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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 Grammotaulius betteni (Limnephilidae) (Northern Caddisfly) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This is a striking caddis larva with an interesting color pattern on the head. Here are some characteristics I was able to see under the microscope, but could not easily expose for a picture:
- The prosternal horn is present.
- The mandible is clearly toothed, not formed into a uniform scraper blade.
- The seems to be only 2 major setae on the ventral edge of the hind femur.
- Chloride epithelia seem to be absent from the dorsal side of any abdominal segments.
Based on these characteristics and the ones more easily visible from the pictures, this seems to be Grammotaulius. The key's description of the case is spot-on: "Case cylindrical, made of longitudinally arranged sedge or similar leaves," as is the description of the markings on the head, "Dorsum of head light brownish yellow with numerous discrete, small, dark spots." The spot pattern on the head is a very good match to figure 19.312 of Merritt R.W., Cummins, K.W., and Berg, M.B. (2019). The species ID is based on Grammotaulius betteni being the only species of this genus known in Washington state.
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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Ericd
Mpls, MN

Posts: 113
Ericd on Sep 18, 2009September 18th, 2009, 3:05 pm EDT
I've been thinking all week how to share my first experience of trout bumming for an entire week and I figured I'd just sit down and write the highlights and lowlights, which are actually highlights incognito.

My plan was to stay a night with the family a couple hours North of Mpls and then go further North from there and fish and camp all along the South Shore of Superior and work my way down until... Nine days off. I was excited to spend time on the Bois Brule and fish The River of Presidents for the first time, so that's where it began. The river was quiet save for all the canoes and kayaks coming down-stream. Expecting fly-fishermen and seeing only two others all week, I was a spectacle. One lady sat on a log and I think she was drawing me. My very first Rainbows on the fly were caught that first day. I didn't read until after departure for another stream that it's rare to catch Rainbows larger than 9" below County 2 and I only ventured North of 2 once finding another Rainbow of about 10." I was not complaining. The Brule is probably the most gorgeous stream I've fished.

"The big one" was missed on the Namekagon. Fantastic river, although it caused the most frustration, even before the miss, because I had been fishing for three days, including one day crawling through thick brush dropping my fly into the tiniest brook trout stream you could imagine. My arm was sore, my cast and presentation was very sloppy and most casts resulted in my fly slapping so hard on the surface that I think I was scaring deer. Also, if anyone has waded that river, Jason probably has, it has the friggin' slickest rocks in the friggin' world.
Fishing all day every day not caring to take the time to really cook or clean, brats and trail-mix were pretty much all that was consumed and I wore the same shorts every day. One night I drank a lot of beer. It could be because I was in a very remote walk-in site off the road that was actually for canoeing. Long walk with gear, plus a twelve pack. The fire stayed high and Dwight Yoakam loud. I was seriously scared but I was trout bumming and had to endure somehow. Most of my food went to waste and I thought I might have to throw away some articles of clothing. You really do get what you pay for when it comes to certain things and those shorts only needed one wash.
After 7 days, seven streams, three species of trout (char) I missed my family too much to stay till the end.

What was learned from a week of fly fishing for trout all alone? I've been trying to sum it up. Trying new streams is essential (I think I found the best Brook Trout stream in the Midwest*). You can survive on very little doing what you love for a mere 7 days, although I did spend about $60 at the fly shop in Hayward. As fantastic as breathable waders are, never forget to bring your winter waders because it really sucks trying to get into and out of wet, breathable waders 3-4 times a day!!! It might take an entire week of fishing all day every day, but learning to fish nymphs is worth it. There's gotta be more. You might find me all alone hunting trout the week of Labor Day every year forever.
Thanks for the forum and letting me share my experience. I hope it's readable.

Thanks,
eric


For the *:
This stream is very close to my best fishing buddy's cabin and I knew he knew nothing about it. I decided to tell him that I found a good one and he made me feel elitist by not letting him know where, so I told him in haste. He doesn't practice catch and release. I didn't keep any trout all week. I feel like I should apologize to the catch and release community and even to the trout of this stream. You know what they say about hindsight.
Teddyp
North Carolina

Posts: 18
Teddyp on Sep 19, 2009September 19th, 2009, 10:36 am EDT
Nice report, sounds like fun! I have to keep my trout bumming to the weekends only.
Ted

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