) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This specimen resembled several others of around the same size and perhaps the same species, which were pretty common in my February sample from the upper Yakima. Unfortunately, I misplaced the specimen before I could get it under a microscope for a definitive ID.
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.

Falsifly's profile picture
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on Aug 19, 2011August 19th, 2011, 1:20 pm EDT
Lets face it, how could a seemingly stable and rational individual ascribe itself even a modicum of sanity, when in pursuit of trout on the fly.

Thinking back to my early fly-fishing beginnings I just can’t figure out how the introduction, or is it the indoctrination, to fly fishing managed to develop itself into a lust for self deprecation. I blame my father, in part, because he was the first to place that long limber mystical wand into the little hands of my impressionistic youth. Flailing away it was, at first, more of a challenge, and a lot more fun, to see how far I could make the little fly, fly, than it was catching those pond stockers who were eager to devour any entity invading their space. As a matter of fact, when I watch many so called “fly fishermen” today, I get the impression that that is the whole point.

At the age of seven or eight, with the perseverance and patience of the typical young boy, I quickly bored of my casting mastery, having perfected the “puddle cast” to a distance not much greater than the length of my newfangled fiberglass fly rod. The nuance of the fly rod’s physical demands, over the cane poles boredom, was quickly lost with the coincidence of fishless effort. To think that I fell for the folly of success, in which a lifetime of both practice and study has gained me more fishless days than I can count, only confirms my dementia. What is even more troubling is why I abandoned that chunk of writhing magadrile mass and its high percentage of success, (which so enticed the many fish species into accepting the barbed spring steel offering of a young boy bent on forcing a fight, with a whopper of a tale, to further his standing amongst his peers) to a hook wrapped in chicken feathers, and its higher probability to failure. But over time the worm crawled back into its subterranean refuge, and was all but forgotten, exiled to the distant past of memory, as the winged fly emerged and took flight.

A philosophical transformation began to evolve with the realization of how easily the fish was lured to the fighting ring, and forced into the ropes, by dangling a worm in front of its nose, setting up the knockout punch to the jaw. I began to understand that it wasn’t so much in the catching, as it was in the deception of offering. And to complicate matters, what better deception could there be than to deceive with a complicated deception? But then again, the more complicated the deception the more the deception became complicated. A “Catch 22” to be sure. I think I’m beginning to understand why they call it a can of worms.

If this makes any sense to you, you too are demented.

When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
Softhackle's profile picture
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Aug 19, 2011August 19th, 2011, 1:29 pm EDT
I'm demented!

"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
Taxon's profile picture
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Taxon on Aug 19, 2011August 19th, 2011, 3:26 pm EDT
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
JOHNW's profile picture
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
JOHNW on Aug 19, 2011August 19th, 2011, 5:38 pm EDT
Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I think Nurse Cratchet is coming with the pills!
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
Falsifly's profile picture
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on Jan 30, 2013January 30th, 2013, 10:03 am EST
Continuing on:

Yeah, I got sucked into “Aquatic Entomology”. How could we possibly be successful, let alone complete, without a comprehensive understanding of the “fly”? Yes, by all means lets wrap it all up in science, and presto fish will be caught! But what about all those years in practice and countless hours studying writ, is that not deception in itself? If not, then why I ask, do I return without the slightest hint of the fishy smell upon my palm? I’ve purchased scores of bound parchment weighed heavy with script and interspersed with tantalizing pictorial depictions guaranteed to whet an appetite, some even signed by the "Sage" himself, and video presentations on the “How To” subject of fly fishing my meager allowance would permit, devouring it all. After years of compilation, I now stand before a virtual library of science, philosophy, and the melding of the two, as it all pertains to the piquing of the pea brained Pisces’ psyche. I have deprived myself of basic sustenance, locking myself up in the total immersion of study, almost to the point of medical intervention by my loved ones, in hopes of reviving my sanity. I have disappeared for months at a time, on wandering westward trips, in search of esoteric truths through religious like commitments of practice. And yet my standing at the top wrung of evolution’s latter, at least in terms of mental capacity, still, leaves me wanting in my ability to pull the wool over the eyes of my finny foe.

