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Pteronarcys californica

The giant Salmonflies of the Western mountains are legendary for their proclivity to elicit consistent dry-fly action and ferocious strikes.

> The Chena River

The Chena is a popular catch & release grayling stream that runs through the second largest city in Alaska, Fairbanks. It's also the site of the Troutnut's Ph.D. research on juvenile Chinook salmon. There's easy access to good grayling water all along Chena Hot Springs Road for 15-20 miles in the river's upper reach.

Arctic grayling in the 16-inch range are easy to come by, and grayling above 18 are possible in a good day. The better-than-average size and numbers here can be attributed to the catch-and-release-only regulations that have been in place since the 90s. Grayling are very slow-growing fish that can live for decades, and in a river so close to town and with such easy access the population of big fish dwindles quickly if people are allowed to keep them. The maximum size here does not match the monster grayling of Alaska's west coast, but this is as good a grayling fishery as any on the Alaskan road system.

Although the Chena holds both Chinook and Chum salmon, the fishery for them does not match what outsiders picture when they think of Alaska salmon fishing. The river is only open to salmon fishing in its deep, slow, meandering lower miles, where fly fishing, sight fishing, and wading are all difficult. It's mostly the domain of bait and lure fishermen in boats, and the good fishing for them only lasts a week or two as the main pulse of salmon blows through to their spawning grounds in the upper river, which is closed for salmon.

Landscape & scenery photos from the Chena River

On-stream insect photos from the Chena River

Closeup insects by Troutnut from the Chena River in Alaska

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