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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.

Dorsal view of a Ephemerella mucronata (Ephemerellidae) Mayfly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
This is an interesting one. Following the keys in Merritt R.W., Cummins, K.W., and Berg, M.B. (2019) and Jacobus et al. (2014), it keys clearly to Ephemerella. Jacobus et al provide a key to species, but some of the characteristics are tricky to interpret without illustrations. If I didn't make any mistakes, this one keys to Ephemerella mucronata, which has not previously been reported any closer to here than Montana and Alberta. The main character seems to fit well: "Abdominal terga with prominent, paired, subparallel, spiculate ridges." Several illustrations or descriptions of this holarctic species from the US and Europe seem to match, including the body length, tarsal claws and denticles, labial palp, and gill shapes. These sources include including Richard Allen's original description of this species in North America under the now-defunct name E. moffatae in Allen RK (1977) and the figures in this description of the species in Italy.
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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Pryal74 has attached these 14 pictures to this report. The message is below.
Definitely my biggest Steelhead ever.

Report at a Glance

General RegionThe U.P.
Dates Fished3-27-2012 3-29-2012
Fish CaughtSteelhead
Conditions & HatchesWater temps around 50 degrees. Air temps varying around 40 degrees. Water levels dropping and clearing up.

Details and Discussion

Pryal74's profile picture
Escanaba, MI

Posts: 168
Pryal74 on Mar 29, 2012March 29th, 2012, 10:00 pm EDT
Timing the Steelhead run can give you fits and force you to sit at the gas pump shaking your head. I am here to tell you it was worth the wait and long hours checking water temps, levels and fish sign.

I fished the same areas for 2 days never saw the same fish twice. I caught fish that were fresh and fish that had spent a portion of time in the river already.

The CFS had been quite high due to the little run off we DID have. Levels have fallen and with it, made fly fishing easier. The temps then plummeted to under 40 degrees which seemed to keep a huge push of fish from entering the rivers. The fish we found were scattered but extremely active.
Crepuscular's profile picture
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 920
Crepuscular on Mar 30, 2012March 30th, 2012, 6:37 am EDT
Nicely done James! Beautiful fish
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Mar 30, 2012March 30th, 2012, 11:23 am EDT
Nice pictures - do you always go with someone who is willing to take your picture? Some of those fish loo9k like resident rainbows and many of the others look like true steelhead. That 1st and 2nd picture is a real brute/
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Pryal74's profile picture
Escanaba, MI

Posts: 168
Pryal74 on Mar 30, 2012March 30th, 2012, 3:34 pm EDT
Thanks! These are all Steelhead. If I don't have someone with me, I use the self timer.

The first fish (same as the second of course) is my biggest Steelhead ever. We have this awful cold snap right now. It's been around 40 degrees here a few days now. It's been tough. Only got 2 today.
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Mar 31, 2012March 31st, 2012, 4:56 pm EDT
James, did you get a weight or length on that monster? Or can you guestimate from experience? What a massive fish! Congrats on your biggest ever!


P.S. Man, I'd be happy with just one of the small ones...
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Pryal74's profile picture
Escanaba, MI

Posts: 168
Pryal74 on Apr 1, 2012April 1st, 2012, 12:00 am EDT
@ Jonathon, Thank you. From experience... in-between 17-18 pounds. I posted the video of the battle and release on our youtube channel. Obviously I had to edit the footage for time constraints. I didn't want to over post with pictures and videos so I save some up and then splurge. I'll put a link up to the video on another post in fishing reports. I'm going to cover some new water tomorrow. Thanks again everyone.

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