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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.

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.

Northern Michigan

Posts: 30
Bcvizina on Nov 16, 2011November 16th, 2011, 9:23 am EST
Since it's the middle of deer season, I was wondering if anybody has saved the cape from a deer they shot. I can also see the opportunity of contacting a taxidermist or local game meat processing facility to get other capes to convert to tying material as well, but how do you do it?
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Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Nov 16, 2011November 16th, 2011, 10:24 am EST
I've never needed so much deer hair that I had a professional do a proper tanning of a cape, and I'm not sure how that would influence the hair. I just take small pieces, scrape the skin clean of any flesh, and use salt and/or borax to dry it out. That seems to work fine. The skin hardens and curls up some, so the pieces don't seem as professional as the soft, tanned squares you buy in the store, but it all looks the same on the fly.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Posts: 560
Sayfu on Nov 16, 2011November 16th, 2011, 1:21 pm EST

Over the years, I have learned to highly regard being organized, and tanned, high quality deer hair in an easily stored package is my choice. I went the hide route once, and ended up throwing it away. One good patch from a flyshop and I can tie an enormous number of comparaduns let's say. And a spinning hair patch. I can't even grade hair very well, and determine good spinning grade hair for instance. I let the experts do it. And I don't have to worry about the bugs as I do relying on myself to properly care for the hide. And I sure like handling the flexibility of a tanned hide. But that is me. Other game I do myself like the pheasants I shoot, and the grouse, and Hungarian Partridge I shoot.

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