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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.

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.
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Jmd123 has attached these 4 pictures. The message is below.
About to launch...
Hey, look at that orchid next to the launch!
I think this is Spiranthes cernua, "nodding lady's tresses"
Caught ten more like this one...dang, shoulda brought my frying pan!!
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Sep 4, 2011September 4th, 2011, 6:41 pm EDT
Put this one into the Monty Python category, "And now for something completely different"...

Today I went exploring a new lake by kayak in the Huron National Forest. This lake gets an annual stocking of 1300-1600 rainbow trout each spring, sub-legal size so at least they get to grow before they get harvested, and the lake also contains perch and bluegill. I borrowed a set of kayak wheels from my boss (had some difficulty, more on this below) as the lake is a solid mile hike in from the parking area, no boat launch, no motorized vehicles allowed and no motors allowed even if you could pack one in that far. Perfect!! I wheeled in the kayak, launched and paddled across the lake and started fishing, not expecting any trout at this time of the year anyway but what the heck...to my pleasent surprise, the lake had some nice big yellow perch in it, of which I caught eleven in the 8-10" range (with one possibly going larger, didn't get it in the boat). Not "jumbos" but not little guys either, all eating size (though I tossed them all back) and they bent the 7 1/2-foot 3-weight over really nice! All but one of them hit a size 10 chartreuse Woolly Bugger (with grizzly hackle, weighted underbody, and Krystal Flash in the tail) with the final fish taking an original KBF (also size 10). On top of this, I got to see a really big beaver (his head was bigger than my fist, he was about 2 1/2 feet long!) and yet another wild orchid, a Spiranthes species, a.k.a. "lady's tresses". Just another beautiful northern Michigan experience...this is where Spence steps in and says in a soothing voice, "That's Pure Michigan".

The only issue was the kayak cart. It folds up to go inside the kayak, but not only was it too big to fit inside my kayak, it kept folding up on the way out (in the dark) and dumping my kayak on the ground! It appears to have no hold-open device to keep it from folding up whenever it wants to...If any of you troutnuts out there know of a good brand, please let me know because there's plenty of other lakes I want to get into that are too far to just drag the thing in.


P.S. Oh, and I'll be going back in after those rainbows as the weather cools off and they come up out of the depths (it reaches 38 feet in the middle, probably spring-fed) to feed on midges and etc...
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Sep 6, 2011September 6th, 2011, 10:44 am EDT

Since you sent a nod in my direction I'd hate to see this post fade in to oblivion without a response.

That is a nice little place you have found there. Those hard to reach places can be gems since everyone that fishes them has to hike back to get to them and that does trim down the crowds.

If you ever find yourself over nearer to Grayling you should check out Wakeley Lake just west of where the South Branch crosses 72...It is a hell of a hike back as well. No motors can be used and it is catch-and-release there. I think it may be lead-free as well, but you would have to check the regs on this one. Mid-June to Aug 31st is the fishing season there.

Have you fished below the Cooke Dam?


"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's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Sep 6, 2011September 6th, 2011, 12:00 pm EDT
Hey Spence, haven't fished below Cooke Dam, but where I fish Cooke Pond is just below Five Channels Dam. In fact, I snorkeled it last week during the heat wave (might be my last of the summer what with the weather rapidly cooling off) and saw some of those nice fat smallmouth I caught there earlier in the year, along with a wide variety of other fish including largemouth, perch, "hammer-handle" pike, sunfish, etc. So just below Cooke Dam is good as well?

Yes, there are a lot of little lakes they stock trout in around here and having to hike in any distance seems to keep most people out. Some of them are fortunately open beyond the end of regular trout season and so will make fine destinations in October once the surface waters cool off and the trout start coming up to hopefully feed on fall midge hatches, terrestrials, etc. (or at least hit Woolly Buggers and KBFs). Is Wakeley fishable from shore or is that a kayak-drag-in spot as well?

And yes, thanks for the response, sometimes the troutnut crowd is less than enthusiastic unless trout are involved but I like to show how much variety there can be in one's fly fishing experiences if you're willing to throw a fly around a wide variety of waters. These fish were a lot of fun and really put a good bend in the 3-weight!


P.S. The wildflowers along the Au Sable are really going strong right now - last hurrah before cold weather hits!
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Sep 6, 2011September 6th, 2011, 12:14 pm EDT
Hey Jonathon,

I may not always post, but I always check out your threads. Great photos, especially of your countryside. A nice break from that grinning Jesse and all those photos of Matt's fish mount.:)


"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's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Sep 6, 2011September 6th, 2011, 12:26 pm EDT
Kurt, I will admit to substantial envy of Jesse's fish porn...once I learn all of the hotspots around this area (which may take some time - there's lots of them!) maybe I can give him some serious competition! The variety in this part of the world is staggering. Some day soon you may see me on here with a nice big toothy pike, once I figure out a good spot to throw flies at them...and then there's the fall steelhead run and lake-run browns...

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Jesse's profile picture
Posts: 378
Jesse on Sep 6, 2011September 6th, 2011, 10:08 pm EDT
A kayak, a backwoods hidden lake, fish, a fly rod; what more can a man ask for!? I didn't see any beers in that photo though ;)
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Sep 6, 2011September 6th, 2011, 10:19 pm EDT
To be honest:

1) It's a good 40-minute drive from my house so the alcohol consumption waits until I get back home; and

2) I'm not a beer drinker. Lately my intoxicant of choice has been sherry...used to be vodka but that got out of control, and wine doesn't have enough kick for me, so sherry (and port) is a good compromise. I'm not a snob, I just like what I like...to each their own! There is camping there though, so if I do pitch a tent there in fall when I go after those rainbows, a bottle might just have to be hung over the side to cool off in that water...


No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Sep 9, 2011September 9th, 2011, 3:18 pm EDT
Very nice description of what sounds like a wonderful place. Glad you were able to enjoy it.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis

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