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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.

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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Jmd123 has attached this picture. The message is below.
20 inches of smallmouth bass, my biggest ever!
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jul 17, 2017July 17th, 2017, 3:24 pm EDT
It's that time of the year when the big fat bronzebacks of Cooke Pond come up to feed on the surface. Although I did see a small Hex hatch tonight, the largest smallmouth I have ever caught took a #12 tan/brown elkhair caddis. Are you kidding me??? But I saw a few caddis flitting about as I launched the kayak, so I tied one on and drifted it down in front of the boat. Not expecting one of this size, but they're in there! Later in the evening I boated a 16-incher on a #6 Royal Wulff, which I was relieved of when the next fatboy busted my leader! Then I hooked a nice one on a Hex imitation that made a spectacular thrashing leap and then popped off when he dove...there were still a few flies and a few rises when I left around 10:20 p.m.

I have only seen two major mayfly hatches in Oscoda this year, and they have all been Brown Drakes. So, our wacky weather this year is delaying and hopefully prolonging our hatches...I'll be back there again!

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Jul 18, 2017July 18th, 2017, 4:10 am EDT

Congrats to you! Awesome fish and I know you must be very pleased to have caught such a good fish. Happy for you. I was out a couple of times for smallmouth over the past two weeks but have only been getting the little guys so far.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Partsman's profile picture
bancroft michigan

Posts: 321
Partsman on Jul 18, 2017July 18th, 2017, 9:48 am EDT
Nicely done Jonathon, glad to see you got out and had some fish cooperate. That had to be a blast on a flyrod.
Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Jul 19, 2017July 19th, 2017, 1:01 am EDT
Oh yeah! Well done, Jonathon!
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jul 22, 2017July 22nd, 2017, 3:12 pm EDT
That's an awesome fish, sir!

"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
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jul 23, 2017July 23rd, 2017, 10:40 am EDT
Thank you all, gentlemen and fellow Troutnuts (Bassnuts?). This is thrilling fishing, especially since you can't tell the size of the fish from the rise. So many of them just sip it, almost no sound, but every once in a while one will roll good and then you have an idea of your quarry. These fish are brutes!! Set the hook and then hang on, it's gonna take you a while...feels like a cinder block with fins, weight you almost can't move and then comes the plunging dive or the aerial spectacular! Because I was drifting and not anchored, this fish actually did pull my kayak around at least a little. (I've contemplated kayak fishing for salmon in the fall off the mouth of the river, just to see if I can really get a ride!)

Best of all, it's match-the-hatch dry fly fishing. This place sees multiple hatches and it's the best time to find and entice the smallies, versus fishing blind with a streamer which I have had occasional luck on, but nothing like this! If the weather cooperates, I should be back out there in a couple of nights.

I did two other fishing trips later in the week, too. Good old [REDACTED] pond threw me a slew of hungry brookies, only one of which was under 8" and the biggest was 11". Tore my grasshopper imitations apart, literally! Then a night on the rifle was so-so, too humid for waders so I felt like I was in a sweat lodge and sun straight in my eyes for the first half hour! No major hatches either, little guys feeding, caught four including a 10" rainbow. Three fishing trips in one week, DANG! First time this year!

"Back in the saddle, again..."

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

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