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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 Zapada cinctipes (Nemouridae) (Tiny Winter Black) Stonefly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
Nymphs of this species were fairly common in late-winter kick net samples from the upper Yakima River. Although I could not find a key to species of Zapada nymphs, a revision of the Nemouridae family by Baumann (1975) includes the following helpful sentence: "2 cervical gills on each side of midline, 1 arising inside and 1 outside of lateral cervical sclerites, usually single and elongate, sometimes constricted but with 3 or 4 branches arising beyond gill base in Zapada cinctipes." This specimen clearly has the branches and is within the range of that species.
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 RegionNorthern WI
Specific Location....
Dates Fished3/29-3/30
Time of Day9 am - 7 pm
Fish Caught3 browns
Conditions & HatchesSpring...finally! High of 50 on Friday, 44 on Saturday. Stoneflies hatching consistently on Friday. Raining Saturday, so no bugs.

Details and Discussion

Kschaefer3's profile picture
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Kschaefer3 on Apr 1, 2013April 1st, 2013, 7:15 am EDT
I made it up to northern Wisconsin this weekend for the first nice weather of the year. I fished alone and on foot Friday. It was partly sunny on Friday with a high around 50. The wind was blowing 10-15 mph all day. The stoneflies were hatching and with the wind were ending up in the river. Rising was spotty, but when I found fish rising, they were rising pretty heavy. I caught a very fat 15" brown around 11 am on a streamer. Around 2:30 I came up to 6 or 7 fish rising consistently. I picked one out, cast a streamer to it, and caught it. Another fat healthy fish, 14". The fish continued rising, so I switched to a dry. Admittedly, I am a terrible dry fly fisher. I felt I was making pretty quality casts, but no fish. I switched between a few different small black dries. Towards the end I started skating them a little bit. I was hoping this would work because I could pick out a bug on the water, watch it skitter around, then get sucked down with a violent splash from a trout. Still no takes. I didn't even need to catch one, it was just fun to watch. From what I can gather, this river is one of Troutnut's old haunts. I think I could have used his help with the hatch.

I switched back to a streamer and switched spots on the river. I chose a stretch that I know well. I had 1.5 hrs until sundown. I walked downstream fishing every piece of water that could hold fish, concentrating on down trees. I finished fishing the spot I usually stop at. There was still some light so I decided to keep going, hoping a big brown was waiting until dark to eat. I spotted a nice little down tree. After that the water looked thin for quite a ways. I knew that tree was my last shot. On my third cast I saw a flash, a swirl, and my rod was doubled over. The fish put up a nice fight. It came completely out of the water twice. I finally hauled it in, got a quick measurement, and put it back. The fish measured at 19". I am still waiting on something 20" or better, but a nice fish for sure.

Saturday was cool and rainy in the morning. The rain quit and the sun made an appearance around 3 pm. The high was 45. A friend and I fished together on Saturday. We took out our new pontoons for the first time. No hatches, and no fish. We spent more time figuring out and fine tuning the pontoons than we did fishing. Also, I think 8 miles was a bit lofty for our first time out floating. I didn't care about the lack of fish. The scenery along this river was great and it was fun to spend a day floating with a good friend.

Things are looking up from here. Spring is upon us, and the fishing is about to get good!

Tight lines!


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