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Lateral view of a Female Hexagenia limbata (Ephemeridae) (Hex) Mayfly Dun from the Namekagon River in Wisconsin
Hex Mayflies
Hexagenia limbata

The famous nocturnal Hex hatch of the Midwest (and a few other lucky locations) stirs to the surface mythically large brown trout that only touch streamers for the rest of the year.

Dorsal view of a Skwala (Perlodidae) (Large Springfly) Stonefly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
This Skwala nymph still has a couple months left to go before hatching, but it's still a good representative of its species, which was extremely abundant in my sample for a stonefly of this size. It's obvious why the Yakima is known for its Skwala hatch.
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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Wbranch has attached these 10 pictures. The message is below.
Very Bright Hen
Resident Rainbow - Salmon River NY
Very colored up PA steelhead - mid November
Quite bright fish
Nice fresh steelie
Big ugly late November steelhead about 27".
28" dark Hen caught about an hour after the 27" male above.  What an awesome day!  Both fish put me way into the backing and I had to chase them down river.  Both were landed about 100 yards from where they were hooked. Like to give me a freaking heart attack.
Early October Hen
Looks more like a wild rainbow than a steelhead
Lovely colored mid October steelhead.  Was surprised it was so colorful for so early in the season.
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Jan 4, 2017January 4th, 2017, 2:38 pm EST
Here are various colored steelhead - all caught in the Lake Erie tribs except for the one I'm gilling which I believe is a resident rainbow. I caught it in the Salmon River in NYS before I knew how to properly hold a fish I was going to release. As it turned out the guy I was with owned a fly shop and he wanted to mount the fish and put it in his shop.

So you can see from the pictures that Great Lakes steelhead come in many sizes and color variations. Hey but they are all good!
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Roguerat
Roguerat's profile picture
Posts: 456
Roguerat on Jan 5, 2017January 5th, 2017, 3:50 am EST
Matt-

Nice pics and NICE fish! The steelhead I saw resembled the 'resident rainbow' fish in your pics, although with a much darker green-to-black dorsal coloration. Easy to see why they're called Rainbow Trout, though.

Given that the fish was below the dam- and 2x-3x as big as any stream-trout I've ever seen above the dam- I took it to be a steelhead that had some time in the river. Never know, though...

Roguerat

'Less is more...'

Ludwig Mies Vande Rohe
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Jan 5, 2017January 5th, 2017, 4:00 am EST
Often resident, non steelhead, rainbows are shorter and have more full and robust bodies for their length. At least that is what I have seen in the few rivers I have fished.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Partsman
Partsman's profile picture
bancroft michigan

Posts: 321
Partsman on Jan 5, 2017January 5th, 2017, 11:28 pm EST
Matt, great pictures! While it has been many years since I have steelhead fished, I did catch a few what I belived to be resident rainbows and browns below Foote dam that were shaped just like footballs. The brightest steelhead I ever caught was in the early fall, probalbly following the salmon up as they spawned.

Mike.
Wbranch
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York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Jan 6, 2017January 6th, 2017, 4:39 pm EST
Mike,

That very first silver hen is really a big fish. It is 29" from the end of the rod to the stripper guide and the tail of that fish is at least an inch past the end of the rod. I caught that fish in a shallow riffle no more than 12" deep on a #10 brown stonefly with a yellow body. You can just see the fly in the hook keeper. She was an awesome fish and fought bravely.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Mar 2, 2017March 2nd, 2017, 1:49 pm EST
Nice stuff, Matt! How do you end up on the stream, chasing steelies, with such nice looking weather?! No iced up guides and blowing snow...

What reel is that in the first pic? In fact, you have quite a variety of reels there that you have used over the years.

For years I have been looking for a spare spool for my Marryat MR8.5. Last year at my clubs garage sale I was walking along looking at all the stuff guys were trying to sell, and there was a spare spool! Only thing was he also had a reel and wanted to sell them all together...I bought them.

