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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 Zapada cinctipes (Nemouridae) (Tiny Winter Black) Stonefly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
Nymphs of this species were fairly common in late-winter kick net samples from the upper Yakima River. Although I could not find a key to species of Zapada nymphs, a revision of the Nemouridae family by Baumann (1975) includes the following helpful sentence: "2 cervical gills on each side of midline, 1 arising inside and 1 outside of lateral cervical sclerites, usually single and elongate, sometimes constricted but with 3 or 4 branches arising beyond gill base in Zapada cinctipes." This specimen clearly has the branches and is within the range of that species.
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 July 28th, 2020
I fished a long stretch of creek from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm with camp on my back, then used the mid-afternoon lull to set up camp at a new location. The river was higher than yesterday and a bit murky from the storm.

Fishing was slow. In the morning I caught a 13" naive fish an an attractor dry (Royal Doublewing), a 15" steady riser that ignored many flies before finally taking a midge emerger, two fish (15" and 17") on a Sculpzilla streamer, and an 18" riser that took a yellow sally stonefly dry on the first cast. There were no major hatches, just a few scattered bugs of many kinds in the air, most commonly yellow sally stoneflies (Chloroperlidae).

In the afternoon, I had to stop fishing twice to shelter from thunderstorms, hunkering down somewhere in the willows far from the tallest trees around. I managed 15" and 18" fish on streamers before the storms hit. After the storm, lots of big fish were chasing streamers but none were eating them. After the second storm, everything really shut down until a slight, mixed dusk hatch brought a few fish to the surface. I caught.a few small ones.

Photos by Troutnut from Slough Creek in Wyoming

Canada geese and sandhill cranes were all noisily objecting to my presence on Slough Creek.

From Slough Creek in Wyoming
Slough Creek in Wyoming
Slough Creek in Wyoming
Somebody placed an unusual clothes-drying rack at one of my campsites.

From Slough Creek in Wyoming
Slough Creek in Wyoming
Slough Creek in Wyoming
Slough Creek in Wyoming
Slough Creek in Wyoming

Comments / replies

Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Aug 17, 2020August 17th, 2020, 3:55 am EDT
Wow! Hatches? Flies?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Troutnut
Troutnut's profile picture
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Aug 17, 2020August 17th, 2020, 5:02 am EDT
I'll work on adding the narratives after I finish adding the pics. The short answer is there wasn't much hatching, fishing seemed kind of slow (although I have a surprising number of fish pics for "slow" fishing, I guess), and mostly I had to earn each fish with a different fly and technique.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Aug 20, 2020August 20th, 2020, 2:34 am EDT
Well done! The fish are beautiful. I look forward to the narrative.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Aug 22, 2020August 22nd, 2020, 12:48 pm EDT
All healthy thick bodies cutties. You did very well.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.

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