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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 Kogotus (Perlodidae) Stonefly Nymph from Mystery Creek #199 in Washington
This one pretty clearly keys to Kogotus, but it also looks fairly different from specimens I caught in the same creek about a month later in the year. With only one species of the genus known in Washington, I'm not sure about the answer to this ID.
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.

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By Troutnut on June 21st, 2013
This evening my wife and I took a short drive for some eager small stream grayling on dry flies. Unlike trout, grayling seem to bite best under the most pleasant conditions for fishing: bright sun and low, clear water. Today I caught thirty fish in two hours, while giving Lena first crack at all the holes (she caught plenty, too). This was the kind of day where every likely spot produces a guaranteed rise to a dry (sometimes several) and several fish wind up hooking themselves without my help as the fly line drags behind me while I'm taking pictures.

The main challenge was coping with the mosquitoes. This has been a nasty mosquito year throughout Alaska, and here they were about as bad as I've ever seen except on the North Slope. I was drenched in deet and picardin, which mostly kept the cloud buzzing around me without landing, while Lena was covered head to toe in bug-proof garb. Our defenses kept the bugs at a tolerable distance for a couple hours.

Photos by Troutnut from Nome Creek and Miscellaneous Alaska in Alaska

The dorsal fin of a grayling is one of the prettiest sights in Alaska.
A very nice grayling for this small stream.
Beautiful grayling brought to hand.
Lena landing a feisty grayling.
Playing around a bit with backlighting and demonstrating how not to hold a fish.
Midnight (okay, fine, 11:50 pm) sun on the drive back up the Steese Highway from grayling fishing.

From Cleary Summit in Alaska
View of lower Nome Creek at the canoe launch for floating Beaver Creek (the next take-out is at the Yukon River bridge a couple weeks downstream).

From Nome Creek in Alaska

Underwater photos by Troutnut from Nome Creek in Alaska

Nome Creek in Alaska

Comments / replies

Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jun 23, 2013June 23rd, 2013, 8:24 am EDT
Nice pics, you two! Beautiful day and beautiful fish...I've said it here before that the closest I've been to a Grayling is the one hanging on the wall of the Grayling, MI restaurant...:) Maybe when I head west this August I'll manage to hook a few.

The mosquitoes here have been a bear this year as well...

There are stories here from the 1800's when we still had Grayling in this state of anglers fishing three flies and hooking more than one fish at a time...Their fondness for the dry fly didn't serve them well here...


"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
PaulRoberts's profile picture

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Jun 23, 2013June 23rd, 2013, 9:05 am EDT
Wow. Just beautiful.
Crepuscular's profile picture
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 920
Crepuscular on Jun 23, 2013June 23rd, 2013, 4:32 pm EDT
Nice Jason! Beautiful photos. The shot of the dorsal fin is really cool.


Shakes2582's profile picture
Fort St John, BC

Posts: 1
Shakes2582 on Jun 23, 2013June 23rd, 2013, 4:45 pm EDT
Great photos. I also love to fish for grayling and armed with a 3wt they are my very favorite small stream fish. Love their eager attitude towards the dries and as you mentioned, their feeding isn't slowed by a wonderful sunny day. I am really jealous of your day. My wife and I were up at one of our Grayling hotspots this weekend. We found abundant insects of all types, especially some very large stonefly nymphs that would have made some exciting fishing. Unfortunately, we also found the creek swollen beyond its banks and chocolate milk colored, no fish. Maybe in a couple of weeks................
Posts: 1
Jdw4rf on Jun 24, 2013June 24th, 2013, 6:43 am EDT
Their fondness for the dry fly didn't serve them well here...

not to argue but the overfishing is only a small part of why there are no longer any michigan graylings. Pollution destroyed their habitat, and just like cutthroats, they prefer clean clean water!

awesome catch, hope one day to get up there!
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jun 29, 2013June 29th, 2013, 8:49 am EDT
Wow Jason, I would say other than the mosquitoes (and Spence is right, they are bad here too) it looks like you live in freakin' Paradise! Such beautiful waters and beautiful fish, AND a wife who will not only tolerate but enjoy a day of fishing even though she has to wear one giant mosquito net!

Lucky dog you...although I suppose the incredibly long winters make up for that...


P.S. Spence, as I always like to say, Grayling is the town named after the fish it killed!
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...

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