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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
Baetis

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.

By Troutnut on October 2nd, 2013
Winter's coming on quickly in Fairbanks, so we took advantage of one nice afternoon to drive up to a well-known bird-hunting spot, hike around, and maybe find some dinner. There weren't many birds, but I managed to get one rock ptarmigan.

Photos by Troutnut from Miscellaneous Alaska in Alaska

Minto Flats

From Murphy Dome in Alaska
Camouflage

From Murphy Dome in Alaska
View over Minto Flats

From Murphy Dome in Alaska
Taiga was very interested in the ptarmigan.

From Murphy Dome in Alaska
Stalking a ptarmigan

From Murphy Dome in Alaska
Minto lakes

From Murphy Dome in Alaska
Very camouflaged

From Murphy Dome in Alaska

Comments / replies

Sayfu
Posts: 560
Sayfu on Oct 4, 2013October 4th, 2013, 6:26 pm EDT
Ptarmigan seem like a great game bird. Are they generally found in good numbers around Fairbanks? And do you hunt with a dog? Are their other game birds? I'm a dedicated upland bird hunter with two good bird dogs. Had a fun Sharptail Grouse hunt last week, and will go again tomorrow.
Troutnut
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Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Oct 4, 2013October 4th, 2013, 10:49 pm EDT
Ptarmigan are fun. For me it's more about the places they're found than the birds themselves... they like the high country in the fall, which is a great place to be. There can be decent numbers around Fairbanks (though you could say that for almost any town in Alaska). They're not migratory on a really large scale but they definitely move around from mountain to mountain and between highlands and lowlands fairly often, so they can be sort of a boom-or-bust thing (like most game and fish in Alaska).

One time up the Dalton Highway I came across literally hundreds of ptarmigan in a couple high valleys. Flocks of anywhere from 10 to 100 birds were all over the place, and you could hear them constantly. My friend and I were coming back from bowhunting for caribou and we tried for ptarmigan for a while, but I wasn't dialed in with my bird arrows and missed all my shots (no gun hunting is allowed in that area). I'm sure the birds moved on soon after that, but it's neat to just know that there are flocks of hundreds of them flying around from valley to valley up in the wilderness of the Brooks Range at this time of year.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Cutbow
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Post Falls, Idaho

Posts: 38
Cutbow on Oct 5, 2013October 5th, 2013, 9:14 pm EDT
I love the photos and thats a beutiful setter you got there! This reminds me of the chuckar hunting I used to do on the Nevada/California border when I lived down there. Only I used shotguns, not archery. :)
"Once you catch your first fish on a fly you won't care about any other kind of fishing!"
Sayfu
Posts: 560
Sayfu on Oct 6, 2013October 6th, 2013, 6:53 am EDT
Troutnut...I've watched, but one Alaska Ptarmigan hunt, and it was a good one. The host flew in from Anchorage, and not that long of flight. They hunted in the lava rock, and those short, berry bushes/plants. The Ptarmigan were very wary birds, and would make short flights to new locations as the two hunters, and dog approached. The dog was skilled at hunting them, and began his stalk, and points well away from the sighted birds. I can enjoy seeing, and dreaming about that hunting. My legs won't allow me to navigate that tough terrain anymore. I hunted sharptail yesterday in the CRP grass bordered by SAGE in wide open country, and pushed my legs passed their limit.
Troutnut
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Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Oct 6, 2013October 6th, 2013, 1:31 pm EDT
I love the photos and thats a beutiful setter you got there!


She is beautiful, but she's not a setter or any kind of bird dog. She's a husky. Her role in the hunt is to stay on the leash, back with my wife, while I sneak up on a bird I've spotted... then come sniff it after the shot. :)
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist

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