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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 Kogotus (Perlodidae) Stonefly Nymph from Mystery Creek #199 in Washington
This one pretty clearly keys to Kogotus, but it also looks fairly different from specimens I caught in the same creek about a month later in the year. With only one species of the genus known in Washington, I'm not sure about the answer to this 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.

This topic is about the Insect Order Odonata-Anisoptera

Dragonflies and damselflies are in the same order, Odonata, but they are taxonomically separated on an obscure level not built into this site, the suborder. Dragonflies are in the rarely mentioned suborder Epiprocta, and within that suborder is the infraorder Anisoptera, the scientific name by which they're best known. None of that will help you catch trout, but it explains what the hyphen in this page's name is all about.

Example specimens

Troutnut
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Troutnut on Dec 7, 2006December 7th, 2006, 6:23 am EST
Our great discussion of hellgrammites included a very interesting little tangent about the feeding habits of dragonflies which I'm copying into the dragonfly section.

Martinlf wrote:
This is pure trivia, and non-hellgrammite related, but Brett's comments on the discards of bats and nighthawks reminded me of an experience on the Delaware. I was fishing with a guide and we saw several mayfly wing and thorax combos floating along with missing abdomens. At first we hypothesized that a small trout must have bitten the abdomen right off. Then we saw a dragonfly intercept a sulphur mid flight, chew up the abdomen almost instantly, and let the wings and thorax fall, helicoptering like a winged maple seed. This is probably not news to the entomologists here, but some everyday anglers might not have yet noticed this phenomenon. Gonzo, do we have a wing and thorax tie yet?


Gonzo replied:
Louis,

I haven't found trout to be that interested in dragonfly discards, but you never know. I am reminded of an evening on Mud Run when my fishing partner's fly mysteriously ascended skyward, towing a good portion of the tip of his fly line. His fly, while having a minimal effect on the trout we were pursuing, was sufficiently convincing to a large dragonfly--a testament to the powerful flight and lifting capabilities of these insects!


I love watching dragonflies feed on mayflies, but I admit I've never noticed the falling discards. I'll keep an eye out for them next season. A good photo sequence of the phenomenon would be awesome, but I think my photography skills would need to jump several orders of magnitude to capture such a thing in action.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist

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