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Lateral view of a Female Hexagenia limbata (Ephemeridae) (Hex) Mayfly Dun from the Namekagon River in Wisconsin
Hex Mayflies
Hexagenia limbata

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.

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.

From Slough Creek to the Henry's Fork

From Slough Creek to the Henry's Fork

By Troutnut on July 30th, 2020
I really wanted to photograph some bugs in the evening, so I didn't fish in the morning. Instead I got up early, broke camp, and hiked about ten miles out the well-maintained trail to the trailhead from 8:30 to 11:50 am. I stopped in a fly shop in West Yellowstone to replace a couple minor supplies, while trying to keep my breathing to a minimum in the crowded store during a pre-vaccine Covid peak. I would have good odds of surviving the virus, but it would have good odds of screwing up my fishing plans, so better safe than sorry.

I arrived at the famous Harriman Ranch section of the Henry's Fork around 3 pm, but nothing was really hatching until 5. As clouds rolled in, PMDs started hatching (Ephemerella excrucians), followed eventually by Flavs (Drunella flavilinea) and Gray Drakes (Siphlonurus occidentalis), mixed with lots of caddisflies. I caught four small rainbows, then a 15-incher and a 17-incher (my best yet on this reach) that made a great cartwheeling leap high in the air. The bug collecting was even better than the fishing.

Photos by Troutnut from Slough Creek and the Henry's Fork of the Snake River in Wyoming and Idaho

Two whitetail deer in one of the meadows along Slough Creek. I watched them all morning before I hiked out.

From Slough Creek in Wyoming
The Henry's Fork of the Snake River in Idaho
The Henry's Fork of the Snake River in Idaho
These were the contents of my bug net after several swoops through the grass along the Henry's Fork.

From the Henry's Fork of the Snake River in Idaho
The Henry's Fork of the Snake River in Idaho
The Henry's Fork of the Snake River in Idaho

Closeup insects by Troutnut from the Henry's Fork of the Snake River in Idaho

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