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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 Sweltsa (Chloroperlidae) (Sallfly) Stonefly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
This species was fairly abundant in a February sample of the upper Yakima.
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 RegionWI
Dates Fished04/17/2015
Time of DayMiddle of the day
Fish Caught10 or so brook trout
Conditions & Hatches65, sunny, a few stones bouncing around

Details and Discussion

Kschaefer3's profile picture
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Kschaefer3 on Apr 21, 2015April 21st, 2015, 12:12 pm EDT
I was fishing my favorite river in Wisconsin for browns, but the fishing was slow. I wanted to test out my new 4 wt and some dries I tied, so I went and fished a small feeder to the main river that contains native brookies. Despite seeing no risers, I put on a #16 caddis I tied with a natural deer hair wing and an olive body. As I worked my way up, I saw a splashy rise off of a little sweeper on a bend. I cast up, got a perfect drift and was rewarded with a beautifully colored native brook trout. I continued fishing for 2 hours and caught 10 brook trout, most 6"-9", with one monster measuring 11", all on the same caddis (or same pattern, the tag alders stole a fly or two).

For those who know me, prospecting with dries to small fish may seem strange. These were some of the most special and rewarding fish I have ever caught, though. Not only are they beautiful and native, but they are also the first fish I caught on dry flies I tied. I left the creek with an ear to ear grin that day.

I still love fishing for big browns, and know I will spend a lot of time doing that this season. This experience made me appreciate something different in fishing, however. For the first time since I started my infatuation with big browns, I could feel a marked shift in my fishing mentality. I hope to post more trip reports this year with fish looking like this little gem...
Taxon's profile picture
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Taxon on Apr 22, 2015April 22nd, 2015, 5:54 am EDT

Very nice; thanks for sharing.
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Apr 22, 2015April 22nd, 2015, 10:03 am EDT
Kyle, Gorgeous fish. Many of the guys I fish with like fishing for brook trout, and exactly for some of the reasons you note. Which rod did you settle on, and how is it fishing for you?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Kschaefer3's profile picture
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Kschaefer3 on Apr 22, 2015April 22nd, 2015, 11:59 am EDT
Thanks Roger and Louis!

I ended up with the 8'6" 4wt Winston Nexus. I cast it next to the more expensive rods on my list, but didn't think there was enough of a difference to justify spending almost twice as much. The rod has fished exceptionally well. It's not overly fast, but crisp and responsive. I like that it has a softer tip with tons of feel for fishing dries. Plus, it still handles a pretty heavy bugger with ease.
PaulRoberts's profile picture

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Apr 22, 2015April 22nd, 2015, 5:13 pm EDT
I see an 8ft 3wt in your future. And a 7-1/2. And a 7fter. and...
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Apr 22, 2015April 22nd, 2015, 7:49 pm EDT
7 1/2-ft. 3-weight...ultimate small stream and pond rod...just my 2 cents, some photos to follow here within a few days to a week...

Nice fish Kyle, pretty too! Looks like some nice wild brookies there, sure to warm one's heart at this time of year! We saw a snow squall today, not thinking it's going to be a warm opener (Saturday) this year. If the opener isn't too windy (supposed to be 47 F) I might hit my brookie pond, otherwise I'll let the desperate downstaters pound the streams and catch little or nothing because it's been so cold and the waters are low so they'll all spoke them...Spring is tough around here, first few weeks of the season are slow and it's almost better to hit the warmwater ponds to warm up your casting arm on bass and panfish and wait for the trout streams to hit about 50 F or so for the hatches to start...our high's have been in the low- to mid-forties lately so we're going slow around here...

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Apr 22, 2015April 22nd, 2015, 8:38 pm EDT
Kyle...You were grinning ear to ear, so were a few of us old sod dry-fly-guys...I don't care how its done, it somehow never gets old.

Dare I say you're hooked? ;)

I can't wait to see your Trico report later in the year.


I did a little tying today...Heading north tomorrow...It snowed up there and this may be the last gasp of winter...Cross your fingers. I tied some Hendricksons...A Robert's Drake version (Thanks Mr. Neil!) and some spinners...

I found this hook that is an up eye, short shank, somewhat wide gape...Not sure where I picked them up...I only had 5. I tied a yellow egg sack down around the bend of the hook, split tails, wrapped PT fiber body, dubbed thorax, around some synthetic spent wing. I'm hoping the egg sac lies below the surface a bit...There he goes, over thinking it again...:)
"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

Posts: 278
TNEAL on Apr 23, 2015April 23rd, 2015, 2:24 pm EDT
two days of snow and wind chill temps in the low 20s. any Hendricksons will need wool sweaters.
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Apr 25, 2015April 25th, 2015, 6:00 am EDT
Excellent, Kyle...

There are many, many, different definitions of the phrase "nice fish" and all are equally valid. This is the thing that, for me at least, guarantees that the wonder and joy I feel on the water will never be used up or diminished. It simply expresses itself in the next "nice fish" I meet along the way, whether it is a 4 lb. wild brown, a 10" brookie, a 16" smallmouth from small water or even a 12" crappie from the local glacial pothole.



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