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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.

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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Report at a Glance

General RegionCatskills
Specific LocationWest Branch of the Delaware
Dates FishedJuly 27 and 28
Time of DayAll day every day
Fish CaughtBrowns
Conditions & HatchesLower water; the level was between 400 and 500 cfs. Tricos and midges, as well as a few Cahills, sulphurs, olives.

Details and Discussion

Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Jul 29, 2012July 29th, 2012, 6:31 am EDT
About 20-25 fish over the two days, the biggest a 17 inch brown on a size 20 sulphur emerger. 7X was a necessity for dry flies. All the other fish were 12 inches or smaller. Most fish were caught on a Trico parachute, including some midging fish. I also caught about 7 or 8 fish on nymphs tightlining with 5X. The fishing was very challenging, and weather didn't always cooperate. Saturday morning it rained at about 7 and knocked most of the Trico spinners down, simultaneously keeping the fish off them. There weren't many sulphurs, mostly a flush of size 20's just at dark. I also saw some olives and cahills, but never enough to get fish up and eating steadily, except right at dark, in a very few spots. I think there are typically more bugs than this on the West Branch this time of the year. Some have speculated that with the early hatches, perhaps the sulphurs hatched out ahead of time. Any thoughts on this?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jul 29, 2012July 29th, 2012, 10:43 am EDT
Louis, I haven't seem much hatching the last few times I have gone out. I think the early spring got things going early and that they may have finished early. To be honest, I haven't fished much in July due to the heat, drought, deer flies, and tourists. It is most definitely hopper time around here, caught a 13" brookie on [REDACTED] Pond a week ago on a #10 Joe's Hopper (my favorite hopper pattern & size). I have family coming to visit this week but afterward I'll be hitting my favorite spots again, hoping the deer flies will have thinned out by then - that's one hatch I could do without!!!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Jul 29, 2012July 29th, 2012, 10:58 am EDT
Dunno.

Was the 17" on 7x?
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Jul 29, 2012July 29th, 2012, 11:48 am EDT
Yep. I've been catching some larger fish on Tricos on 7X so the practice with them helped. The water was very cold (in the upper 50's) and I put maximum pressure on him, netted him pretty quick, and got him back in without too much ado.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Jul 30, 2012July 30th, 2012, 7:02 am EDT
Very nice. Wish I was there.
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Jul 30, 2012July 30th, 2012, 12:00 pm EDT
Me too, if you're over this way sometime, let me know and we'll wet a line.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Jul 30, 2012July 30th, 2012, 12:05 pm EDT
Congrats on the big fish on small tippet, Louis. Well done.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com

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