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Artistic view of a Male Pteronarcys californica (Pteronarcyidae) (Giant Salmonfly) Stonefly Adult from the Gallatin River in Montana
Salmonflies
Pteronarcys californica

The giant Salmonflies of the Western mountains are legendary for their proclivity to elicit consistent dry-fly action and ferocious strikes.

Case view of a Pycnopsyche guttifera (Limnephilidae) (Great Autumn Brown Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
It's only barely visible in one of my pictures, but I confirmed under the microscope that this one has a prosternal horn and the antennae are mid-way between the eyes and front of the head capsule.

I'm calling this one Pycnopsyche, but it's a bit perplexing. It seems to key definitively to at least Couplet 8 of the Key to Genera of Limnephilidae Larvae. That narrows it down to three genera, and the case seems wrong for the other two. The case looks right for Pycnopsyche, and it fits one of the key characteristics: "Abdominal sternum II without chloride epithelium and abdominal segment IX with only single seta on each side of dorsal sclerite." However, the characteristic "metanotal sa1 sclerites not fused, although often contiguous" does not seem to fit well. Those sclerites sure look fused to me, although I can make out a thin groove in the touching halves in the anterior half under the microscope. Perhaps this is a regional variation.

The only species of Pycnopsyche documented in Washington state is Pycnopsyche guttifera, and the colors and markings around the head of this specimen seem to match very well a specimen of that species from Massachusetts on Bugguide. So I am placing it in that species for now.

Whatever species this is, I photographed another specimen of seemingly the same species from the same spot a couple months later.
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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Outdoors198
Posts: 27
Outdoors198 on Sep 26, 2015September 26th, 2015, 9:03 pm EDT
I thought it would be interesting to hear what everyone's favorite nymphing setups are. I usually run 2 flies in tandem around 12 to 18 inches apart. I put the heavier fly on top and set my split shot or weight around a foot up or a little more.
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Sep 27, 2015September 27th, 2015, 6:52 am EDT
When I nymph for Erie steelhead I sometimes do use a two fly, in line, set up. I also put the bigger of the two flies on top and the smaller fly between 10" and 12" below the upper fly. I use a somewhat different set up for steelhead nymphing. I buy a 7 1/2' leader tapered to 2X or 3X and then add to the end of the tippet a micro swivel. They are really tiny, no longer than 5/16". I leave the tag end of the tapered leader about 3" long. Then add a piece of 4X fluorocarbon tippet about 2' - 3' long. I add the shot to the tag end of the leader so when they get snagged I can usually pull them off without breaking off the flies.

There is though a major problem with a two fly rig for steelhead; if you are just a moment late on the strike (or maybe too quick) you run the risk of foul hooking a fish on the bottom fly in a fin or some body part other than the mouth. Also sometimes there are just so many fish in a run that the second fly just adds to the chance of an accidental foul hooking.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
RleeP
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Sep 27, 2015September 27th, 2015, 8:25 am EDT
I'm mostly a small to medium water (say up to 40' or so max...) wild trout guy, so I never really saw any real point in a multiple nymph setup until I left PA and started fishing the SW Wisconsin limestones. Out there, there were pool to pool sufficient fish numbers to warrant monkeying around with a multi fly rig. I used a simple tandem where the smaller rear fly was tied off on the bend of the front or larger fly. I tinkered with a variety of lengths between the two flies and eventually settled for about 10-12". This seemed to be a good compromise between at least a reasonably natural drift while minimizing the tangles that are just part of the package with a two-fly rig.

Now that we are back in NW PA, I've pretty much gone back to single fly nymphing. If I go down to Spring Creek or Fishing Creek or down to Oil Creek for stockers, I might fish a pair of nymphs again. It would be worth the aggravation. Otherwise, I can't see it..

I grew up within a 20-30 minute drive of the Lake Erie steelhead fishery and never fished more than one fly at a time for them. It just never occurred to me. I fished big white wooly buggers until the water dropped below 40F and then I fished big egg flies. And that was that..

Now that we're back in PA, I think I'll be spending steelhead season down on the Allegheny throwing big Closers on a sink tip for walleye. I can't take the crowds. But that's just me...
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Sep 27, 2015September 27th, 2015, 1:08 pm EDT
Rleep wrote;

I can't take the crowds.


I can understand that the number of angler's can be daunting but after having been initiated into steelhead fishing on the battle fields of the Salmon River in Pulaski, NY the Erie creeks are refreshing days of great camaraderie with a bunch of strangers.

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Sep 28, 2015September 28th, 2015, 7:00 pm EDT
I think I'll be spending steelhead season down on the Allegheny throwing big Closers on a sink tip for walleye.


Or, there are the muskies. :)
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
RleeP
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Sep 29, 2015September 29th, 2015, 4:40 am EDT
>I think I'll be spending steelhead season down on the Allegheny throwing big Closers on a sink tip for walleye.


Or, there are the muskies. :)>

Right you are, Louis...!! It can take patience, though. Sometimes, it gets to the point where you think you're just going to scream if you have put up with landing even one more 18" smallmouth or "eating size" walleye (16-22") before that muskie finally shows up. Luckily, its OK to scream. There is seldom another angler within earshot...:)

Back on topic, one of my favorite Driftless nymph combo was a #16-18 (1XL) dark green wire copper john behind a #12-14 (2XS heavy scud hook) simple pink scud with a sandwich bag shellback ribbed with whatever color of small uni wire was closest to the vise at the time (usually gold or red). This was a spookily effective combo virtually everywhere out there, even in relatively clear water. But only on the limestones. I tried it on some of the Central WI sand streams and I may as well have been fishing a slice of dill pickle. Nothing.. I plan to eventually try this combo down on some of the Central PA limestones if I ever finish mulching flower beds, cleaning walleye and hosting self-inviting relatives I had largely forgotten I had who only want to see the house and catch up on the 15 years we were gone...:)
Plecoptera
Parker, Colorado

Posts: 3
Plecoptera on Oct 1, 2015October 1st, 2015, 8:17 am EDT
Rleep wrote;

I can't take the crowds.


NY the Erie creeks are refreshing days of great camaraderie with a bunch of strangers.



Ditto out here in the west. Trashed out places seem to accumulate trash fishermen. Get out on the remote and wild side, and most of the people I meet are well worth meeting. The thing that constantly amazes is the amount of very fine water that few visit because a 1/4 mile hike from the truck is involved. Also, a whole lot of people fish the guide book, not their own eyes.

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