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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.

Dorsal view of a Epeorus albertae (Heptageniidae) (Pink Lady) Mayfly Nymph from the East Fork Issaquah Creek in Washington
This specimen keys to the Epeorus albertae group of species. Of the five species in that group, the two known in Washington state are Epeorus albertae and Epeorus dulciana. Of the two, albertae has been collected in vastly more locations in Washington than dulciana, suggesting it is far more common. On that basis alone I'm tentatively putting this nymph in albertae, with the large caveat that there's no real information to rule out dulciana.
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 July 9th, 2012
It had been too long since I caught a rainbow, so I made a quick stop at a creek on the south side of the Alaska Range. Alaska's new no-felt-soles regulation made this alder-choked boulder garden one of the most treacherous places I've ever waded, and I emerged from it soaked and bruised, but I did get a couple pretty little rainbow trout for my effort.

The creek is between salmon runs right now, so the fishing was slower than it's usually supposed to be, but that also kept me from any bear encounters. During salmon runs, everyone says this creek is an extremely bear-infested, alder-choked boulder garden. I think I might pass on that experience, since I navigate the slimy boulders in my rubber wader boots at about the average walking speed of an Ephemerella nymph, and the bear encounter guidelines say to walk away slowly, not to slowly splash around and stumble all over yourself. However, I have not yet heard a bear laugh, so it might be worth trying...

Photos by Troutnut from Byers Creek in Alaska

Byers Lake, the source of Byers Creek.  Kesugi Ridge in the background is a popular hiking spot.

From Byers Creek in Alaska
Byers Creek in Alaska
Byers Creek in Alaska
Little Chinook salmon fry kept smacking my fly as I fished for rainbows, and one of them finally got a piece of the hook.

On-stream insect photos by Troutnut from Byers Creek in Alaska

Hanging on!

From Byers Creek in Alaska
Byers Creek in Alaska
Byers Creek in Alaska

Comments / replies

Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
GONZO on Jul 14, 2012July 14th, 2012, 5:02 pm EDT
However, I have not yet heard a bear laugh, so it might be worth trying...

I think I'd pass on that one, too. :)

Although I've used (sticky) rubber wading boots for well more than 10 seasons with reasonable satisfaction, an inexpensive set of wading chains can be useful when things get really slick.
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jul 14, 2012July 14th, 2012, 5:33 pm EDT
Lovely little river there...Laughing bears or not. The wildness of that place is part of the deal, no?

Jason, if you can actually get a bear to laugh he may show you a little mercy...But like G seems to be saying...Who wants to chance it that the bear you cross paths with lacks a sense of humor.

Thanks for the pics.

"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
Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Jul 15, 2012July 15th, 2012, 8:06 am EDT
Jason, I'm using Simms boots with star cleats in the Little Juniata, the most treacherous place I routinely wade, and can't tell any difference from boots with felts and spikes. I recommend the star cleats highly for slippery situations, if your boots will accept them.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Troutnut's profile picture
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Jul 15, 2012July 15th, 2012, 2:15 pm EDT
Thanks for the tips on waders. I'll look into those.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Posts: 287
Feathers5 on Jul 17, 2012July 17th, 2012, 6:19 am EDT
Jason, the only time a bear laughs is when he's done swallowing you.
GldstrmSam's profile picture
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
GldstrmSam on Jul 17, 2012July 17th, 2012, 9:00 pm EDT
Jason, the only time a bear laughs is when he's done swallowing you.

But, if you think you do hear a bear laughing watch out because it is probably just his stomach rumbling.
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus

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