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Lateral view of a Male Baetis (Baetidae) (Blue-Winged Olive) Mayfly Dun from Mystery Creek #43 in New York
Blue-winged Olives

Tiny Baetis mayflies are perhaps the most commonly encountered and imitated by anglers on all American trout streams due to their great abundance, widespread distribution, and trout-friendly emergence habits.

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.

State College, PA

Posts: 103
Smallstream on Aug 19, 2007August 19th, 2007, 9:11 am EDT
I was looking at the alaska pictures that the troutnut has on this site and saw the pic of the lake trout (pretty sweet looking fish I might add, alaska looks awesome) and was wondering if people actually fly fish for them. It seems that they are usually caught in deep water. Are these fish only in lakes or are they sometimes in rivers too.
Softhackle's profile picture
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Aug 19, 2007August 19th, 2007, 9:37 am EDT
I've never actually did much fly fishing for lake trout, however, I know that a lot of people do it successfully. A lot of float tubers out west do a lot of fishing for lakers. Also, there are many fly fishers in Scotland and Ireland that fish for lake fish. Do some online searches and I'm sure you will find a lot more information. I'm sure Jason will add more, too. I would be tempted to use wet flies and streamers on a full sinking line, but that's me. I'm sure there is surface action, too.

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Aug 19, 2007August 19th, 2007, 9:41 am EDT
Smallstream, there was an article not too long ago in one of the major FF magazines about, as they put it, "hook-and-cook" lake trout in Yellowstone Lake. The idea is to GET THEM THE HELL OUTTA THERE so they don't compete with the native Yellowstone cutts in there. Not only did it have tackle recommendations - think of a gear set-up for northern pike - but they also included recipes for the "cook" part. If I find it around my (rather messy) apartment, I'll let you know what issue it was in.

Also, I have heard that at Isle Royale National Park up in Lake Superior, lake trout come into the shallows to feed in spring and they can be caught off docks with spinning tackle. Not too much of a stretch to go with a 9-10 weight and some pike flies. My only trip there was in August of 2000, when the lakers were under about 150-200 feet of water. Next time...(I did nail a nice 10" brookie on a grasshopper imitation in an inland beaver pond there - and boy, was it ever tasty!)


P.S. GO THERE for whatever reason if you ever get the chance. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, and there's more wildlife there than you can shake a stick at (moose, wolves, otters, loons, bald eagles, mergansers, fox, beavers, red squirrels, etc.).
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Willy's profile picture
Chicago, IL

Posts: 47
Willy on Aug 19, 2007August 19th, 2007, 3:52 pm EDT
I have caught lake trout in both Cayuga Lake and its tributaries on the fly. There are some lake trout that actually run the creeks and spawn and will aggressively hit streamers. I have caught two fish in the 30" range this way. I also caught a lake trout with a sinking line over about 40 ft of water, while my buddy was jigging for them. It can be done, even in the big lakes, but it has to be the right situation. The water temps and bait situation have to be conducive to lake trout moving in shallow.
Check out my fishing pictures on Instagram.
Troutnut's profile picture
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Aug 19, 2007August 19th, 2007, 9:42 pm EDT
I have a nasty confession to make: the lakers so far on this site were caught on spinners! However, I probably could have caught them on flies, too. We hadn't unpacked the fly rods yet on this float trip and the guide had some spinning rods hand so we used those. These fish were all in less than 4 feet of water in a river within 100 yards downstream of the outlet of a large, deep lake. They came down there to feed, not to spawn. I caught a couple and my dad caught at least 1, and there were more around. I had a big one make a couple passes at a 14-inch grayling on the end of my line.

A few weeks ago I was at an above-the-treeline lake in the Alaska Range. I was hiking with Lena with a fly rod brought along as an afterthought, so I didn't bring waders, and there were fish rising just on the edge of my casting range. I know most of them were grayling, but some porpoising tails seemed too large -- they were either massive trophy grayling, or lakers. Probably lakers. If I'd brought waders I probably could have caught those.

I'm definitely going to chase them on the fly this fall. Lake outlets seem to be promising around here all summer, but the laker fishing is supposed to be best after the lakes turn over when they come up really shallow. There are several spots in the Alaska Range I want to try when that happens.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
State College, PA

Posts: 103
Smallstream on Aug 20, 2007August 20th, 2007, 5:56 am EDT
that sounds awesome, I hope you are able to hook into some.
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Aug 20, 2007August 20th, 2007, 1:11 pm EDT
We used to catch Lakers in Algonquin PP in Ontario on spinners and small spoons in less than 10 feet of water if the spring had been fairly cool prior to our annual trip in late May. This was back in the 60's. We'd also catch a few in the Amable du Fond River that connects several of the lakes in the NW portion of Algonquin.

I'm sure these fish could have been taken on streamers, etc.

Posts: 2
Biguns on Nov 10, 2008November 10th, 2008, 12:55 am EST
Yes, lakers are nuts for flies. I am going to fish them today, as a matter of fact. I have been targetting a tailwater section below a dam. The trout over the last 3-4 weeks have smacked any fly resembling a fleeing minnow, or even caddis nymphs. I have a feeling many of these 2-5 lb fish have never laid eyes on a fly before. They must be in the flow to target a food source, because the larger fish spawn in the main body of the lake. They even become aerial in the shallow (2-5') water. It has been a huge end of season bonus. Every fish has been released, in case they are spawning in the river.....Tight lines, Biguns.
Posts: 2
Biguns on Nov 11, 2008November 11th, 2008, 4:05 am EST
A banner day on the flow, yesterday. Clouser red/white and blue/charteuse took over 20 fish. I could almost sight fish them like salmon. Some took them on the dead drift, others chased the fleeing fly downstream, some even in the tailout. Air temp 34f, water not much warmer. I had to get out after 2.5 hours, the breathables just don't do it at this time of year...BRRRR! I would upload photos, but need some advice, cheers, Biguns.

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