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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 Clostoeca disjuncta (Limnephilidae) (Northern Caddisfly) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This one was surprisingly straightforward to identify. The lack of a sclerite at the base of the lateral hump narrows the field quite a bit, and the other options followed fairly obvious characteristics to Clostoeca, which only has one species, Clostoeca disjuncta.
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.

Red_green_h
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New Mexico

Posts: 64
Red_green_h on Sep 30, 2019September 30th, 2019, 4:58 am EDT
Here in New Mexico it stays moderately warm until mid November. There are still bugs flying around. My question is what type of flies work when it's cold and fish are deeper down? Do they still rise? Before I picked up a fly rod I used a spinning rod with a water bobber and Pistol Pete on lakes and ponds and had lots of success. I've used Pistol Petes on a fly rod also. When it gets cold are streamers and other wet flies the way to go or are dry flies still effective?
Partsman
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bancroft michigan

Posts: 321
Partsman on Sep 30, 2019September 30th, 2019, 11:51 am EDT
Just depends on the day rg, and the time of day, here in Michigan, you can fish nymphs and streamers early, and then if the bwos, or tricos get going you switch over to drys. I will say that this late in the season as brookies and browns are going into prespawn bigger eats are better. I will say this, please do not target fish on redds, let them do there thing so we have good fishing in the future.
Mike
Red_green_h
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New Mexico

Posts: 64
Red_green_h on Sep 30, 2019September 30th, 2019, 12:50 pm EDT
What do you mean target fish on redds?
Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Sep 30, 2019September 30th, 2019, 2:29 pm EDT
If you see a roundish patch of light colored gravel, with fish hovering over it or nearby, it means fish are spawning. It's considered very bad form to fish for them, or to disturb them in any way.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Red_green_h
Red_green_h's profile picture
New Mexico

Posts: 64
Red_green_h on Oct 1, 2019October 1st, 2019, 3:35 am EDT
Got it. Don't most fish spawn in late spring/early winter? I don't think they spawn during late fall/early winter? At least not the New Mexico Cutthroat or Brown's that are in the streams I fish. I've caught "pregnant" fish before, definitely not because I was targeting them, just inadvertently. My OP is about fly fishing once the weather turns cold. It freezes here in Albuquerque but rarely a hard freeze so some of the local ponds and lakes are open and not frozen over. The streams I like to fish are under 3 ft of snow in the winter so I won't be going there. I will be getting chances to go out more often this winter in some local ponds that are stocked with Rainbows so my question was basically do dry flies still work when it's cold? Do fish still rise when it's cold? I just don't know. I've never fly fished during winter so I'm just curious.
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Oct 2, 2019October 2nd, 2019, 2:13 am EDT
Brookies, browns, lakers, and the salmons, both Atlantic and Pacific, spawn in the fall. Rainbows/steelhead and cutthroat spawn in the spring. Here in MI, our regular trout season closed as of midnight on Monday (30 Sept), and those waters are off-limits until the last Saturday of April 2020. There are, however, plenty of post-season waters to fish around here, including for trout. I have caught some nice browns in the Rifle River in October, still on dry flies too! Patterns that work late in the year include the Royal Wulff, hoppers and crickets, and still some caddisflies even.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
RleeP
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Oct 2, 2019October 2nd, 2019, 7:14 am EDT
>>I will be getting chances to go out more often this winter in some local ponds that are stocked with Rainbows so my question was basically do dry flies still work when it's cold? Do fish still rise when it's cold? I just don't know. I've never fly fished during winter so I'm just curious.>

They do (rise) or at least, it is possible that they will. But barring pretty significant insect activity or some such, it is more likely that they will not. As cold-blooded critters, trout metabolism and activity is directly tied to water temperatures. The colder the water, generally the less active or more lethargic they will be. I've caught free rising trout down to a water temp of 40-41F, but the water was blanketed with mayflies. All this stuff from the trout's perspective can be seen as a cost/benefit exchange and when they are Winter sleepy, trout usually aren't all that interested in expending the energy needed for repeated rising. There are exceptions, of course. But as a general rule of thumb, you'll have better luck fishing subsurface when the water is cold, say under 50F.
Red_green_h
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New Mexico

Posts: 64
Red_green_h on Oct 2, 2019October 2nd, 2019, 12:51 pm EDT
Thanks for the info Rleep. That's what I was wondering.

