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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.

Lateral view of a Female Sweltsa borealis (Chloroperlidae) (Boreal Sallfly) Stonefly Adult from Harris Creek in Washington
I was not fishing, but happened to be at an unrelated social event on a hill above this tiny creek (which I never even saw) when this stonefly flew by me. I assume it came from there. Some key characteristics are tricky to follow, but process of elimination ultimately led me to Sweltsa borealis. It is reassuringly similar to this specimen posted by Bob Newell years ago. It is also so strikingly similar to this nymph from the same river system that I'm comfortable identifying that nymph from this adult. I was especially pleased with the closeup photo of four mites parasitizing this one.
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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Wbranch has attached these 7 pictures. The message is below.
Main stem Delaware - thorax March Brown - about 20"
Mid May about 18" - photo by Guttcutter
Johnson Creek Alaska buck silver salmon
Johnson Creek Alaska chum salmon
Otter Creek Alaska hen silver salmon
Just a gorgeous steelhead
One of dozens we landed in two days
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Dec 29, 2011December 29th, 2011, 5:33 pm EST
2011 was a less than average year for me and catching larger trout. The Catskills were plagued with high water until late May and while I do have a drift boat I didn't have the $35 I'd need every time I used the boat for a shuttle so I did my best wading the fringes of the rivers. Most of my larger trout were caught while I was in the boat. Montana was a blow-out with high water so we cancelled our trip. I did fair in Alaska and very good for steelhead. I fish alone 90% of the time so most of my 18" and larger fish never got a chance to pose for the camera.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
GldstrmSam
GldstrmSam's profile picture
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
GldstrmSam on Dec 29, 2011December 29th, 2011, 8:14 pm EST
Great photos.

I've only fished for salmon using pixies, and I've never caught anything.I have big hopes for salmon fly fishing though.

There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
Jesse
Jesse's profile picture
Posts: 378
Jesse on Dec 30, 2011December 30th, 2011, 12:09 am EST
Now these are the type of pictures i look forward to when i log on to this site. Excellent stuff and you must consider yourself blessed to have fished all of these beautiful places.
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
http://www.filingoflyfishing.com
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Dec 30, 2011December 30th, 2011, 4:29 am EST
There you go! Those Browns are sweet and that Steelhead looks like it might of been a lot of fun...A really healthy looking fish there.

I love the baseball cap...:) I like better the idea that it appears to be sun faded as the season progresses...How many days a year do you figure you get out Matt?

Thanks for sharing...A so-so year for you appears to be a banner year for the rest of us wanna-bees...;)

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
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Dec 30, 2011December 30th, 2011, 9:24 am EST
Hi Spence,

"I love the baseball cap...:) I like better the idea that it appears to be sun faded as the season progresses..."

How many days a year do you figure you get out Matt?

Thanks for sharing...A so-so year for you appears to be a banner year for the rest of us wanna-bees...;)"

Thank you for the advice on how to post pictures and defeat my shrinkage problem.

You are very observant, yea, you can't catch 'em if your not out on the water.

I average between 40 - 45 days just trout fishing in the Catskills, another ten in Montana, about six going for smallies, and at least six steelheading, more if conditions are favorable. About sixty from May to mid November. I go locally in April probably half a dozen times but just don't count the local stocked streams as "trips".

I try to fish as often as possible. I know I'm going to Heaven but I just don't know if God has any tailwaters up past the pearly gates.

I have been very fortunate, and blessed, to have had such a great life and to have fished so successfully in so many places.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Dec 30, 2011December 30th, 2011, 10:15 am EST
I know I'm going to Heaven but I just don't know if God has any tailwaters up past the pearly gates.


With all the fish you catch I fear that maybe those that beat you there aren't looking forwad to your arrival! :) "We are going to have to share a beat with him!" Ernie, Joe Brooks, Marinaro, Lee Wulf, Leon Chandler, Chauncey, Art Flick, Gartside, Syl Nemes, etc, etc...Assuming that these boys made it in, it could be elbow-to-elbow.

If there are no streams in paradise it can't be called paradise, if you ask me...I may have to pass...;)

I remember, just before Christmas of 2009, at Rusty Gates' funeral in Grayling, the priest kept saying something about Rusty being in a better place...When I got home I emailed another Lodge regular who had also been at the funeral, that I knew better...I had actually sat with Rusty in one of "his better places" and it was on a bend on the South Branch of the Au Sable...He said he had thought the same thing when he heard it...

So Matt, maybe you are right. We got to fish em when we have them...

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
JOHNW
JOHNW's profile picture
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
JOHNW on Dec 31, 2011December 31st, 2011, 12:54 am EST
Matt,
ALways love your reports. Interestine how gutcutter was able to hide the ugle bridge pier with the browntrouts head in the mid may picture.

ASide from the great photos a public and personal thanks for the guidance and advice that have helped make my limited number of trips up to your beloved Delaware a lot easier to plan. Hopefully we get to wet a line together this season.
JW
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Dec 31, 2011December 31st, 2011, 3:01 am EST
Yes, he has very good photo composition skills. Hopefully they will continue in 2012 on the Missouri and he'll be able to pause long enough between battling his brutes to take my picture once in awhile.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Pryal74
Pryal74's profile picture
Escanaba, MI

Posts: 168
Pryal74 on Jan 14, 2012January 14th, 2012, 8:46 pm EST
fantastic photos! I love the one of the Silver Salmon that's kyped up and been in the river a while. He has very interesting colors. Nice work!
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Jan 15, 2012January 15th, 2012, 1:02 am EST
All the kyped males on this river (Johnson Creek) in Alaska had this coloration. This particular fish was caught in a slough off the main river. The salmon were just stacked up in there as the water was clear compared to the glacial color of the main. The guide told us they pull in ther for a while to clean out their gills.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.

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