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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.

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

Here my dad's fighting a very nice arctic grayling, and this photo caught it mid-jump at the end of his line.  This one eventually shook the hook, but we both caught many more in the same size range.

From the Chena River in Alaska
Here's a panorama of the junction of the North Fork of the Chena River and Middle Fork of the Chena River, where we my dad and I spent some time fishing for Arctic grayling on this float trip.

From the Chena River in Alaska
The Chena River in Alaska
This is probably my largest grayling to date -- it's about 18 inches.
Two major forks of this grayling stream come together in this pretty pool.

From the Chena River in Alaska
Pretty grayling fins.

From the Chena River in Alaska
My dad fighting a grayling.

From the Chena River in Alaska
The Chena River in Alaska
The Chena River in Alaska
The Chena River in Alaska
My dad nets a grayling.

From the Chena River in Alaska
The Chena River in Alaska

On-stream insect photos from the Chena River

The Chena River in Alaska

Closeup insects by Troutnut from the Chena River in Alaska

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