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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.
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.

Roguerat
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Roguerat on Nov 3, 2016November 3rd, 2016, 11:37 am EDT
I've fished and enjoyed my 11-6 7 wt switch rod for a season now and getting the itch to step up (down?) to a full-length Spey rod but more suitable for stream trout- and wondering if any Troutnuts have experience or an opinion on 4/5 wt Spey rods. The 7 wt is great but smaller fish just don't put up much of a fight given the rod size and heft.
I'm leaning toward the TFO Deer Creek 12-6 in the 4/5 wt model, with a suitable Scandi head since I wouldn't be throwing a heavy sink-tip and heavier flies or streamers. A rod at this price-point would be within my financial means as well.

Any advice would be great,

Tight lines, all,

Roguerat

'Less is more...'

Ludwig Mies Vande Rohe
Roguerat
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Roguerat on Nov 6, 2016November 6th, 2016, 1:57 am EDT
Lighter wt Speys, redux-

After some back-and-forth with a more knowledgeable fishing buddy I'm reconsidering the 12'-6" spey and thinking more about an 11' 4 wt switch rod. Chad is my go-to guru and got me into cold water fly fishing years ago, we still fish together on occasion despite some disparate work schedules, and he feels I'd be better served with a lighter rod given the intended use.

Headed north this pm, beautiful weather here in W MI...65 degrees in November is pretty rare (see Jonathan's post too!)

Roguerat

'Less is more...'

Ludwig Mies Vande Rohe
Wbranch
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York & Starlight PA

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Wbranch on Nov 8, 2016November 8th, 2016, 11:50 am EST
I would like to understand the rationale for the purchase of 11' - 12' 6" spey rods for line weights #4 - #6???? What is the point of buying such long, and light light, rods for trout when most are usually in the 15" - 18" class with the occasional 20"+ fish?? I can throw #4 - #6 streamers for 3-4 hours 50' - 60' with 1-2 false casts with any of my 9' #6 or #7 rods and with a little more arm motion throw 70'.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Roguerat
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Roguerat on Nov 8, 2016November 8th, 2016, 8:44 pm EST
Matt-

No disputing the distance or efficiency that can be achieved with single-handed rods, I've caught trout and Steelies with mine and enjoy the mechanics of the false casts, single and double hauls too.
The switch rod thing is simply a different way of doing things...I'm intrigued by the casting dynamics and this is something new to learn. The heavier rods are overkill and I'm looking at lighter double-handed rods to keep things interesting.

Tight lines,

Roguerat

'Less is more...'

Ludwig Mies Vande Rohe
Wbranch
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York & Starlight PA

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Wbranch on Nov 9, 2016November 9th, 2016, 1:11 am EST
Roguerat;

Thanks for your response.
I'm intrigued by the casting dynamics and this is something new to learn.


I too like to see the awesome 80' - 100' roll casts guys get with that across the body flip and power roll cast. I'd like to try that myself and might consider buying a longer rod for my steelheading on the Cattaraugus River in NYS. I don't know if those monster 80' - 100' roll casts can be accomplished with #3-#5 rods but I never use a rod lighter than a #6 for chrome anyway. I have a 10' 6" switch rod but never wanted to spend the minimum $100 for the proper switch line. I use it mostly for high stick nymphing or conventional overhead casting. The added length, and power, allows me to throw 50'-60' with just one false cast.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Roguerat
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Roguerat on Nov 9, 2016November 9th, 2016, 4:07 am EST
Agreed on seeing an experienced spey-caster roll out a 100' cast, swing the line, then set it up and do it over- all the while making it look EASY.

I lucked out and was able to purchase a Rio Switch Chucker line for almost half-cost, and paired with an 11'-6" rod I'm able to get some respectable distance with spey-casting. Some of the time. It doesn't shoot line effortlessly like a shooting-head/running line combo would, and I've done my share or more of flailing around and ducking a wild cast gone bad...but it's the learning that's fun for me. Something new, something different.

