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What is Troutnut.com?
Fly anglers live for the "hatches" when trout erupt in a feeding frenzy over the mass emergence aquatic insects from the river's surface. In these moments, trout can become so focused on one specific type of prey that they will pursue only a skillful imitation. Anglers who study aquatic insects to meet this challenge find that they're as captivating as the fish themselves. Every species has its own story, its own personality. We cross paths with these characters at the climax of a perennial drama of life and death, and--as with any great drama or sport--every play means so much more when we know the players inside and out. It's not just about catching fish. It's about knowing the stream and loving everything in it.

Troutnut.com's aquatic insect encyclopedia is a guide to these players and their stories. Read about the behavior of each species and view thousands of closeup photos, or join the fly fishing forum to meet other devotees of the world's healthiest addiction. You can learn the basics of mayflies, caddisflies, or stoneflies. Or dive into the details of storied species like the Hendrickson hatch and the Hex hatch.

Latest updates

The blog posts below describe every update ever added to Troutnut.com by myself (Troutnut) and other contributors, along with occasional other thoughts and stories from my adventures in fishing, hunting, research, and travel in Alaska and beyond.

New Instagram account

By Troutnut on August 5th, 2019, 2:29 pm
For those of you who use Instagram, I've started sharing some of my photos there. Eventually it'll just be a way to share news of new Troutnut.com updates and pictures, but in order to build up a bit of a portfolio I'll be highlighting older images for a while as well.

Both "Troutnut" and "TheTroutnut" were unavailable, so my account name is "DrTroutnut" as the next-easiest thing to remember.

Please subscribe here if you'd like to see my photos on your feed occasionally.

A couple hours on the Middle Fork Snoqualmie

By Troutnut on August 4th, 2019
I talked my wife into a quick trip to one of our home rivers on August 4th. It was the lowest I've ever fished it (around 235 CFS downstream at the gage, far less up by us), and that made for some easy wading. Some of the pools were practically still-water fishing. However, we hit a particularly good one at dusk where we caught dozens of fish without even having to move our feet. The big ones of the night were 7-8", but it's still fun.

Photos by Troutnut from the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River in Washington

 From the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River in Washington.
Date TakenAug 4, 2019
Date AddedAug 5, 2019
AuthorTroutnut
CameraNIKON 1 AW1
 From the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River in Washington.
Date TakenAug 4, 2019
Date AddedAug 5, 2019
AuthorTroutnut
CameraNIKON 1 AW1

Closeup insects by Troutnut from the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River in Washington

Male Paraleptophlebia sculleni Mayfly SpinnerMale Paraleptophlebia sculleni  Mayfly Spinner View 10 PicturesFor a species not yet reported in my state, I've been surprised to find these in two different locations lately. I was tempted to think they're the more common Paraleptophlebia debilis, but the characteristic big dorsal (Dorsal: Top.) bump on the claspers (
The claspers of this male Hexagenia atrocaudata mayfly spinner are highlighted in green.
The claspers of this male Hexagenia atrocaudata mayfly spinner are highlighted in green.
Clasper: The claspers, also known as forceps, are a pair of appendages beneath the tip of the abdomen of male mayfly adults, which are used to grab onto the female while mating.
)
just isn't present.
Collected August 4, 2019 from the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River in Washington
Added to Troutnut.com by Troutnut on August 5, 2019

Beauty and the bugs in a little meadow stream in central Washington

By Troutnut on July 28th, 2019
On Sunday July 28th, I drove 2-3 hours each way (traffic got crazy) to spend about 3 hours fishing and sampling bugs in a favorite small stream on the east side of the Cascades, where a meadow in the middle of a hot burn from a few years ago has produced surprisingly large (meaning up to 10") and spectacularly colorful Westslope Cutthroat Trout. It could almost be called a spring creek, at least in the meadow reaches, although the same clear, stable, spring-fed water tumbles through a rocky forest for most of its length.



It is by far the smallest stream I routinely fish, and sometimes it's so narrow the grass overlaps the water from both sides and leaves nowhere to cast. With the combination of close quarters, tight spaces, clear water, and bright sun, it was a real challenge to sneak up on fish and present a fly without spooking them.

Every once in a while it opens up to a "large pool" like this one, which held the biggest fish of the day (about 8.5").



The larger fish I've caught previously were either hiding under the cut banks for the day or living in bigger water downstream. It's possible I've seen them up this high in the past because I fished it about a month earlier and they were up there spawning. I explored the forested reach below for just a little while and caught one still in spawning colors:




I was as interested in bug collecting on this trip as in the fish themselves, because I figured the altitude (around 5,000 feet) and spring-fed nature of the system might offer something new to find. It didn't disappoint. By far the most abundant large nymphs in my kicknet sample were Drunella coloradensis, and I collected my first adults of this species as well.



Among the dozens of nymphs of that species, I found a single specimen of a really unique-looking mayfly nymph that got me excited, the ultra-spiky Drunella spinifera:



I also collected my first adult of the extremely common caddisfly genus Rhyacophila:



And sweeping around the grass overhanging the stream turned up a few specimens of Dolichopodidae, or Longlegged Flies.

Photos by Troutnut from Mystery Creek #199 and Mystery Creek #250 in Washington

Closeup insects by Troutnut from Mystery Creek #199 and Mystery Creek #250 in Washington

Productive day on a new small mountain stream

By Troutnut on July 25th, 2019
Thursday (July 25th), I took a tolerably short drive out of Seattle to a little-known stream on the east slope of the Cascades. The fishing was slow at first during midday in the pocket water of the broad, rocky channel, but as I worked my way upstream valley tightened up into a canyon with shallower bedrock (meaning a lot more water flowing on the surface and less through the gravel) and deep pools created by large boulders.



