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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.

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 May 29th, 2020
Late May is an odd time to hunt for rainbow trout along Alaska's road system. The adult salmon aren't in yet, most of the smolts aren't really running yet either, and the rainbows are in limbo between their mysterious headwater spawning locations and the places they enjoy salmon smolt and egg buffets later in the summer.

Last year, when the rivers were atypically low due to a light snowpack, I fished three miles of a favorite creek and moved only three rainbows, all of monstrous size. This year, greater snowmelt had the creek swollen beyond long-distance wadeability, so a friend and I explored some absurdly off-the-beaten-path access points, the kind where it takes an hour to reach a piece of water in which nobody else has set foot for years.

On this new water, I caught one 19" female and briefly saw a nice male rocketing downstream post-spawn. Mostly, though, the scenic new reaches were a bust from a catching standpoint. At the end of the day, I bashed through half a mile of alders and devil's club (R.I.P. my waders, 2019-2020) to reach a known hotspot and caught six fish, mostly 18-21", before a storm rolled in and chased me back to the car.

Photos by Troutnut from Byers Creek in Alaska

Byers near inlet bridge

From Byers Creek in Alaska
Byers Creek in Alaska
Byers Creek in Alaska
Byers Creek in Alaska
Byers just above the lake

From Byers Creek in Alaska

Comments / replies

Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Jun 9, 2020June 9th, 2020, 5:05 am EDT
Beautiful water.
"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 Jun 9, 2020June 9th, 2020, 9:07 am EDT
Awesome country, enjoy that hiking while your legs are still young!
Mike.
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Jun 11, 2020June 11th, 2020, 9:10 am EDT
Amen.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell

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