BTW, nice fish and nice Clousers. I need to make a point of tying and FISHING Clousers to see what that's all about, too...another learning curve.

Roguerat

'Less is more...'

Ludwig Mies Vande Rohe
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

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Jmd123 on Nov 9, 2016November 9th, 2016, 5:10 am EST
Hey Rogue, my Killer Bass Fly (derived from an old steelhead fly called the Comet) is similar but with a different body design and materials. They share, though, the weighted eyes and that gives the fly a certain motion under the water. I fish my flies with an irregular retrieve to give them that "crippled baitfish" look, and I imagine Matt varies his speed and rate of stripping frequently. If it looks like an easy meal, they will make it one...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Wbranch
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Wbranch on Nov 9, 2016November 9th, 2016, 5:47 am EST
I've provided a wealth of information on my streamer angling but there is just so much more involved with fishing those flies. It took me years to learn new techniques to fish them and hone my skills. I'm still trying new things and experimenting with different retrieves and patterns. Much of my success is based on water conditions. Some conditions are better than others. Air and water temperature are critical. The Dew Point makes a big difference. Turbidity and the lack of it can change how the fish will eat the fly.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Roguerat
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Roguerat on Nov 9, 2016November 9th, 2016, 6:04 am EST
I really like the learning curve of fly-fishing, and the challenge of adapting or experimenting due to conditions or what the fish may- or may not- want on a a given outing. Matt's been at this since I was all of 8 years old and he's still experimenting and adapting...and learning.

It's why we do what we do, and what a great sport we've got!

Jonathon, I'm not sure I've asked for a pic or pattern for your KBF...if I did, forgive me for asking again- it sounds good.

tight lines, all,

Roguerat

"Less is more...'

Ludwig Mies Vande Rohe
Wbranch
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York & Starlight PA

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Wbranch on Nov 9, 2016November 9th, 2016, 7:06 am EST
I turned 73 in September and have COPD. I can't walk very fast without getting winded and out of breath. But if I take my time, and don't have any inclines to climb, I can walk a mile or so. I'm hoping I get another 8-10 years of wade fishing and when I hang up the Simms for the last time I still have the Hyde to fall back on. Just have to find some young retired guy around 60-65 to launch the boat for me and steer the boat down river and get it back on the trailer at the end of the day.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Roguerat
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Roguerat on Nov 9, 2016November 9th, 2016, 7:30 am EST
Matt,

Can't help you with the boat and all, I've got chronic asthma and cobbled-up ankles to boot...no pun intended there (I've had to increase wading boot size every other purchase due to this, up to sz 14's now and wondering where it will stop!). But I'm in agreement that I'll fish as long as I'm able and then past that because it's worth it...it's simply that good.

What percentage of fish do you catch on a Clouser pattern vs. 'other streamers'? I'm willing to bet it's 80/20 or even 90/10 given the pics you post!!

Roguerat
Jmd123
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Jmd123 on Nov 9, 2016November 9th, 2016, 8:54 am EST
Rogue, one example of my KBF is posted with my latest story, about the big rainbow I finally caught in Reid Lake. The recipe is as follows:

Hook: standard 3x long streamer hook (Mustad 9672 or equivalent), size 10 to 2;

Thread: silver grey 3/0 or equivalent;

Tail: 3-4 grizzly marabou feathers, tied in at the bend and extending one hook length back, topped with 15-20 strands of silver Krystal Flash (rainbow KF added to the rainbow variant);

Body: Crystal Tinsel Chenille or something similar like Estaz, etc. - silver, or rainbow with silver braided tinsel wound over the top;

Hackle: nice webby grizzly hackle feather, tied in as a collar and then coned back over the body; and

Eyes: bead-chain for smaller/shallower flies, painted lead dumbbells for heavier flies/deeper water (e.g., Reid Lake which gets 38 feet deep in the middle).

