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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 Skwala (Perlodidae) (Large Springfly) Stonefly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
This Skwala nymph still has a couple months left to go before hatching, but it's still a good representative of its species, which was extremely abundant in my sample for a stonefly of this size. It's obvious why the Yakima is known for its Skwala hatch.
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.
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True Bug Family Notonectidae (Backswimmers)

Backswimmers are often important to trout, especially in ponds. They're one of the insects which usually doesn't factor into a fly angler's decisions at all, but it pays to be aware of them because in just-so situations the trout eat nothing else.

Be careful handling them--they have a painful bite.

Where & when

In 954 records from GBIF, adults of this family have mostly been collected during July (22%), August (17%), June (11%), September (10%), October (8%), April (8%), May (6%), and March (6%).

In 52 records from GBIF, this family has been collected at elevations ranging from 23 to 19685 ft, with an average (median) of 2382 ft.

Family Range

Egg-Laying behavior

The adults breathe air. Normally they rest upside down at the water's surface with part of their abdomen sticking up just out of the water to breathe, but they can dive for extended periods carrying an air bubble with them. They are able to leave the water and fly around.

Nymph biology

Diet: Other insects, including other backswimmers

Backswimmer nymphs are fierce predators upon other aquatic insects.

Specimens of Backswimmers:

2 Adults

Start a Discussion of Notonectidae


True Bug Family Notonectidae (Backswimmers)

3 genera (Buenoa, Martarega, and Notonecta) aren't included.
Family Range
Common Name
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