The combination of depth, shade, and the advancing hour improved the action, and I caught a few dozen rainbows, westslope cutthroat, and coastal cutthroat trout as I moved up through the canyon. There were a surprising number of 9- to 12-inchers for a creek small enough that I "wet waded" without getting my feet wet until they got hot and I wanted to cool down.

Toward the top of the canyon I reached a barrier waterfall around 8 feet high.



I could have crossed the creek below it and scrambled up the boulders to keep fishing, but it was getting late and I wanted to see what looked on Google Earth like some very different water above the canyon. So I climbed up a steep slope of loose dirt to the height of the treetops, where the road/trail wound along above the canyon, and I dropped back to the river just past the canyon. Here it was a completely different stream, meandering and low-gradient with small gravel, ankle-deep riffles and inviting little pools at each bend.



Despite the skinny water, it was hard to drop a fly anywhere without a trout smashing it. I caught a few dozen more in just an hour or two, all westslope cutthroat. Apparently the falls in the canyon were an impassible barrier that blocked the other species. I called it quits when the fishing was still hot, because I wanted light to walk out and collect some bugs.

There wasn't a lot of insect activity to get the fish rising, although in the evening there were sporadic rises in most pools. The few adult bugs I nabbed were collected on the trail above the river. Collecting nymphs with my kicknet before leaving was very productive, as I found good specimens of for uncommon species that weren't yet represented on this site (or at least not by my closeups). Among others, these included exquisitely colored nymphs of Attelella delantala:



The distinctive Drunella pelosa, which has only been collected a few times in Washington:



And a male spinner of Paraleptophlebia sculleni. This species has only previously been reported from Oregon, but I'm fairly confident in the ID from both the pictures and putting a few specimens under the dissecting microscope.

Photos by Troutnut from Mystery Creek #249 in Washington

On-stream insect photos by Troutnut from Mystery Creek #249 in Washington

Cases made by larvae of some sort of Chironomid midge, which I photographed with my bug kit back in the studio.  In this picture: True Fly Family Chironomidae (Midges). From Mystery Creek # 249 in Washington.
Cases made by larvae of some sort of Chironomid midge, which I photographed with my bug kit back in the studio.

In this picture: True Fly Family Chironomidae (Midges).
Date TakenJul 25, 2019
Date AddedJul 26, 2019
AuthorTroutnut
CameraNIKON 1 AW1
Thousands of midges swarming over a sunny pool.  In this picture: True Fly Family Chironomidae (Midges). From Mystery Creek # 249 in Washington.
Thousands of midges swarming over a sunny pool.

In this picture: True Fly Family Chironomidae (Midges).
Date TakenJul 25, 2019
Date AddedJul 26, 2019
AuthorTroutnut
CameraNIKON 1 AW1
This Calineuria californica female was captured and placed in "bug jail," but was released when I saw it was loaded with eggs and about to drop them, and I could tell it was the same specis (albeit different gender) I photographed a few days ago.  In this picture: Stonefly Species Calineuria californica (Golden Stone). From Mystery Creek # 249 in Washington.
This Calineuria californica female was captured and placed in "bug jail," but was released when I saw it was loaded with eggs and about to drop them, and I could tell it was the same specis (albeit different gender) I photographed a few days ago.

In this picture: Stonefly Species Calineuria californica (Golden Stone).
Date TakenJul 25, 2019
Date AddedJul 26, 2019
AuthorTroutnut
CameraNIKON 1 AW1

Closeup insects by Troutnut from Mystery Creek #249 in Washington

Quick evening trip to the South Fork Snoqualmie

By Troutnut on July 20th, 2019
My wife and I drove up to the nearest trout stream for some quick evening fishing. I hoped to put her on some fish in the pools that allowed easier casting, but they seemed oddly devoid of fish. The ones I caught were rising sporadically, tight against cover that would snag most flies and required precise presentation. Retention is allowed on this stream, so I think maybe the easy pools got fished out.

Little green stoneflies (likely Alloperla) were common in the air in this fast-water reach, and I saw several on the water too.

Photos by Troutnut from the South Fork Snoqualmie River in Washington

 From the South Fork Snoqualmie River in Washington.
Date TakenJul 20, 2019
Date AddedJul 22, 2019
AuthorTroutnut
CameraNIKON 1 AW1
Pretty little coastal cutthroat from the South Fork. From the South Fork Snoqualmie River in Washington.
Pretty little coastal cutthroat from the South Fork.
Date TakenJul 20, 2019
Date AddedJul 22, 2019
AuthorTroutnut
CameraNIKON 1 AW1

Closeup insects by Troutnut from the South Fork Snoqualmie River in Washington

Male Calineuria californica (Golden Stone) Stonefly AdultMale Calineuria californica (Golden Stone) Stonefly Adult View 15 PicturesA few of these larger stoneflies were fluttering around the South Fork on an evening dominated by much smaller species.

This one has been difficult to identify. I can't spot any of the gill remnants characteristic of Perlidae, but the wing venation (Venation: The pattern in which the veins on the wings of an insect are arranged. It is usually one of the most useful identifying characteristics.) seems to point in that direction. I tried keying it out as Perlodidae but arrived at Isoperla, every western species of which has significantly smaller bodies than this one.

Edit: See forum comments for a likely correct identification.
Collected July 20, 2019 from the South Fork Snoqualmie River in Washington
Added to Troutnut.com by Troutnut on July 22, 2019
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