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Artistic view of a Male Pteronarcys californica (Pteronarcyidae) (Giant Salmonfly) Stonefly Adult from the Gallatin River in Montana
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.

Landscape & scenery photos from the Copper River

This is the delta where O'Brien Creek flows out into the Copper River's channel.  It may be one of the most intense graveyards for filleted salmon in the world.

From the Copper River in Alaska
I was at a popular spot for dipnetting, and this little rodent (a vole, I think?) hit the jackpot with an earlier angler's leftover snack.

From the Copper River in Alaska
Seagulls rest on a gravel bar across from the fish cleaning station at O'Brien Creek, in between meals.

From the Copper River in Alaska
The Copper River is often over a mile wide, but the dipnetting almost all takes place in this narrow canyon below the confluence with the Chitina River.  Here the river squeezes into a deep, fast, turbulent rapids that funnels fish through a narrow area and forces them to hug the banks where anglers can reach them.

From the Copper River in Alaska
The Copper River in Alaska
An anonymous dipnetter works the bank near the access point at O'Brien Creek.

From the Copper River in Alaska
I spent twelve hours holding this net in the river, often in fast current.  The key is to hold it in an eddy, so it billows out upstream and can catch the salmon that are all swimming in that direction.  The eddies along the bank attract salmon because it's easier for them to run upstream with the current than against it.  The best eddies are the narrow ones where the rest of the river is flowing fast downstream most of the salmon hug the bank.

From the Copper River in Alaska


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