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Lateral view of a Female Hexagenia limbata (Ephemeridae) (Hex) Mayfly Dun from the Namekagon River in Wisconsin
Hex Mayflies
Hexagenia limbata

The famous nocturnal Hex hatch of the Midwest (and a few other lucky locations) stirs to the surface mythically large brown trout that only touch streamers for the rest of the year.

Lateral view of a Clostoeca disjuncta (Limnephilidae) (Northern Caddisfly) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This one was surprisingly straightforward to identify. The lack of a sclerite at the base of the lateral hump narrows the field quite a bit, and the other options followed fairly obvious characteristics to Clostoeca, which only has one species, Clostoeca disjuncta.
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.

By Troutnut on March 15th, 2012
Well, this isn't a fishing post, but when all the fish are under four feet of ice and snow, we have to look elsewhere for entertainment. Elsewhere... like up.

Intense sunspot activity for the last week or so has painted faint bands of aurora across the sky in Fairbanks pretty much every recent night that we could see them through the clouds. Mostly, these slow-moving pale green stripes aren't anything to get excited about in Fairbanks. Last night, we finally had the right combination of a clear sky and a more intense aurora, and I had my camera out on the deck at the right time.

The display was pretty good for half an hour or so, but the most intense activity lasted just a couple minutes. Green and red waves swirled rapidly overhead like someone was mixing them with an eggbeater. I didn't catch that on camera, but I did catch some of the shimmering green waves that followed. After the most impressive action, I went back to work and enjoyed the diffuse green glow out my window.

Photos by Troutnut from Miscellaneous Alaska in Alaska

I liked the lighting at my workstation last night.  Aurora forecasts on my laptop, aurora out the window, and C code for multidimensional nonlinear minimization on my desktop.

From Fairbanks in Alaska
Pink Fringes

From Fairbanks in Alaska
Here's the view from my front porch in Fairbanks, Alaska, during a nice auroral display.

From Fairbanks in Alaska

Comments / replies

Crepuscular's profile picture
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 920
Crepuscular on Mar 16, 2012March 16th, 2012, 12:33 pm EDT
That is very cool! Much better than the sky in Michigan last evening I bet!
PaulRoberts's profile picture

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Mar 16, 2012March 16th, 2012, 12:45 pm EDT
Very cool.
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Mar 16, 2012March 16th, 2012, 3:59 pm EDT
I'm totally jealous! As far as I can tell, nobody has been seeing them around here (that I've heard of anyway), a surprise given the massive solar storms as of late. Night skies have been pretty nice, however, with the winter constellations and Venus, Mars, and Jupiter.

Send some our way!!!

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Mar 16, 2012March 16th, 2012, 4:08 pm EDT
Golly! those are gorgeous!

i guess i can forgive the solar storms for what they did to my new laptop...just shut down and refused to start again and the shop never did figure out why. i'm blaming the sunspots!

"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
GldstrmSam's profile picture
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
GldstrmSam on Mar 16, 2012March 16th, 2012, 5:51 pm EDT
Nice shots Jason,

I saw they were out last night, but I went to bed early so I missed most of it.

By the way what forecast sight do you use? I use http://www.gi.alaska.edu/AuroraForecast. This is also another good site for those of you who can't be here http://salmon.nict.go.jp/live/aurora_cam/live_aurora_cam_e.html.

I'll be looking out again tonight.
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
Motrout's profile picture
Posts: 319
Motrout on Mar 16, 2012March 16th, 2012, 9:00 pm EDT
Awesome pictures!
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
Troutnut's profile picture
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Mar 17, 2012March 17th, 2012, 4:03 am EDT
Sam, here's the main forecast I use:


I also check the sites you linked, especially the live camera. Also,


And there's an aurora cam in Yellowknife:


And there's a Facebook group for Alaskan aurora notifications:

Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Portage, PA

Posts: 437
Lastchance on Mar 17, 2012March 17th, 2012, 4:30 am EDT
Beautiful photos, Jason.
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Mar 17, 2012March 17th, 2012, 4:39 am EDT
Very cool, Jason. We had the lights here a few months ago, but it seems like I only find out about these things too late. I'd love to see them sometime.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Mar 17, 2012March 17th, 2012, 12:23 pm EDT
Wonderful stuff Jason! And here I thought you were off the grid up there...Instead you appear better connected than most of us...:) That's quite the set up.

My favorite northern lights sighting was in 1973. My best friend and I were actually trying to get home from Alaska, had flown to Seattle, and tried to hitch-hike cross-country. We were somewhere between Coeur-d'Alene and Bozeman, it was after dark and we were riding on some stacked hay-bales in the back of someone's pickup.

The guys in the truck didn't want to leave us out in the middle of Montana at night and had offered to put us up...We decided to make a go of it and continue...I remember one guy saying, "Fellas. It can get pretty cold at night, here in Montana, in late May...Are you sure?!"

We survived. :)

Good stuff Jason! Thanks for showing it to us...Like others here I had heard that we should be seeing something down this way but never did.

"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
GldstrmSam's profile picture
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
GldstrmSam on Mar 17, 2012March 17th, 2012, 9:26 pm EDT
And here I thought you were off the grid up there...Instead you appear better connected than most of us...:) That's quite the set up.

Somebody I know just went up to Arctic Village and she said that they have Internet and video games. Here I thought THEY were off the grid.
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus

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