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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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Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Apr 13, 2012April 13th, 2012, 4:50 pm EDT
Although the low waters are somewhat worrisome this year and we could sure use some rain, there's no way I could have done this fishing this early in a normal year. The Rifle was low and clear and some insects were flitting about, including some Red Quills and some type of little brown stonefly - thought it was a caddis until one landed on me last time out. No matter, an Elkhair Caddis was a fine imitation, with golden-brown dubbing, medium brown hackle, gold wire counter-wrapped over the hackle, and a tan-grey wing. Three hits on this fly I missed completely, didn't even sting 'em. One fish was feeding and may have hit the fly twice, the other fish rose out of nowhere.

Oh well, I though, at least I raised a couple. Then as I was maybe 15 minutes from the car, fishing downstream, this nicely colored 14" brown took a #10 Woolly Bugger in olive (tail), peacock (body), and grizzly (hackle). Man did he hit hard, sent a shockwave straight up my arm into my brain. Not a bad start to the season, considering that last year my first trout was a 6" brookie. This guy could have eaten that one...

To top it all off, I had the place to myself on a beautiful day. Last week I went there and found a couple of guys in a rowboat with squeaky oars looking for steelhead - this on a river that averages 20-30 feet wide and holes no deeper than my shoulders. Needless to say, I didn't catch anything then, and I was happy not to see them today! I did see what may have been a 2-foot steelhead myself today, came so close to me I thought it was going to swim between my legs! Plus, six turkeys and three deer on the drive.

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
GldstrmSam's profile picture
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
GldstrmSam on Apr 13, 2012April 13th, 2012, 7:35 pm EDT
Beautiful fish Jonathan,

Tomorrow if I remember I am going to tie myself that bugger that you said you caught that fish on. It seems like it would be a excellent variation. I have never thought of using peacock for a bugger body.

There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
Jesse's profile picture
Posts: 378
Jesse on Apr 14, 2012April 14th, 2012, 6:31 pm EDT
Gorgeous first fish my man, well done!
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.

Posts: 5
Seatrout on Apr 16, 2012April 16th, 2012, 3:58 am EDT
Peacock works really well for a bugger body, gives the fly a bit of a glance... Nice fish!

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