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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 Limnephilidae (Giant Sedges) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This specimen resembled several others of around the same size and perhaps the same species, which were pretty common in my February sample from the upper Yakima. Unfortunately, I misplaced the specimen before I could get it under a microscope for a definitive ID.
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.

About "Mystery Creeks": If you recognize one of these, you already understand why I'm keeping it a secret. I'm not as strict as some anglers about hiding where I fish, mostly because I don't expect to substantially affect fishing pressure on already well-known or simply unpopular waters. But there are some gems where I don't want to add a single unfamiliar bootprint to the mix, due to the fishing, their wild character, or keeping a friend's secret. They're all "Mystery Creek" here—even the lakes.

Landscape & scenery photos from Mystery Creek # 170

Pretty dolly varden
Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska
I caught the first dolly of the day after several tries while hiding behind this willow. It made splashy refusals at the first couple flies I tried. I peeked through gaps between the leaves to watch my fly drift down and see the fish's take.

From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska
Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska
Mosquitoes trying to bore a tunnel into my wader leg.

From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska
Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska
Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska
Nice pool, no fish. I saw a school of spooked fish swimming around in here when I first approached. A female goldeneye was nested next to this pool.

From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska
I always knew the mottled pattern on the backs of char was excellent camouflage, but I never quite appreciated how perfectly they can match the light tones of a riffly river until I took this picture.
A dinky grayling in most places, this one was a lunker for this stream.
This thunderstorm took away my sunlight, brought out the mosquitoes, and nearly chased me off the water... but most of the thunder was distant and slowly but surely going the other direction.

From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska

Underwater photos from Mystery Creek # 170

This was the biggest dwarf dolly varden of the day, a mature male about 8.5-9" long, quite a bruiser for the creek he was in.  He's the prettiest fish I've caught in a while.

This fish is also pictured in this picture and this one.

From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska
Same male dwarf dolly as in this picture and this one.

From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska
Closeup of the pectoral fin of this dwarf dolly varden.

From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska
You can see the dwarf dolly I caught in this pool, hanging out after being released, just up/left from the center of the picture.  You can't really tell it's a fish here, though.

From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska
Dwarf dolly varden

From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska
Same male dwarf dolly as in this picture and this one.

From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska

On-stream insect photos from Mystery Creek # 170

Shed exoskeleton from what was very likely an Ephemerella aurivillii nymph that emerged on this rock.

From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska
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