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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.

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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Lastchance
Portage, PA

Posts: 437
Lastchance on Jun 27, 2009June 27th, 2009, 1:58 am EDT
There is a Little White May Fly Hatch (size 28) on the Little Juniata River in Pennsylvania. Question: What time of day does this happen and how do you identify them? Do they look like tiny pieces of white fuzz? I read on the site here that they occur during the trico hatch. I've seen these things floating through the air and they always remind me a white fuzz. Is that them?
Taxon
Taxon's profile picture
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Taxon on Jun 27, 2009June 27th, 2009, 3:53 am EDT
Hi Bruce-

Your description sounds like a Woolly Aphid.
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
GONZO
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
GONZO on Jun 27, 2009June 27th, 2009, 4:04 am EDT
Hi Bruce,

The Little J mayflies you mention are caenids (probably Caenis). They usually emerge in the evening in slow water, typically in areas with some combination of silt and weeds. The molt to the spinner stage occurs shortly after emergence.

They are distinctive little mayflies and easy to identify to family. Sometimes called "Broadwings" in Europe, they have broad whitish wings with a dark leading edge and few crossveins. They are also dipterous (no hindwings) and have three tails. The abdomen is usually whitish with a darker (brownish) thorax. Unlike most mayflies, they have the habit of resting with the wings outspread (spent) rather than upright.

The morning Tricos and the large evening White Flies (Ephoron) are usually much more important trout feeding opportunities at that time of the season, but carrying a few caenid imitations might be useful on occasion. From an imitation standpoint, I would recommend a synthetic Comparadun-style wing for both duns and spinners. Although the tails are longer in the spinner stage (especially the males), one pattern can suffice for both, and the Comparadun wing is easier to see than spent or semi-spent wings.

PS--Your "white fuzz" description made me think of pale midges, but I think Roger's suggestion is more likely.
Troutnut
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Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Jun 27, 2009June 27th, 2009, 8:02 am EDT
Taxon, thanks for that aphid link! I saw one of those a few years ago and was completely baffled by it. I hadn't found another one since, so I didn't get the chance to mess with it once I learned my bugs.

If they're really mayflies, Gonzo's probably right, but if you're sure about the little white fuzzball and not so sure about the mayfly part, I bet it's Taxon's bug.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Lastchance
Portage, PA

Posts: 437
Lastchance on Jun 28, 2009June 28th, 2009, 12:51 pm EDT
Caenis. I forgot about "The Angler's Curse."

Woolly Aphid. I never ceased to be amazed by you guys on this site. For years I've seen that Woolly Aphid and never had a clue.

Thanks,
Bruce
SlateDrake9
Potter County, PA

Posts: 144
SlateDrake9 on Aug 1, 2009August 1st, 2009, 10:15 am EDT
woolly aphid huh? I had a major "hatch" of these things in my back yard for a few weeks last summer. I though they were insects with some sort of fungus growing on them. Learn something new every day.
Fishing with bait is like swearing in church.
-- Slate Drake
Taxon
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Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Taxon on Aug 1, 2009August 1st, 2009, 11:58 am EDT
I though they were insects with some sort of fungus growing on them.


B.J.-

As I recall, it's actually secreted wax.
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com

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