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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 Grammotaulius betteni (Limnephilidae) (Northern Caddisfly) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This is a striking caddis larva with an interesting color pattern on the head. Here are some characteristics I was able to see under the microscope, but could not easily expose for a picture:
- The prosternal horn is present.
- The mandible is clearly toothed, not formed into a uniform scraper blade.
- The seems to be only 2 major setae on the ventral edge of the hind femur.
- Chloride epithelia seem to be absent from the dorsal side of any abdominal segments.
Based on these characteristics and the ones more easily visible from the pictures, this seems to be Grammotaulius. The key's description of the case is spot-on: "Case cylindrical, made of longitudinally arranged sedge or similar leaves," as is the description of the markings on the head, "Dorsum of head light brownish yellow with numerous discrete, small, dark spots." The spot pattern on the head is a very good match to figure 19.312 of Merritt R.W., Cummins, K.W., and Berg, M.B. (2019). The species ID is based on Grammotaulius betteni being the only species of this genus known in Washington state.
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 # 295

The Mystery Creek # 295 in Washington
The Mystery Creek # 295 in Washington
I caught a little rainbow on a dry exactly where you'd expect.

From the Mystery Creek # 295 in Washington
This was by far the best-looking pool on the reach I fished, but surprisingly I didn't see any sign of a fish despite trying for quite a while. They must have just been holding somewhere I couldn't present a fly, maybe under the deep, brushy cut bank.

From the Mystery Creek # 295 in Washington
The Mystery Creek # 295 in Washington
First trout of 2022!

Closeup insects by Troutnut from Mystery Creek #295 in Washington

Lateral view of a Male Epeorus longimanus (Heptageniidae) (Slate Brown Dun) Mayfly Dun from Mystery Creek #295 in Washington
Identification of this one was as follows. Body 9 mm, wing 11 mm.
Both Epeorus albertae and Epeorus dulciana should have a conspicuously darkened humeral crossvein in the forewing. This one doesn't.
The foretarsal claws are dissimilar (one sharp, one blunt), which also rules out the Epeorus albertae group.
The dark macula on the forefemora rules out Epeorus deceptivus, which is also supposed to be a little bit smaller.
Both Epeorus grandis and Epeorus permagnus should be much, much larger.
Of the species known to be present in Washington, this leaves only Epeorus longimanus, which is exactly the right size. The key to male spinners in Traver (1935) describes distinctive markings that are visible (although more faintly) in this dun: “Black posterior margins of tergites do not extend laterally to pleural fold, but an oblique black line form this margin cuts across poster-lateral triangle to pleural fold.”
Artistic view of a Male Isoperla fulva (Perlodidae) (Yellow Sally) Stonefly Adult from Mystery Creek #295 in Washington
Family-level ID following Merritt, Cummins, & Berg 5th Edition:
1. Thoracic gill remnants absent
2. Arms of mesosternal Y-ridge approach posterior end of furcal pits
3. Submental gill remnants short, obscure, or absent
4. Male. Note that sternum 9 (the long, dark, last segment) appears to be the 8th if you count from the front in the ventral view, because the first segment is not easily visible ventrally.
5. Male abdominal tergum 10 not divided posteriorly; Paraprocts modified as hooks.
6. Male abdominal tergum 10 simple without notches or other prominent processes. This one was tricky, because at first glance it looks like the hooks arise from tergum 10, but in fact they're coming from the paraprocts underneath. There's a medial groove on tergum 10 that could be seen as a "notch" too, but it seems by "notch" the key is referring to a notch in the margin.
7. Abdominal sternum 8 with a conspicuous lobe and sternum 7 without such a lobe.
This leads to Isoperla.
Among Isoperla species known in Washington, most species are ruled out by different shapes of the vesicle (the rounded posterior bump on sternum 8). Isoperla pinta is ruled out by the lack of a region of stout spinules on tergum 9. The remaining options (without knowing how to properly dissect and image the aedeagus) are Isoperla fulva, Isoperla marmorata, Isoperla tilasqua, and Isoperla gravitans, the latter of which is too large. The other three are all at least slim possibilities, but several described characteristics seem to best match Isoperla fulva, which is also mentioned as the most common western Isoperla.

References

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