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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.

Dorsal view of a Setvena wahkeena (Perlodidae) (Wahkeena Springfly) Stonefly Nymph from Mystery Creek #199 in Washington
As far as I can tell, this species has only previously been reported from one site in Oregon along the Columbia gorge. However, the key characteristics are fairly unmistakable in all except for one minor detail:
— 4 small yellow spots on frons visible in photos
— Narrow occipital spinule row curves forward (but doesn’t quite meet on stem of ecdysial suture, as it's supposed to in this species)
— Short spinules on anterior margin of front legs
— Short rposterior row of blunt spinules on abdominal tergae, rather than elongated spinules dorsally
I caught several of these mature nymphs in the fishless, tiny headwaters of a creek high in the Wenatchee Mountains.
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.

Fun day on the Henry's Fork and beyond

Fun day on the Henry's Fork and beyond

By Troutnut on July 31st, 2020
I fished the Henry's Fork of the Snake out of the Last Chance access on the Harriman Ranch section from 8:30 to 11:00 am. Fishing was difficult, I caught a 14-incher on a size 18 olive Galloup's Cripple dry, and I missed three other strikes or close refusals. There were obscenely many mayfly spinners on the water, mostly Ephemerella excrucians PMDs but also a few Baetis, Tricorythodes, and Siphlonurus occidentalis. However, very few fish rose more than once or twice, and they were picky when they did. Most of the action was from 10 to 11 pm. After fishing, I set up in the parking lot to photograph bugs during the heat of the day.

I drove a long way to a secret spot to fish for the evening. However, it wasn't as secret as I'd like. Several vehicles at the usual access point compelled me to look elsewhere, and I drove to somewhere I'd have more of a walk to avoid people. At first I caught some brook trout and a small whitefish, including a nice 14 1/8" brookie. I thought maybe the other fish I was after were not to be found in this part of the creek. However, on the last pool before I was going to give up and move, an 18.5" cutthroat slammed my Royal Doublewing and put up a great fight. A smaller one tried to hit in the same pool.

In the next pool up, I hooked an even bigger one, at least 20", and fought it for over five minutes before the hook came loose. I took these back-to-back fish as a sign that the fishing was heating up, but that was the last sign of big cutts. As a more-than-great consolation prize, I caught my largest brook trout ever (16 1/8") and six brookies in the 10–12" range. All the fishing really shut down 1–2 hours before dark.

Photos by Troutnut from the Henry's Fork of the Snake River and Mystery Creek #237 in Idaho and Montana

The Henry's Fork of the Snake River in Idaho
The Henry's Fork of the Snake River in Idaho
Mystery Creek # 237 in Montana
Mystery Creek # 237 in Montana
Mystery Creek # 237 in Montana
This brook trout measured a bit over 14".
The only mountain whitefish of the trip. I caught it nymphing the bottom of a pool so deep I could tell there were fish but couldn't tell what kind. They were whitefish.
My longest brook trout yet, 16 1/8".
Mystery Creek # 237 in Montana
Mystery Creek # 237 in Montana

Closeup insects by Troutnut from the Henry's Fork of the Snake River and Mystery Creek #237 in Idaho and Montana

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