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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 Setvena wahkeena (Perlodidae) (Wahkeena Springfly) Stonefly Nymph from Mystery Creek #199 in Washington
As far as I can tell, this species has only previously been reported from one site in Oregon along the Columbia gorge. However, the key characteristics are fairly unmistakable in all except for one minor detail:
— 4 small yellow spots on frons visible in photos
— Narrow occipital spinule row curves forward (but doesn’t quite meet on stem of ecdysial suture, as it's supposed to in this species)
— Short spinules on anterior margin of front legs
— Short rposterior row of blunt spinules on abdominal tergae, rather than elongated spinules dorsally
I caught several of these mature nymphs in the fishless, tiny headwaters of a creek high in the Wenatchee Mountains.
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.

Report at a Glance

General RegionInterior Alaska
Specific LocationBadger Slough
Dates FishedThursday-30 May
Time of DayMorning/Afternoon
Fish CaughtGrayling
Conditions & HatchesClear water, sunny, 80-85 degrees(F). Did not look for hatches.

Details and Discussion

GldstrmSam's profile picture
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
GldstrmSam on Jun 1, 2013June 1st, 2013, 11:14 pm EDT
I went fishing with a friend on Thursday for grayling in the Badger slough (off the Chena river), and tried my new rod and reel* set up for the first time.
Even though the day was hot, I had a very successful trip.
Within the first 10 minutes caught at least five fish. After the sun rose higher the fish, for the most part, got lazy and I had to work the fly a little harder to get a strike. None the less I still caught and released at least twenty five grayling by mid afternoon. One of which set a new grayling record for me at about 16"+.

If you know me fairly well you should easily be able to guess which fly I caught most of them on. Yep! you guessed it - a bead head Brassie. I also was doing very well on a nymph of my own creation, but it started falling apart after a few fish.(of course I did not have any more in my fly box:) I also caught a couple using a good old Red Tag.

My friend was fishing lures so he only caught two grayling. :) :)


*I finally settled on an Echo Ion fly reel and am very pleased with it so far.
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
Troutnut's profile picture
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Jun 5, 2013June 5th, 2013, 12:49 am EDT
Glad you had a good trip! I've been thinking of heading out there while waiting for the rivers to go down, but I've been too busy lately. Had a really fun bear hunt in Prince William Sound!
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
GldstrmSam's profile picture
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
GldstrmSam on Jun 5, 2013June 5th, 2013, 10:30 pm EDT
At first I was worried that the water was going to be high and muddy because the Chena river was at flood stage that day, but the water was actually low and clear. I could not have asked for better conditions.

Sounds like you have a blog post to write. :) :)
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus

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