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Lateral view of a Male Baetis (Baetidae) (Blue-Winged Olive) Mayfly Dun from Mystery Creek #43 in New York
Blue-winged Olives

Tiny Baetis mayflies are perhaps the most commonly encountered and imitated by anglers on all American trout streams due to their great abundance, widespread distribution, and trout-friendly emergence habits.

Dorsal view of a Grammotaulius betteni (Limnephilidae) (Northern Caddisfly) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This is a striking caddis larva with an interesting color pattern on the head. Here are some characteristics I was able to see under the microscope, but could not easily expose for a picture:
- The prosternal horn is present.
- The mandible is clearly toothed, not formed into a uniform scraper blade.
- The seems to be only 2 major setae on the ventral edge of the hind femur.
- Chloride epithelia seem to be absent from the dorsal side of any abdominal segments.
Based on these characteristics and the ones more easily visible from the pictures, this seems to be Grammotaulius. The key's description of the case is spot-on: "Case cylindrical, made of longitudinally arranged sedge or similar leaves," as is the description of the markings on the head, "Dorsum of head light brownish yellow with numerous discrete, small, dark spots." The spot pattern on the head is a very good match to figure 19.312 of Merritt R.W., Cummins, K.W., and Berg, M.B. (2019). The species ID is based on Grammotaulius betteni being the only species of this genus known in Washington state.
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 October 5th, 2012
There are some very late-season Coho (aka silver) salmon runs in interior Alaska. I've never found the time to fish them before, because it's often below freezing by the time the fish arrive, and few spots are accessible by foot. This year has been unseasonably warm, so a couple friends with a boat invited me to join them on the most well-known of these rivers. We found a few good spots where the fish were aggressive, and caught them until our arms were tired. Almost a thousand miles upriver from the Bering Sea, these fish might not have fought as hard as they would fresh from the ocean, but they still had plenty of energy left to perform some impressive runs and acrobatics.

Photos by Troutnut from the Delta Clearwater River in Alaska

I kept my limit of cohos and gave them to a friend to smoke, since my freezer is full of sockeye already.
Salmon pool

From the Delta Clearwater River in Alaska
This pretty male Coho salmon took a purple egg-sucking leech.
It's nice fishing for salmon in such clear water, and really fun when they're as aggressive about chasing the fly as these fish were.

Comments / replies

Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Oct 8, 2012October 8th, 2012, 10:02 pm EDT
Very cool, Jason!:) You are blessed, as few anglers have the experience to literally "wear their arms out" catching salmonids. Beware the culture shock (as I ran into back in the 70's) coming back to the lower 48!:)

Before anyone raises an eyebrow at your comments regarding the fighting qualities of "dark" silvers, I have experienced the same thing with them. Not just from my years in AK, but also from many subsequent years chasing chromers in BC where they (even dark ones) have fooled me into thinking they were steelhead at first. I can't think of a higher compliment...
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
PaulRoberts's profile picture

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Oct 9, 2012October 9th, 2012, 9:09 am EDT
Jason, did you fish to those ones in the pics? I mean in the slow clear water? Or did you fish them in faster slots? Curious? How do they respond to flies?
GldstrmSam's profile picture
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
GldstrmSam on Oct 9, 2012October 9th, 2012, 10:38 am EDT
A friend of mine went fishing in the Clearwater and said how he would throw in a egg sucking leech and let it drift by a row of redds. He said all the salmon would line up waiting for the ESL to come by.The reason they respond to an ESL is out of defense for their redds. Which is why this fly works so well. I do not know they how they would respond to anything else though.
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
Adirman's profile picture
Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on Oct 9, 2012October 9th, 2012, 12:18 pm EDT
So if they're not specifically on their redds do you think this leech pattern wouldnt be quite as effective then?


Troutnut's profile picture
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Oct 10, 2012October 10th, 2012, 10:44 am EDT
I fished for them in the slow water (including the ones in the pictures). The whole river is that clear -- it's one giant spring creek. The fish in slow water were very aggressive toward moving flies, though, and many of them chased a stripped egg-sucking leech several feet and hit it on the first cast.

I also tried fishing to the ones on redds with a variety of presentations, and I don't think I caught a single one. I maybe caught one or two fish that were on the move through faster water, but they were much more willing to hit in the slower water, in several locations. Many of these were migrating fish that stopped in the slow water sections for just a few minutes to rest, not inactive fish hanging out there 24/7.

I don't think the egg-sucking leech really triggers any sort of redd defense because they think it's stealing their eggs. It's just easy to see, it looks very alive, and it triggers some latent aggressive instincts they have from being predators.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
PaulRoberts's profile picture

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Oct 10, 2012October 10th, 2012, 10:50 am EDT
Thanks, Jason.
Pryal74's profile picture
Escanaba, MI

Posts: 168
Pryal74 on Oct 10, 2012October 10th, 2012, 11:29 am EDT
As always... fantastic photos and gorgeous fish.
Jesse's profile picture
Posts: 378
Jesse on Oct 11, 2012October 11th, 2012, 4:36 pm EDT
A-W-E-S-O-M-E ! ! !
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Oct 23, 2012October 23rd, 2012, 9:23 am EDT
I'm so jealous of all these places and wildlife you get to experience, Jason. What a fantastic place to live. I'm glad to see you're taking advantage of the many opportunities for sport. Inspiring stuff. Makes me feel so... suburban.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
Posts: 1
Boowill on Jan 23, 2013January 23rd, 2013, 12:11 am EST
Way cool website! I haven't seen anything like it in the fly fishing arena. Thanks for all the hard work in bringing all of this to life..literally to life.
Afn2012's profile picture

Posts: 1
Afn2012 on Feb 18, 2013February 18th, 2013, 10:32 pm EST
Wow! Great fishing with salmon. Thanks for sharing this info, very interesting to read.

Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Feb 19, 2013February 19th, 2013, 9:33 am EST
Cheers back at you.

Troutnuts, I always wonder when I see a post like Afn2012's above, but following a few links on the AFN website I found this fun video. Scroll to the bottom of the page.

"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Feb 19, 2013February 19th, 2013, 10:14 am EST
Agreed! I was also leery but took a chance since I got some really good virus protection software and enjoyed some of the videos.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.

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