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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 Sweltsa (Chloroperlidae) (Sallfly) Stonefly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
This species was fairly abundant in a February sample of the upper Yakima.
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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Lagrangeville, NY

Posts: 119
Patcrisci on Apr 20, 2009April 20th, 2009, 11:07 am EDT
Last year while fishing on the lower Beaverkill I learned a valuable lesson.

I walked to a favorite stretch of water on the lower river and found it occupied. In fact the entire stretch was taken by two anglers. I sat on the bank and waited and watched. In the shade of a strapping Sycamore I smoked a Swisher Sweet to settle my city nerves.

A half hour passed as I arranged flies in an old Perrine box, sharpened a few hooks, fussed over leader and tippet.

One hour. Neither angler budged despite no sign of hatch nor moving fish.

The shadows lengthened. A swallow darted to the water's surface and in a swift feint intercepted a fleeting dun. The two anglers stood planted in their spots.

I knew this run well, but had never fished the flat water above it. Now, I grudgingly trudged upstream, resigned to fish it, in a funk because "my spot" was occupied.

What happened in the next hour reminded me of how complacent I'd become in my approach and how important it is to discover and learn new water and new tricks.

There were a few big brown drakes flying clumsily when I reached the flat. The water was about three feet deep and peppered with basketball sized rocks. And generous. I took four brown trout, the largest maybe 15 inches on a March Brown emerger.

I'd passed this water time and again, in my haste to fish the proven run below. Now I slipped the last trout back into the quiet water of the shadowy flat. The western sun flared in a notch on the horizon. You can teach an old dog new tricks after all.

Pat Crisci
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Apr 20, 2009April 20th, 2009, 11:18 am EDT
Nice story and lesson, Pat. I never cease to be amazed at where fish can be caught.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
Flatstick96's profile picture
Posts: 127
Flatstick96 on Apr 21, 2009April 21st, 2009, 6:36 am EDT
Great story Pat.

As I mentioned in the "Nymphing Technique" thread, that particular lesson is one I learned the hard way fishing with my grandfather many years ago; he happily left the "best spots" to me, being content to patiently fish the "less likely" water that I'd pass by, and he'd catch plenty of fish in those spots.

Now I love fishing the "less likely" spots - they certainly get less pressure than the "proven" holes and runs. But even now, I'm still often amazed by fish who dart out of an unexpected lie, teaching me, all over again, not to dismiss ANY part of the stream.

The other lesson I took from your story was that of patience - I'd not have been likely to sit there for an hour waiting for the guys to move on...
Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Apr 21, 2009April 21st, 2009, 8:50 am EDT
Yeah, I hate it when someone is in "my" spot. But those have been some of the best days, forcing me out of old ruts into productive new lanes.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Lagrangeville, NY

Posts: 119
Patcrisci on Apr 21, 2009April 21st, 2009, 11:06 am EDT
Flatstick, you are right. Less likely looking spots can be productive, especially on hard fished water. The fish in these spots are subjected to far less wading traffic and see fewer artificial flies than other fish. Sometimes you just get stuck in a rut and stick to tried and true water and proven flies. It took a couple of other fisherman to get me to see what I was doing and to break my habit of fishing familiar water.
Pat Crisci
Lagrangeville, NY

Posts: 119
Patcrisci on Apr 21, 2009April 21st, 2009, 11:08 am EDT
Exactly, Louis. A blessing in disguise. Now if i can just find the time to get out fishing... Maybe this week. I hear that Hendricksons are starting to show in the Catskill drainage. Has anyone been there recently?
Pat Crisci
Southern calif.

Posts: 45
Hellgramite on Apr 21, 2009April 21st, 2009, 1:52 pm EDT
When I was a kid most of my Trout fishing was done on camping trips in the sierras.We would always hike about 2-3 miles along the streams this way we new we were fishing where very few would go.It seems that human nature tells us to do what uses less energy.I only started fishing the common places because of the amount of time I had.But even when fishing those places I have always hiked the stream and have done very well.I don't understand people that crowd one out or set up next to where I am fishing.When this happens I take a hike.Yes there are fish in all areas of the stream,and I find it more fun to seek out the fish instead of going to the same old hole.In fact there are streams that I wont even wet a line until I have hiked at least a mile up or down stream so as to get in where most people will not go.Then I fish that water at the end of the day on my way back.

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