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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 Ephemerella mucronata (Ephemerellidae) Mayfly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
This is an interesting one. Following the keys in Merritt R.W., Cummins, K.W., and Berg, M.B. (2019) and Jacobus et al. (2014), it keys clearly to Ephemerella. Jacobus et al provide a key to species, but some of the characteristics are tricky to interpret without illustrations. If I didn't make any mistakes, this one keys to Ephemerella mucronata, which has not previously been reported any closer to here than Montana and Alberta. The main character seems to fit well: "Abdominal terga with prominent, paired, subparallel, spiculate ridges." Several illustrations or descriptions of this holarctic species from the US and Europe seem to match, including the body length, tarsal claws and denticles, labial palp, and gill shapes. These sources include including Richard Allen's original description of this species in North America under the now-defunct name E. moffatae in Allen RK (1977) and the figures in this description of the species in Italy.
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.


Posts: 1
Fishingtrou on Oct 28, 2008October 28th, 2008, 12:55 pm EDT
there is a spot where this big fish just sits and you can throw a rock at it and it will move but then it will go back to the same spot and ive used all of the differt flies i have and it wount bite... what would you do?
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
GONZO on Oct 28, 2008October 28th, 2008, 2:01 pm EDT
Try a bigger rock.

Sorry, Mark, just kidding! Do you know what it is? Brown? Rainbow? Are fish stocked in that stream? How big is it? Can you describe where it holds and its behavior? Have you ever seen it feed? Is it legal to fish at night in UT?
Softhackle's profile picture
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Oct 29, 2008October 29th, 2008, 3:56 am EDT
I'm sure Gonzo will add more, but may I quickly suggest a few things:

First, if you can see the fish, more than likely the fish can see you unless you are taking care to hide your movements and your personage from him. This means a number of things. Wearing clothing that is mute; cover your movements as best you can; are you disturbing the bank so the fish can feel vibrations; are you too close; are you casting a shadow on the water? Big fish are a lot more aware of their surroundings and things that are going on. They're also a bit more experienced. Caution in approach is a must.

The fly can make a difference, but presentation of that fly is important, too. Perhaps the fish is seeing your leader. Where you stand to show the fish the fly can often determine how the fish will react, especially if it is aware of you. Determining where the best spot to be to present the fly with minimal exposure of you and your leader, plus eliminate drag, is the key. Even wet flies and streamers often will drag unnaturally, and the fish will refuse the fly.

Look things over, and figure out what or why the fish is refusing your offerings. It may be as simple as going down a leader size, moving to a different spot to cast from, or covering your movements.


"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

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Hollidaysburg Pa

Posts: 251
LittleJ on Oct 29, 2008October 29th, 2008, 8:10 am EDT
p.m. me the exact location of the fish and I will be sure to post details on how I caught it :)
Falsifly's profile picture
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on Oct 29, 2008October 29th, 2008, 8:29 am EDT
Try the net. It works for me:)
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
Troutnut's profile picture
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Oct 29, 2008October 29th, 2008, 12:18 pm EDT
Watch the fish for a while to see if it's feeding. It might just be a big fish-eater that goes out and eats an 8" brown every night and rests all day. You might try a big ugly streamer... or, better yet, a big ugly streamer at night.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
JAD's profile picture
Alexandria Pa

Posts: 362
JAD on Nov 1, 2008November 1st, 2008, 1:53 am EDT

Sometimes fish just don't bite,weather we want them to or not.
Quote-- It might just be a big fish-eater that goes out and eats an 8" brown every night and rests all day. You might try a big ugly streamer... or, better yet, a big ugly streamer at night.

Good advice wait for a rain or dark skies and try with a dark fly weighted and use Fluorocarbon leader If that doesn't work call BIG fish Louis :)

Home of the hopeful


They fasten red (crimson red) wool around a hook, and fix onto the wool two feathers which grow under a cock’s wattles, and which in colour are like wax.
Radcliffe's Fishing from the Earliest Times,
Marquette, MI

Posts: 33
UPTroutBum on Nov 1, 2008November 1st, 2008, 4:26 am EDT
hey could be a sucker?
" The true fisherman approaches the first day of fishing season with
all the sense of wonder and awe of a child approaching Christmas." John Voelker

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