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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 Ephemerella mucronata (Ephemerellidae) Mayfly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
This is an interesting one. Following the keys in Merritt R.W., Cummins, K.W., and Berg, M.B. (2019) and Jacobus et al. (2014), it keys clearly to Ephemerella. Jacobus et al provide a key to species, but some of the characteristics are tricky to interpret without illustrations. If I didn't make any mistakes, this one keys to Ephemerella mucronata, which has not previously been reported any closer to here than Montana and Alberta. The main character seems to fit well: "Abdominal terga with prominent, paired, subparallel, spiculate ridges." Several illustrations or descriptions of this holarctic species from the US and Europe seem to match, including the body length, tarsal claws and denticles, labial palp, and gill shapes. These sources include including Richard Allen's original description of this species in North America under the now-defunct name E. moffatae in Allen RK (1977) and the figures in this description of the species in Italy.
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.

TimCat's profile picture
Alanson, MI

Posts: 121
TimCat on Feb 23, 2016February 23rd, 2016, 2:35 pm EST
So I'm getting ready for the upcoming season and thinking about runoff. I am "prospecting" blue lines on google maps/earth, tying flies, and thinking about requesting time off work now for my first trip of 2016... maybe prematurely. Getting restless almost.

I'm wondering if I should plan based on when the runoff happens here in Michigan. There are several things that I've read that gave me some questions:

Is runoff really a big factor in a geological area like Michigan?

I assume runoff may be more of a factor in mountainous regions where the main sources of water come from snow and rain(?) that travel across rocks and land and pick up sediments, with the water being colder. All the streams around here are spring fed. I am led to infer the water will be around the same temp and transparency in the spring as it is in the summer and winter. There will be snow melt and maybe some heavy rain still, which can definitely stop you from hitting the water. Pay attention to how much snow is still accumulated maybe?

Is runoff really something to worry about planning a trip for?

I won't be spending much money relative to what some trips can cost. I certainly love just the hiking and camping part. If there aren't heavy rains (which can't be predicted much in advance) and minimal melt coming into the streams, I bet the fishing is still pretty good.

Since I just started fly fishing last summer, I haven't experienced any spring conditions on a forest river in Michigan yet, and don't know what the deciding factors for going out, and staying home could be. I look forward to a full season of soaking it all in, even if my trips aren't during prime conditions.

"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless
Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Feb 23, 2016February 23rd, 2016, 6:09 pm EST
If there aren't heavy rains (which can't be predicted much in advance) and minimal melt coming into the streams, I bet the fishing is still pretty good.

I'd think so. A little color in the water can be good. Best of luck Tim.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
PaulRoberts's profile picture

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Feb 24, 2016February 24th, 2016, 7:34 am EST
Agree. Snow melt in the flatlands can be rapid following real hot spells and esp rains. But otherwise, it's more metered and not going to blow the stream out like it generally does for a period in the mountainous West.

What you want to avoid is that turbid 34F snow-melt water. Either side of that can offer good -although different- fishing. But bring a good book just in case.
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Feb 24, 2016February 24th, 2016, 8:04 am EST
Tim, we'll just have to see what the rest of winter has in store for us. Right now we haven't had much of a snowpack - I can see large portions of my backyard right now, but we are supposed to be getting something like 6-9" in the next 24 hours...if we get a lot more snow and some heavy April rains, streams in May can be pretty high and scary wading, not to mention quite cloudy. However, if we don't get a lot more snow and spring is dry, like 2012, spring flows can be low and clear and hatches can be going like crazy right around and after the opener. That particular year was the best May and June trout fishing of my entire life! But I would expect things to be a bit high and off-color at this point.

Ever try trout fishing on stillwaters? When streams are blown out, ponds and lakes can be worth a try with streamers, or even dry flies. I have two spots I will be hitting, one of which is open year-round and I'm ice fishing it on occasion right now. I haven't had a lot of luck here in MI when streams are high and muddy, and as I said the fast currents and deeper waters can make for a possible swim, not too fun early in the year...

Keep thinking about it, not too long now...


P.S. What areas are you looking at? Find your way up to Oscoda and I've got some spots for you...
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
TimCat's profile picture
Alanson, MI

Posts: 121
TimCat on Feb 24, 2016February 24th, 2016, 3:07 pm EST
Thanks for the replies everyone. The slush, snow, and ice is accumulating as I post this, but it is Feb still...

Jonathon, My grandmother lives in Oscoda. I will definitely be in your neighborhood. There will be a DM in your inbox shortly after this post!
"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless

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