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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.

Dorsal view of a Pycnopsyche guttifera (Limnephilidae) (Great Autumn Brown Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This specimen appears to be of the same species as this one collected in the same spot two months earlier. The identification of both is tentative. This one suffered some physical damage before being photographed, too, so the colors aren't totally natural. I was mostly photographing it to test out some new camera setting idea, which worked really well for a couple of closeups.
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.

By Troutnut on October 5th, 2019
A friend who recently moved to Washington joined me October 6th for a fishing float through a lower part of the Yakima River Canyon. The fish were fairly uncooperative. I lost a mid-sized rainbow on a streamer, but they generally weren't interested in those the rest of the time. Small blue-winged olives were hatching at times throughout the afternoon, and they provided the only real action of the day, but the fish rising to them were mostly small. They were a fun challenge, though, because two of the three spots we found pods of fish rising required very difficult casts. They were rising in shaded back eddies, always on the far side of a long stretch of fast, deep water. It was a great opportunity to practice various trick casts that pile up slack at the end, trying to give my flies 2-second drifts instead of 1-second drifts. It's rewarding when that works just right and draws a strike.

This was also the first real test of my new Flycraft Stealth raft, which had only previously been out for a 1-hour evening trip down part of the Snoqualmie. I'm thrilled with it so far. For a craft small enough to easily carry and load on top of my Jeep by myself, it feels exceptionally stable. The build quality and layout are excellent. It rows like a drift boat, but it's more nimble, and it has a similar ability to instantly drop anchor and fish. I've never had that in a boat before and was giddy about it once I figured out I could anchor in moderate current and fish places I couldn't reach otherwise. I also really enjoyed being able to just drop anchor in the shallows and step out of the boat to wade, without having to pull it up on shore or tie it off. That's such a minor nuisance in most other boats, I never would have guessed I'd take so much pleasure in circumventing it.

Photos by Troutnut from the Yakima River in Washington

The Yakima River in Washington
The Yakima River in Washington
The Yakima River in Washington
The Yakima River in Washington
I love how easy it is to park this boat just by dropping anchor in the quiet shallows, without having to tie it up anywhere or drag it onto shore.

From the Yakima River in Washington
The Yakima River in Washington
The Yakima River in Washington
A typical rainbow for the day.
The Yakima River in Washington
The Yakima River in Washington
Interesting muddy nests from cliff swallows here.

From the Yakima River in Washington
The Yakima River in Washington
When we finally found some rising fish, they were in an almost-unapproachable foamy eddy on the far side of some fast, deep, unwadeable water that would yank on my fly soon after it hit the water. It took lots of tries with trick casts to catch a few rainbows here.

From the Yakima River in Washington

Comments / replies

Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Nov 19, 2019November 19th, 2019, 1:46 pm EST
Beautiful. Thanks for posting.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Mgbenjamin5
Posts: 2
Mgbenjamin5 on Feb 21, 2020February 21st, 2020, 6:47 am EST
Nice day!! What are you using for an anchor on your Flycraft for the Yakima?
Troutnut
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Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Feb 22, 2020February 22nd, 2020, 2:21 am EST
Flycraft sells a steel-encased lead anchor with a built-in system to raise and lower it from the rower's seat.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Feb 22, 2020February 22nd, 2020, 3:35 pm EST
Interesting that these are available commercially now. Years ago I cut a relatively complex pattern from aluminum sheet metal to encase a 12 pound indented pyramid style lead anchor for my canoe. Stainless steel screws and JB weld allowed me to fully encase it, and I found some heavier aluminum for a head plate at the base that digs into the river bottom. A colleague in the art department who did metal sculpture helped cut that plate out with one of his torches. I'm not sure I'd do it all again, but it's served me well for a long time.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Feb 22, 2020February 22nd, 2020, 3:44 pm EST
Jason, I have a 16' Lincoln vacuum bag spectra canoe that weighs 40 pounds. It's set up with oars and fishes well, but I'd like a lighter one person boat that can be packed. I've looked at the Watermaster and various frameless pontoons. Are you aware of any smaller ultra light rafts like the Stealth? I'd like something I can stand in, but that may be out of the question.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Mgbenjamin5
Posts: 2
Mgbenjamin5 on Feb 23, 2020February 23rd, 2020, 10:24 am EST
Thanks Jason, I knew about Flycrafts anchor and I guess was wondering if that's what you have. I'm guessing you are happy with it. I'm about to pull the trigger on the 3 man Flycraft and was glad to see a positive post about the Stealth on the Yakima.

Any opinions on the 3 Man Flycraft would be welcome.
Troutnut
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Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Mar 4, 2020March 4th, 2020, 5:42 pm EST
Louis, I'm not really familiar with the smaller boats.

Thanks Jason, I knew about Flycrafts anchor and I guess was wondering if that's what you have. I'm guessing you are happy with it.


Yes, very happy with it! Although I've only used it on the one trip so far. My winter use of the boat has been on lakes or Puget Sound, where the anchor wouldn't have been especially useful for me in 50+ feet of water.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Wbranch
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York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Mar 5, 2020March 5th, 2020, 4:32 am EST
Louis,

I'd like something I can stand in, but that may be out of the question.


That is likely going to be impossible in a packable boat. Although I have seen inflatables than have a rigid floor where you might be able to stand. I know a guy who has a brand new Watermaster for sale. It lists for $1400. If you want his number PM me. I leave a Creek Company frameless boat on the Missouri all the time. It weighs 28# without the oars. It is more than enough boat for the Missouri. It is very copmfortable and I sit quite high. I indicator fished out of it with no problem. Sometimes I just stand up and stay inside it and cast dry flies to rising fish.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Mar 6, 2020March 6th, 2020, 2:25 pm EST
Matt, I've looked at the Watermaster. My friend John Dunn has one. Yes, PM me his number. I don't think I'm quite ready to pull the trigger on a boat that expensive, but I'll inquire.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell

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