The famous nocturnal Hex hatch of the Midwest (and a few other lucky locations) stirs to the surface mythically large Brown Trout that only touch streamers for the rest of the year.
"According to one local angler I met on the Baldwin, the best nights are "dark as the inside o' yer hat; sorta warm an' muggy." He had three browns over seventeen inches."
Time of day: Shortly after dark.
Habitat: Near where the duns emerged
Current speed: Slow streams or stillwater.
Substrate: Silt beds of just the right consistency, soft enough to easily burrow into but strong enough that they don't collapse
Environmental tolerance: They survive in warm water but thrive in cold. They are very durable once they've grown large.
"Night fishing can get into your blood, and your senses become amazingly attuned to it. You will find yourself casting accurately to rises you only hear. The slightest disturbance near your fly puts the reflex on edge; you must strike at these rises, for it is easy to assume your fly to be elsewhere and never strike at a good fish."
The trick for night fishing the Hex hatch is to get as close as possible. Experienced anglers know the water, wade into position, and cast a very short line. They fish strictly to sound and strike on the splash.
This video shows just how blizzard-like the Hexagenia limbata hatch can be. I only wish my digital camera had had respectable video capability back in 2005.
The Namekagon is not known as a Hex hatch river, for good reason: the hatch is extremely rare and localized, and there are often few if any trout where the Hexes are. During this trip I caught nothing and heard no risers, but it was still a memorable night out in the middle of nowhere.
This is one of the earliest videos I made, and I was experimenting with a tank and background that didn't work very well.