Here's some more pics for ya:

http://www.troutnut.com/topic/8016/KBF-photos-for-Kyle-and-others#37132

They have caught brook, brown, and rainbow trout, largemouth & smallmouth bass, yellow perch, black crappie, and several species of sunfish. Including my largest rainbow, largest perch, and largest bass of both species...

Jonathon

P.S. My condolences gentlemen on your physical issues. I'm about to turn 53 (Sunday after Thanksgiving) and I'm still pretty happy that I can wade for 3-4 hours in current, and drag a kayak on a 2-mile round trip (OK, with wheels, but also about 60-70 pounds including my gear) into Reid Lake and paddle around for 3-4 hours (as well as heaving it up on my car all by myself). I can honestly say that it all hit me at 50, energy lessened and allergies worsened. Catching nice fish, however, is a powerful motivator, especially when you've been doing it since you were 9 (with a fly rod since 21) and when it happens it's essentially psychotherapy. All was good in the world after I boated that 3-pounder...

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Roguerat
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Roguerat on Nov 9, 2016November 9th, 2016, 9:29 am EST
I'm good for 2-3 hours of wading before things get out of hand, and I tighten the living crap out of the laces on my wading boots to get and keep them TIGHT for lateral support. Agreed on the therapeutic values of fly fishing, it keeps me sane and catching fish is a bonus...what its all about, after all!

I found your pic of the KBF, and thanks for the recipe- I'll tie some up for this coming weekend when I'm hoping to get back on the White (MI version) again. Sunday forecast is mid-50's and some increasing cloud cover just might be amenable to the steelhead just starting to gather below the dam in Hesperia. Which could lead to trying to fish in a crowd, something I'm not comfortable with. Elbow-to-elbow just takes the fun out of things, I think.

Roguerat
Wbranch
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Wbranch on Nov 9, 2016November 9th, 2016, 10:30 am EST
Roguerat,

I assume you are using a good collapsible wading staff?? I started using one about six years ago and never fish without it. It fits in a scabbard and that slips onto my wading belt so I never forget it. I still often wade deep, over my waist, in softer water and it really helps me find my way along boulder strewn bottoms. I also have a tendency to lean on it when I get tired, or bored, waiting for fish to rise. Someday I might be in for a soaking if it collapses while I am leaning on it.

What percentage of fish do you catch on a Clouser pattern vs. 'other streamers'? I'm willing to bet it's 80/20 or even 90/10 given the pics you post!!


How about 100%?? I sometimes think about trying the many new articulated streamers I see in fly catalogs or the big wool head streamers, maybe some of those tube flies, or the Enrico Pugilisi patterns that have a very nice broad profile. But then I think I will have to spend money to buy the materials and spend the time to learn how to tie them well and learn how to fish them properly. Then I think of all the big fish I have already caught on the Clousers and the hundreds of flies I have already tied and I say "why mess with success?.

I do though believe pretty much any well tied streamer, with the right color combinations and flash, will catch bigger trout in your home waters.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123
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Jmd123 on Nov 9, 2016November 9th, 2016, 10:56 am EST
"But then I think I will have to spend money to buy the materials and spend the time to learn how to tie them well and learn how to fish them properly. Then I think of all the big fish I have already caught on the Clousers and the hundreds of flies I have already tied and I say "why mess with success?."

Totally with you on that one, Matt. Once you find a pattern that is consistently effective AND easy to tie, why bother with something more complicated that takes more time to make? And then you've just wasted more time tying said fly when it breaks off on a tree or a fish. My waters are small and tight with shrubs or full of underwater snags, and if I don't lose 3 or 4 (or more) flies per trip I am lucky. Since a fly could potentially be lost even on the first cast (had it happen!!), why would I want to spend an hour tying each one when I can spend 15-20 minutes and just crank them out a half dozen at a time? For you it is the Clouser (I need to try them again), for me it's the KBF. The only thing you need to change is the color combo, and both flies lend themselves to almost endless variation, ala the Woolly Bugger (another easy tie). And you can make any of those flies big enough to attract big fish without resorting to taking half an hour just to build up/trim a body on those complex flies or link two segments together.