And then comes the second guessing, and the blame game to full circle. Buy another book, a new rod or maybe a line; try that new invisible leader and tippet material, or that new fly I saw on the front page of last months magazine. Oh wait, no that can’t be it, then it dawns on me. I’m remiss in that which is most important; I have committed the sin of all sins. In my zealous attempt to lure “Bright Sides” to my tackle terminating make-believe Ephemeroptera, I’ve failed to check if that little Pronouncith icantith has been reclassified to some other genus or species due to a recently discovered gene.

When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Jan 30, 2013January 30th, 2013, 11:25 am EST
Fishing books are fine initially. I myself bought "Matching the Hatch" and the margins are full of my thoughts and scribblings. While at one time I had a pretty good sized library of books by Brooks, Swisher & Richards, Marinaro, Borger, and all the other authors from the early 1960's to the early 1980's. However other than Brooks' "Complete Book of Fly Fishing" and his "Trout Fishing" and S&R "Selective Trout" I don't believe I ever read any of the others cover to cover. At most I skimmed through them, looked at the pictures, and put them away hardly to ever look at them again.

In my opinion you can read all the books that exist on the subject and still not ever be a good fly fisher. I taught myself to fly cast and never had a single lesson, even from some guy on the stream, and can cast as well as most anyone that I know. I don't know about other guys but I taught myself to tie and remember my first creations I tied from the little fly tying kit my parents bought me when I was twelve years old.

If you really want to be good you first have to crave to be good. You have to really want to get out there and fish your butt off. Once you read a really good book about casting, line management, rod/line selection, general insect recognition, and very importantly where to find fish and know their habits then you will start to get better.

For years I fished bait with a fly rod, worms, caddis larvae, salmon eggs, whatever I knew the trout would eat. Fishing bait with a fly rod really teaches one that getting a drag free drift is paramount to catching trout. So it was an easy transition for me to go over to nymphing. I learned from my mistakes and from observations on the rivers.

So read a book like those I mentioned above and save your money from all the books you don't need to buy and spend it on a couple of good rods and reels. Then get out and fish, fish, fish!

BTW I fished yesterday and today on a couple streams in Berks county and caught some nice fish on nymphs.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jan 30, 2013January 30th, 2013, 6:13 pm EST
If you really want to be good you first have to crave to be good.

Well put Matt...That is true about a lot of things. I have tried over the years with different nephews to get them "out there"...Hell! I'd be happy if they showed a little excitement with anything.

I used to tell them to find something that interests them, it doesn't have to be uncle Spence's obsessions, and throw yourself in to it...Become the expert in it...No such luck.

It terms of the books etc...They don't always have to drive you to becoming a better angler, knowledge for its own sake isn't a waste of time...I wanted to fly fish for years before I actually was able to...I was interested in natural history and the outdoors, and the bugs, way before I ever picked up a fly rod...

It is fun for me to walk through the woods and id a wild flower, a tree, a wood warbler, or the insecta flying around my favorite stream. But that's just me.

"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: 287
Feathers5 on Jan 31, 2013January 31st, 2013, 5:08 am EST
I know what you mean. I took the beginning fly tying course 3 times because I was so into fly tying. My mentors realized my fever and began to take me fishing, which cut the learning curve immensely. You can read all of the books out there, but nothing can teach better than experience. Once experiece comes books can be very helpful. Again, my mentors suggested the really helpful books so I didn't waste my money. Of course after 20-some years I've managed to get the hang of wasting money on books, magazines, and fly tying materials.
PaulRoberts's profile picture

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Jan 31, 2013January 31st, 2013, 6:52 am EST
I am DIY too -that's my natural tendency. But I could be a bit too righteous at times. I eventually discovered that other people's ideas were worth listening to. I've brought ideas from many disciplines into my outdoor endeavors, enriching them immeasurably.

“There is only as much beauty available to us … (in nature)… as we are prepared to appreciate. And not a grain more.” -HD Thoreau (paraphrased).

And another, that I twist on itself:
“Out of mind. Out of sight.”

Quick Reply

Related Discussions

Last Reply
May 21, 2007
by Troutnut
Troutnut.com is copyright © 2004-2024 (email Jason). privacy policy