>Brookies, browns, lakers, and the salmons, both Atlantic and Pacific, spawn in the fall. Rainbows/steelhead and cutthroat spawn in the spring. Here in MI, our regular trout season closed as of midnight on Monday (30 Sept), and those waters are off-limits until the last Saturday of April 2020.>

Browns are seen as an invasive species here in NM. Trout Unlimited and New Mexico's Wildlife division are trying to repopulate with native species on some of the higher elevation mountain streams. They encourage anglers on these streams to throw any browns caught in the dirt. I'm not aware of any streams that are off limits at any one time of the year. Most of these streams are a 2 native species trout limit and I always fish barbless on these streams anyways. I guess the good thing about NM is that it is not really known for fishing so a lot of the mountain streams to catch native species are very remote and really not fished that often. Even on a Memorial Day Weekend when I go to my favorite spot in the Jemez Mts. I'm lucky to see one maybe 2 people up there. All other times I've gone I'm the only one up there and the nearest person is miles and miles away. We got our popular spots like the San Juan River, the Upper Rio Grande, and the upper Pecos River but there really are some jems if you don't mind driving on a dirt road for an hour and going on a mountain hike for a couple miles!!!
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Oct 3, 2019October 3rd, 2019, 2:38 am EDT
"Browns are seen as an invasive species here in NM."

Well sir, you have some lovely natives there in NM that should be conserved and protected. You don't need no stinkin' browns! But here in MI, browns are considered welcome and actively managed for. For instance, the majority of the Rifle River, one of my favorite trout streams, has a 15" minimum size limit on browns, although you can keep rainbows at 10", and both are stocked in this stream...though I catch a lot of juvenile brownies that don't look like they came out of a hatchery! This river has lots of gravel in both the mainstem and its (numerous) tributaries, some of which I fish too.

" They encourage anglers on these streams to throw any browns caught in the dirt."

Waste of a perfectly tasty fish!! If you're gonna just kill the damned things then EAT THEM!!! A little lemon and butter does the trick nicely...

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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York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Oct 3, 2019October 3rd, 2019, 8:25 am EDT
They encourage anglers on these streams to throw any browns caught in the dirt.


Is that really what the NM Wildlife Division says or are you editorializing? In many states that would probably be illegal and it is truly an unethical thing to suggest, or God forbid, really do. If you want to help eradicate brown trout from NM waters that have wild and native trout keep them for your self and eat them or give some to your friends. Don't throw them in the dirt.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Red_green_h
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New Mexico

Posts: 64
Red_green_h on Oct 7, 2019October 7th, 2019, 7:01 pm EDT
Is that really what the NM Wildlife Division says or are you editorializing?

I am not editorializing. I ran into a guy up in the San Pedro Peaks Wilderness who is on the council for Trout Unlimited here in NM. They and NM Game and Fish have gone through great pains reintroducing the native cutthroat back into these streams. Including shocking the streams and trying to kill everything in it so they could reintroduce the cutthroat without any competition since browns and cutthroats spawn at different times. There are two rivers they have done this to in this wilderness, the Las Vacas and the Rio Puerco. I'm not saying I dont disagree with you about throwing them back but this is an effort they have been undertaking for 20+ years. They would rather see you throw one out especially during cutthroat spawning time. They are trying to establish these places as pristine waters for native fish. And let me be honest I'm to the point if I'm not backpacking and able to eat the fish right there I don't bring them home because I found myself throwing them in the freezer and forgetting about them. I threw more fish out then I ate due to freezer burn. As far as throwing fish in the dirt this is not an uncommon practice here in the state. On all Native American Reservation ponds that have derbys and advertise fishing they forbid you to throw fish back and will kick you out if you do, that is if you don't keep them. I got kicked out of Sandia ponds for using barbless and shaking them when I got them to shore. That's part of the reason I dont fish these places. Paid $20 to catch 5 8" stalkers and not allowed to throw them back.
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Oct 9, 2019October 9th, 2019, 4:49 am EDT
Kinda sad when one state covets a fish and spends lots of time and money managing it, and another state thinks of it as "trash". Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder...I happily kill yellow perch that I catch in a couple of lakes managed for trout here in my local area (one with brookies, another with browns and rainbows) to "take out the competition". You can bet that every dead perch ends up in my freezer!!! And they're not exactly stunted in either water body.

Treating a living creature with such disrespect as to "throw it in the dirt" is pretty pathetic, native restoration efforts notwithstanding. When I had live lampreys in my classroom (several times) I admonished the students handling them to "treat them with the same respect you would treat any living creature even if they are disgusting parasites!". To toss a fish which many of us revere, and enjoy at the dinner table, ignominiously into the dirt seems rather sad to this veteran of 34+ fly-fishing years.

