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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.
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.

Dorsal view of a Stenacron interpunctatum (Heptageniidae) (Light Cahill) Mayfly Nymph from the Marengo River in Wisconsin
Chadwick
Posts: 1
Chadwick on Jul 1, 2009July 1st, 2009, 12:19 pm EDT
I would like to know the best way to present the nymph and in which section of the river. Should they be dead drifted mid riffle, swung through tail out ect.
GONZO
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
GONZO on Jul 2, 2009July 2nd, 2009, 11:12 am EDT
Hi Chadwick,

Although heptageniids can swim, they generally do it out of the current. If you were to rate the swimming ability of mayfly nymphs, Isonychia would be Michael Phelps, and most heptageniids would be something like the fat kid in remedial gym class. When you watch heptageniids like Stenacron, Maccaffertium, or Stenonema in aquaria, they often try to cling to airstones or, in the absence of stones or other debris, to each other. However, when they get caught in the turbulence created by the airstone without first getting a good grip, they usually freeze and drift in a kitelike manner until they are free of the current. Then they might swim around awkwardly until they regain a foothold on something.

So, clinger nymph imitations presented in stronger current should usually be dead-drifted with at most an occasional feeble twitch. A gentle twitching lift or swing would be imitative as the nymph moves into emergence sites near edges, eddies, or slack areas around boulders.

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