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Small-stream brook trout in Alaska? Not exactly...

By Troutnut on July 11th, 2012
Amidst the hundreds of little grayling streams scattered through interior Alaska, there are a handful places to find a welcome bit of variety: dwarf dolly varden. These guys don't migrate around chasing the nutritious salmon runs, but instead stay in small streams at a correspondingly small size. I had never found one of these gems (and hadn't looked very hard) until the other day. I had great fun with my soft, short 4-weight, placing a foam beetle in some challenging places in hopes of enticing an 8-inch fish.

Photos by Troutnut from Mystery Creek #170 in Alaska

I always knew the mottled pattern on the backs of char was excellent camouflage, but I never quite appreciated how perfectly they can match the light tones of a riffly river until I took this picture. From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska.
I always knew the mottled pattern on the backs of char was excellent camouflage, but I never quite appreciated how perfectly they can match the light tones of a riffly river until I took this picture.
StateAlaska
Date TakenJul 11, 2012
Date AddedJul 14, 2012
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon PowerShot D10
 From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska.
StateAlaska
Date TakenJul 11, 2012
Date AddedJul 14, 2012
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon PowerShot D10
 From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska.
StateAlaska
Date TakenJul 11, 2012
Date AddedJul 14, 2012
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon PowerShot D10
 From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska.
StateAlaska
Date TakenJul 11, 2012
Date AddedJul 14, 2012
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon PowerShot D10
 From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska.
StateAlaska
Date TakenJul 11, 2012
Date AddedJul 14, 2012
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon PowerShot D10
 From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska.
StateAlaska
Date TakenJul 11, 2012
Date AddedJul 14, 2012
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon PowerShot D10
 From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska.
StateAlaska
Date TakenJul 11, 2012
Date AddedJul 14, 2012
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon PowerShot D10
 From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska.
StateAlaska
Date TakenJul 11, 2012
Date AddedJul 14, 2012
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon PowerShot D10

Underwater photos by Troutnut from Mystery Creek #170 in Alaska

This was the biggest dwarf dolly varden of the day, a mature male about 8.5-9" long, quite a bruiser for the creek he was in.  He's the prettiest fish I've caught in a while.

This fish is also pictured in this picture and this one. From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska.
This was the biggest dwarf dolly varden of the day, a mature male about 8.5-9" long, quite a bruiser for the creek he was in. He's the prettiest fish I've caught in a while.

This fish is also pictured in this picture and this one.
StateAlaska
Date TakenJul 11, 2012
Date AddedJul 14, 2012
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon PowerShot D10
Same male dwarf dolly as in this picture and this one. From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska.
Same male dwarf dolly as in this picture and this one.
StateAlaska
Date TakenJul 11, 2012
Date AddedJul 14, 2012
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon PowerShot D10
Closeup of the pectoral fin of this dwarf dolly varden. From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska.
Closeup of the pectoral fin of this dwarf dolly varden.
StateAlaska
Date TakenJul 11, 2012
Date AddedJul 14, 2012
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon PowerShot D10
Dwarf dolly varden From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska.
Dwarf dolly varden
StateAlaska
Date TakenJul 11, 2012
Date AddedJul 14, 2012
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon PowerShot D10
Same male dwarf dolly as in this picture and this one. From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska.
Same male dwarf dolly as in this picture and this one.
StateAlaska
Date TakenJul 11, 2012
Date AddedJul 14, 2012
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon PowerShot D10
You can see the dwarf dolly I caught in this pool, hanging out after being released, just up/left from the center of the picture.  You can't really tell it's a fish here, though. From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska.
You can see the dwarf dolly I caught in this pool, hanging out after being released, just up/left from the center of the picture. You can't really tell it's a fish here, though.
StateAlaska
Date TakenJul 11, 2012
Date AddedJul 14, 2012
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon PowerShot D10

On-stream insect photos by Troutnut from Mystery Creek #170 in Alaska

Shed exoskeleton from what was very likely an Ephemerella aurivillii nymph that emerged on this rock.  In this picture: Mayfly Species Ephemerella aurivillii. From Mystery Creek # 170 in Alaska.
Shed exoskeleton from what was very likely an Ephemerella aurivillii nymph that emerged on this rock.

In this picture: Mayfly Species Ephemerella aurivillii.
StateAlaska
Date TakenJul 11, 2012
Date AddedJul 14, 2012
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon PowerShot D10

Most recent comments on this post (latest on top)

Jmd123July 15th, 2012, 1:28 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2010
Small fish in small streams are underappreciated. Most people want big fish in their pictures, but holding these small jewels of nature in your hand is often more than enough. The closest trout stream to me is a small stream with mostly small fish, but every once in while a much bigger one comes up that compared to the others looks just huge, like the 13" rainbow I caught last week. But there is something so special about these small, brightly colored fish...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
PaulRobertsJuly 15th, 2012, 12:38 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1689
Wonderful. Those creeks look just like a little stream just a mile below me.
GldstrmSamJuly 15th, 2012, 3:24 am
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
You have just started to get me itchy for some exploration. Not necessarily to go search out this creek, but to go find some hidden world of my own.

Great photos,

Samuel
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
Shawnny3July 14th, 2012, 8:51 pm
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Great gallery, Jason. In some of the images, I think the light in the water is more beautiful than the fish (although the fin closeup is maybe my favorite pic). I was wondering how you captured the fish images. I see the line in at least one of them, but were all of these taken while they were still on the line? Sometimes after releasing a fish they will sit long enough at my boot to take some good pics if I had a camera, but I don't know that I've ever knowingly approached a fish that I haven't caught closely enough to take a good photo without spooking it from its lie. Have you ever taken photos of undisturbed fish holding in the water?

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
GONZOJuly 14th, 2012, 7:57 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Beautiful pictures, Jason! It's easy to see how the dollies in this little creek would go a long way toward satisfying a "brookie" craving.

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