I just sent the reel to Oregon to have it swapped out from right to left reel...I thought of doing it myself, maybe giving you a call, but the guy is also going to clean and lube it...


Back when I bought mine, in the 90's sometime, I bought it off a local guy whose shop was unfortunately going under. I took it up to Rusty and asked him if he could swap it out for me. He said yes and opened it up right there on the counter in the shop with all the ball bearings lying on the glass counter.

He then looked up and proclaimed to everyone in the shop, "What should I do with a guy who buys a reel mail order and then asks me to swap it out for him?! I should just brush these ball bearings off onto the floor and into the carpet, never to be seen again!"...I yelled, "No! No! Honest Rusty...I bought it off a guy going under!" I told him the guys name and he knew him and gave me a wink...I think the whole thing was for show.

That was pre cell phones, or online shopping, and poor Rusty would be pulling his hair out now under these conditions.

"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
Wbranch
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York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Mar 3, 2017March 3rd, 2017, 8:05 am EST
Hi Spence,

What reel is that in the first pic? In fact, you have quite a variety of reels there that you have used over the years.


That is a reel I bought from Orvis back around 1983. It is engraved on the housing side "Featherweight SSS". The SSS stood for "Salmon, Steelhead, Saltwater". I use it for steelhead and smallmouth. At the time, at almost $300, it was the most expensive fly reel I had ever purchased. I load it with a WF #7 floater and 100 yards of 20# backing. It was a unique drag. It is hard to explain how the drag functions except to say the drag control is on a detent track located between the width of the spool. Additional drag can be employed by applying manual pressure to a textured rubber pad on the drag control. I'll try and locate a picture of the drag mechanism.

Found it! Here is a link to some ad copy for that reel with many pictures and a couple with close ups of the drag control feature and a picture of the housing with the spool removed. You can see the manner in which the drag spring engages a ratchet on the periphery of the reel housing. The reel came with extra drag parts in case the original components wore out.

http://www.windknotstangledlines.com/2010/05/i-love-orvis-fly-reels.html

The next reel is a Lamson Litespeed #2 in a steel blue anodize. It was a special color only available to pro guides. I bought in used on Ebay. I sold it last summer for $175 reel and backing, no line. I bought another Lamson but a Speedster #1.5 with a narrow spool and for trout. It is a $310 reel and I bought it new, on a Ebay auction, for $225.

The next reel is a Hardy disc drag model. Probably one of their first forays into disc drags. I bought it about twenty years ago and use it only for steelhead and streamer work. It had a Lee Wulff TT #5 line on it.

The last reel is an Orvis LA #3 reel. It was their first large arbor reel. It cost about $180 and I have an extra spool with it. Both #7 lines, one a floater and the other a sink tip. Another steelhead and bass reel.

I probably have another dozen Hardy Lightweight series reels, another Lamson Litespeed #1.5, a little Teton reel with a DT #4, and a couple of salt water reels.




Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
LBrain
LBrain's profile picture
Birdsboro, PA

Posts: 10
LBrain on Mar 3, 2017March 3rd, 2017, 9:56 am EST
good stuff, thanks for the photos
Brain
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Mar 6, 2017March 6th, 2017, 2:42 am EST
Interesting Matt...Not sure I ever saw one of those reels...Do you know if Orvis made their own or did they employ someone like Hardy to manufacture their reels?

If you ever decide to unload your Hardy's send me a PM...;)

Spence
"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
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Mar 6, 2017March 6th, 2017, 6:05 am EST
Spence,

...Do you know if Orvis made their own or did they employ someone like Hardy to manufacture their reels? To the best of my knowledge Orvis never manufactured any fly reels but they did make all of the bamboo rods. I don't know if they are still making any cane rods but I do know the Helios & Recon rods are made in-house but the lesser priced rods are most likely made off shore.

If you ever decide to unload your Hardy's send me a PM...;)Okay, I still have two LRH models, one of which has the two screw nickel silver line guard. One Princess with a two screw line guard, a Feather Weight, and I think one extra spool for each reel

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.

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