Save the natives but don't abuse any trout just because they're from somewhere else! And don't blame the poor fish for stupidity in human resource management!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
RleeP
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Oct 9, 2019October 9th, 2019, 5:04 am EDT
I've always had mixed feelings about native/indigenous fisheries restoration efforts at the expense of other, non-native but altogether worthy sport fishes. I support most of these efforts in spirit but sometimes not so much in scope. At some point in the process, I think it needs to occur to us that the way to "fix" the results of our original intervention in a natural system is not always to stage yet another intervention. Sometimes, but not always. In most case, mucking around and intervening is what got us in trouble in the first place.

It's complex...


Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Oct 9, 2019October 9th, 2019, 6:13 am EDT
Well stated, Lee. I might point out that the perch I kill and eat are truly native to the Great Lakes, whereas browns and rainbows are not, and brookies are supposedly not native to the area I live in (further north, some say brookies are only native to the Upper Peninsula). So here I am killing natives while letting the "invaders" go...goes without saying, however, that the reproductive potential of perch is far greater than that of trout! And they just need weeds to spawn in, not nice clean gravel and cold clear water.

And, BTW, our "natives" here are GONE - once upon a time we had a fish called the Michigan grayling that was so abundant the logging crews didn't need to bring food in from elsewhere...guess what happened to them? So we catch browns, brookies, and rainbows in their place, along with coho and chinook salmon which compete with the native lakers…

"It's complex..." I second that motion.

Jonathon


No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
RleeP
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Oct 9, 2019October 9th, 2019, 7:11 am EDT
Indeed, Jonathon...

Personally and on a somewhat lighter note, I've always felt a bit cheated that I never got the chance to eat a nice passenger pigeon sautéed in onions with a fried grayling sandwich on the side...

Damn progress, anyway...:)
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Oct 9, 2019October 9th, 2019, 7:34 am EDT
Two guys from Oscoda were once barbecuing a great blue heron on a spit over a campfire when a MI DNR CO caught them in the act. "Now you guys know you can't do that, blue herons are not game birds and you can't shoot and eat them! I'm gonna have to write you guys a ticket...but, just out of curiosity, what exactly does a blue heron taste like anyway?"

The two Oscodans looked at each other and both said, "Well, kinda like a bald eagle..."

And just what did Dodo birds taste like? Makes you wonder... ;oD

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Oct 9, 2019October 9th, 2019, 7:36 am EDT
P.S. You wanna make people worry about conserving a resource? Just make it TASTY ENOUGH and that will ensure a future supply, at least in this country...

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

Posts: 64
Red_green_h on Oct 10, 2019October 10th, 2019, 5:42 am EDT
Well NM government officials have never been accused of doing the smart, conscientious thing.
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Oct 10, 2019October 10th, 2019, 9:28 am EDT
Red, if it makes you feel any better, most people feel the same way about their state resource management people. The problem I run into with governmental regulatory folks in the environmental consulting business is, well, there are several: lack of experience/competence, lack of funding, lack of personnel, lack of time, i.e., not enough of anything they really need to do their jobs really well. Except, for, perhaps the Missouri Dept. of Conservation back in the 90's (MO natives can tell me if they're still that good), who had solid funding and plenty of resources and personnel, and did lots of good science and conservation work. Like the linebacker-looking dude with the 9 mm on his hip who had Crane creek as his local beat - I swear this guy must have had some remote sensors out there because he would show up within 5 minutes or less no matter where I went on that creek!

But I digress...they mean well in some (maybe most) cases, operate on incomplete information in some, and generally incur the wrath of some part of the public or the other no matter what they do...

I do support restoration of native trout diversity wherever possible, and certainly out west there is a LOT of diversity. Rough habitat for trout, much of the West is with all the dry areas and lack of tree canopy, yet it is the very harshness of that habitat that creates the diversity through isolation. The trout know what they are doing, at least in an evolutionary sense, and we have been generally pretty clumsy in our attempts to understand them.

Tight lines to all in this discussion, and please don't kill anything you don't have to...and that which you do, give as much respect as possible.

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

Posts: 64
Red_green_h on Oct 11, 2019October 11th, 2019, 6:53 am EDT
I understand the disdain for local officials. Most of ours here are there due to nepotism not qualification. This is evident at the local and state levels.

It's not like this practice of coveting one species of fish over the other is state wide. There are only a couple streams they are doing this on in the north and a couple in the Gila Wilderness where they are attempting to reintroduce the Gila trout. There is the Mora River in the Pecos Wilderness that has monster browns that are sought out by all who fish in the state. In the end does it really matter? I don't know. All I know my son caught his first fish up there on a backpacking trip when he was 4, hooked him for life. Would it have mattered if it was a cutthroat or brown...no. There is something to be said for hiking up 2-3 miles and fishing with the call of elk in the background. I'm just happy and blessed the place is there to go to when city life has me hemmed in.

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