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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.

Lateral view of a Male Baetidae (Blue-Winged Olive) Mayfly Dun from Mystery Creek #308 in Washington
This dun emerged from a mature nymph on my desk. Unfortunately its wings didn't perfectly dry out.
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.

Wbranch has attached these 4 pictures to this report. The message is below.

Report at a Glance

General RegionSteelhead Alley aka NE PA
Specific LocationNo spot burning
Dates FishedOctober 14 - 17
Time of Day7:00 a.m. to noon
Fish CaughtSteelhead
Conditions & HatchesChautauqua Creek in Westfield, NY was stained but fishable. Some PA creeks were low and clear while others had better flows. Rained pretty much all day Monday the 15th.

Details and Discussion

Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Oct 27, 2018October 27th, 2018, 12:38 pm EDT
Good fishing if you knew where to go and knew what to use. I had good success using Emerald shiner patterns fished on the swing and under an indicator. Both methods worked. Tight line strikes were awesome while strikes under the indicator were more subtle. Many break offs when fish ran line and the tippet came in contact with the loose shale bottoms.

Going back Tuesday for 3 - 4 days.

New Trip - went up for 4 days but got rained out first two days. Good fishing Tuesday and half day Wednesday. Hooked 16 and landed 9.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Oct 27, 2018October 27th, 2018, 3:17 pm EDT
Nice work Matt! Some colorful fish there too, beautiful. Those emerald shiners really work for you! They (or some other kind of minnow) must be a major food item for the steelies in this situation. Yes, I bet the swinging strikes were just a jolt and a half! I had just a 14" brown do that to me once that I thought was a steelhead - had seen a few while wading upstream and he hit that hard! - so I can't imagine what it feels like when one of those in your pics connects. OUCH! Any just snap it off on the strike?

Again, well done. Some of those are running around here but I haven't been able to convince myself to go out in the crappy weather to try for them...so thanks for the story, I can now live vicariously through you.

;oD

Jonathon

P.S. From what I can see in the background, it looks like you have the absolute killer spot - shallow bedrock rapids, not requiring enormous amounts of lead to dredge the bottom with, which makes casting all the more pleasant. Unweighted streamers, too?
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Adirman
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Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on Oct 28, 2018October 28th, 2018, 10:25 am EDT
Nice Matt!! So what did you use for an indicator ?
Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Oct 29, 2018October 29th, 2018, 1:06 pm EDT
Nice Matt!!
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Partsman
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bancroft michigan

Posts: 321
Partsman on Oct 30, 2018October 30th, 2018, 12:54 pm EDT
Well done Matt!
Wbranch
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York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Nov 1, 2018November 1st, 2018, 4:36 pm EDT
So what did you use for an indicator ?


I prefer the relatively new "Air Lock" style indicator. It comes in 3/4" and 1" diameters. There is a little threaded stud with a slit in it. You remove the threaded nut, place the leader into the slit, reattach the threaded nut and that is all there is to it. It will not slide on the leader and at the end of the day the leader is as perfect as when you first put it on. The Thingamabobbers totally destroyed a tapered leader and every time you moved it up, or down, you were left with a curly que.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Adirman
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Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on Nov 2, 2018November 2nd, 2018, 10:23 am EDT
Nice, do you know how high up you set it roughly ?
Wbranch
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York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Nov 2, 2018November 2nd, 2018, 10:30 am EDT
do you know how high up you set it roughly ?


There are just too many variables to discuss. Water level, velocity, turbidity and the lack thereof, Are the fish suspended or hunkering down on the bottom? Typically I go one to one and a half the depth of the water. Sometimes I will have the indicator 6' - 7' above the flies. I use an indicator pretty much all the time I am nymphing. If you don't use an indicator the chance of getting hung up increases exponentially and also you are much more likely to foul hook a steelhead if there are good numbers in the stream.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Nov 3, 2018November 3rd, 2018, 6:27 am EDT
Hey, you swapped out the fish pics! How many of those damned things have you caught, Matt? The first two were very pink-purple on the flanks and cheeks, these fish look much fresher. Again, you have the magic touch.

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

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Nov 3, 2018November 3rd, 2018, 10:12 am EDT
Hi Jon,

How many of those damned things have you caught, Matt?



Yep, I made another trip and posted up some new fish. How many? I hooked 16 and landed 9. They are hard to hang on to. Lots of reasons why they get unhooked. Didn't strike hard enough to have the little #10 hook penetrate. One jump and they are gone. Lots of shale in the streams and when they are running line all it takes is for that 4X to just touch a sharp piece of shale and they are gone. I rarely break them off, 4X fluorocarbon is at least 6# break strength. I use a 10' #7 and while it isn't a soft rod the added one foot of length (compared to a 9' rod) gives me a little more leeway to fight, and not breakoff, bigger fish.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Nov 3, 2018November 3rd, 2018, 2:12 pm EDT
From what I've heard, if you are landing >50% of the steelhead you are hooking, you are doing very well. I've seen them do the "one and done" jump and say goodbye to the hapless fisherman. I clearly remember a time at the Cheboygan (MI) dam when I saw a silvery fish come flying up in front of some guy, never to be seen again. Yep, that WAS a steelhead...

What sort of water depths are you working with there? And how long is your leader? Again, it looks like your emerald shiner patterns are unweighted, so do you just ad splits to the leader?

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

Posts: 479
Adirman on Nov 3, 2018November 3rd, 2018, 10:40 pm EDT
I hear you with the variables Matt, 6-7’ ft placement is about what I expected you to say . Do you prefer a particular colored Indy or doesn’t seem to matter? Also, you’re using a streamer pattern for em under an Indy? So dead drifting it? I wouldn’t think that would work too good Cuz you can’t swing it with the current ?
Wbranch
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York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Nov 5, 2018November 5th, 2018, 3:36 am EST
Do you prefer a particular colored Indy or doesn’t seem to matter?


https://www.fishusa.com/product/Air-Lock-Strike-Indicators?msclkid=7b38b6eb6473190bc16ded0b1baaf5d6&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Shopping_Brands_PLA&utm_term=4585238367860419&utm_content=All%20Products&msclkid=7b38b6eb6473190bc16ded0b1baaf5d6&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Shopping_Brands_PLA&utm_term=4585238367860419&utm_content=All%20Products

I prefer to use either a clear or white Air Lock Indicator because they look like the bubbles and foam on the water. If the sun is rising and shining in my face I can't see either of those colors so will use a pink or orange in 1/2" diameter.

The emerald shiner works very well under an indicator. There are many of them in the stream I fish and the movement of the water makes the fly undulate enticingly in the stream. If I see a steelhead porpoise repeatedly in a tail out I remove the indicator and any weight and cast across and down so the fly lands in the vicinity of the steelhead and as it swings the fish see a broadside view and strikes. It is as close as you can get to experiencing an Atlantic salmon come up and take a fly that is an inch or two under the surface. You often see a big swirl and then a powerful surge. Exciting stuff!
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Adirman
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Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on Nov 5, 2018November 5th, 2018, 10:54 am EST
Awesome Matt, cant wait to try it ,myself sometime , thanks for the feed back :)
Pryal74
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Escanaba, MI

Posts: 168
Pryal74 on Dec 27, 2018December 27th, 2018, 5:34 pm EST
beautiful and bright fish. =)
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Dec 29, 2018December 29th, 2018, 4:06 am EST
JAMES!!!! Where you been? Good to hear from you! Any chrome or otherwise to show off from your neck of the woods lately? I'm still waiting on the ice around here...

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

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