And that's all besides, as Matt points out, having to buy a whole bunch of new materials when you already have several drawers (I now have 6) full of other stuff already and you can make those simple patterns by the hundred...

Just my 2 cents but a simple pattern works just as well and takes a lot less time and hassle at the vise.

Jonathon

P.S. Rogue, I know that dam in Hesperia. Worked in that area three summers ago. Saw a guy pull an 18-inch brown out from below the dam on a "baby-rainbow" pattern Rapala about 2 1/2" long. Should give you some ideas for an appropriate fly as a substitute (and save yourself $6-7).

Streamer fishing ROCKS, boys! The only thing in the whole world better is dry flies...
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Roguerat
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Roguerat on Nov 10, 2016November 10th, 2016, 7:28 am EST
Matt-

Yeah, I've got a Simm's 54" staff, use it in in any stream that looks rocky or slick. Sand isn't much of a problem. I was on the Big Manistee a couple weeks back and the rock-snot was phenomenal...EVERYTHING covered in a slick algae that defied traction and stability.

Jonathon- I think I'll whip up some articulated Baby Rainbow streamers, based on the scandalously named Galloup creations but in natural colors...and we both know he's a native Michigander, ran the Troutsman in Traverse City before making the move west permanent. If they look half-way decent maybe I'll post a pic or 2, like I said in another post the T-Nuts set a pretty high bar for quality in pics posted on this site. GOOD STUFF!!

Tight lines,

Roguerat
Roguerat
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Roguerat on Nov 19, 2016November 19th, 2016, 4:09 am EST
why I like switch rods some of the time...

under the right conditions no back-cast to speak of, just relatively a small loop to right or left and then a loooong roll cast and then the swing or drift. Yeah, stripping the running line in can get old but not snagging bushes, branches, or trees on a back-cast makes it worth it.

Last foray on the White, MI version, went zip and I think the high temps, bright sun, and non-steelie conditions just weren't in my favor. Today we've got snow/rain/sleet and generally snotty weather which seems to be perfect for chasing chrome here in W MI. And I'm home painting an overdue room or 3...

tight lines,

Roguerat

'less is more...'

Ludwig Mies Vande Rohe
Roguerat
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Roguerat on Aug 1, 2018August 1st, 2018, 6:49 am EDT
Finally did it,

I couldn't resist a Redington 4 wt switch rod at 'an offer I could not refuse,' price and said rod will arrive Friday. I plan to be on the water (Muskegon, or 'Mo colloquially) swinging soft-hackles and such early Saturday morning. Scandi line, Versi-Leader, maybe- just maybe- I can get one of those mid-river risers I've not been able to reach...

tight lines,

Roguerat

'Less is more...'

Ludwig Mies Vande Rohe
Wbranch
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York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Aug 1, 2018August 1st, 2018, 11:24 am EDT
Roguerat,

I assume you plan to fish for the "mid-river risers" with a soft hackle or damp fly? Isn't it true that those long switch rods are not typically thought of to fish dry flies?

I guess though with the appropriate WF floating line and leader you could overhead cast traditional dry flies or Atlantic salmon dries like the Bomber series. Throw a 70 footer and flip a huge upstream mend and you could probably get a 20' drag free drift. It would be awesome to see a 25" bright steelhead boil on the fly!

I fish a WF #6 floater on my Redington 10' 6" #6 switch rod. When conditions are right I put on a 10' 4X leader and an unweighted Emerald Shiner about 2.5" long. I cast it ahead of a pod of fish and let it swing down into their window. It is awesome to see one peel off from the group, drop back and boil on the fly and then take it.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Aug 1, 2018August 1st, 2018, 11:26 am EDT
Congrats, Rogue - a new stick is always fun. Now get out there and catch some fish on it to properly break it in (don't break it!). And throw some Clousers and KBFs with it!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...

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