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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.

Lateral view of a Female Sweltsa borealis (Chloroperlidae) (Boreal Sallfly) Stonefly Adult from Harris Creek in Washington
I was not fishing, but happened to be at an unrelated social event on a hill above this tiny creek (which I never even saw) when this stonefly flew by me. I assume it came from there. Some key characteristics are tricky to follow, but process of elimination ultimately led me to Sweltsa borealis. It is reassuringly similar to this specimen posted by Bob Newell years ago. It is also so strikingly similar to this nymph from the same river system that I'm comfortable identifying that nymph from this adult. I was especially pleased with the closeup photo of four mites parasitizing this one.
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: 2
MagicMidge on Jan 21, 2009January 21st, 2009, 3:28 am EST
Hey guys...new to the board so HI. I am going to be fishing the West Branch Delaware, Beaverkill, Willowemoc and the Esopus last week of April and was wondering if anybody had some good Hendrickson patterns to share?
Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Jan 21, 2009January 21st, 2009, 7:49 am EST
A favorite of some guides there is an emerger pattern tied on a scud hook. I'll probably be substituting Gamakatsu C15BV.


Here's my basic recipe:

Tie in a dark brown antron or z-lon shuck down the bend of the hook, leaving enough point and shank to hold the fish. Dub a slim abdomen of Caucci/Nastasi Hendrickson Dubbing--Red Brown for male, Pinkish Cream/Tan for females:


(or use your favorite Hendrickson dubbing)

Leave the thorax area undubbed and tie in a wing of snowshoe foot hair. I prefer the denser fine fur from the center of the foot, not the longer guard hairs. There are many ways to tie in the wing. You can do it downwing style, like a caddis wing, but I prefer to tie it in in the center of a bunch of hair, then post around the bottom to pull the wing up into a clump. Although this is a picture of a CDC midge emerger, the following gives an idea of the wing's shape.


See the Slate Drake and the Tiny Blue Winged Olive below for mayflies tied like this (also with CDC--the snowshoe wing can be a bit smaller)


Finally, X wrap dubbing under and around the hook shank at the wing to make a thorax bulge and tie off.

There are many other good patterns. Thorax ties also work, as do Comparaduns. Best of luck.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Troutnut's profile picture
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Jan 21, 2009January 21st, 2009, 12:40 pm EST
Those fish can be fairly picky about their Hendricksons, so I would carry a variety of patterns to try until you find one that gives you a lot of confidence. It seemed helpful to have a strong wing profile, and make sure you've got flies that land and ride upright on the water.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist

Posts: 2
MagicMidge on Jan 21, 2009January 21st, 2009, 1:28 pm EST
So far I have Some tied some deer hair and CDC comparaduns with biot bodies and spinners as well....some with an egg sac and some without. From my understanding there isn't a differation between male and female during the spinner fall. So I used the hendrickson pink for the comparaduns.

Thanks for the emrger pattern...I tie a similar sulphur emerger pattern on a curved hook.

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