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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.

Case view of a Pycnopsyche guttifera (Limnephilidae) (Great Autumn Brown Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
It's only barely visible in one of my pictures, but I confirmed under the microscope that this one has a prosternal horn and the antennae are mid-way between the eyes and front of the head capsule.

I'm calling this one Pycnopsyche, but it's a bit perplexing. It seems to key definitively to at least Couplet 8 of the Key to Genera of Limnephilidae Larvae. That narrows it down to three genera, and the case seems wrong for the other two. The case looks right for Pycnopsyche, and it fits one of the key characteristics: "Abdominal sternum II without chloride epithelium and abdominal segment IX with only single seta on each side of dorsal sclerite." However, the characteristic "metanotal sa1 sclerites not fused, although often contiguous" does not seem to fit well. Those sclerites sure look fused to me, although I can make out a thin groove in the touching halves in the anterior half under the microscope. Perhaps this is a regional variation.

The only species of Pycnopsyche documented in Washington state is Pycnopsyche guttifera, and the colors and markings around the head of this specimen seem to match very well a specimen of that species from Massachusetts on Bugguide. So I am placing it in that species for now.

Whatever species this is, I photographed another specimen of seemingly the same species from the same spot a couple months later.
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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Report at a Glance

General RegionCentre County
Specific LocationWhere Louis sometimes fishes
Dates FishedMarch 08
Time of Day9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Fish CaughtWild brown trout - eight all on Walt's Worm or #18 BH Flashback PT.
Conditions & HatchesThought I'd see a bunch of fish rising to Baetis but was not so forunate.

Details and Discussion

Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Mar 8, 2010March 8th, 2010, 12:16 pm EST
Saw some bugs but maybe just fifty all day - looked to be about a #18. Never saw a single rise but talked to some guys who saw numerous fish rising. Creek is very low for early March - only 84 cfs. High sticked all day easy to get hung up even with no lead just BH's. Had to use one of them dadblasted Thingamabobbers to keep my fly from getting all gunked up.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Mar 10, 2010March 10th, 2010, 3:54 pm EST
Matt, I headed up today and there were a few fish rising in spots. Some said it was better last week, and others said it's just spotty. I think the hatch will actually become more consistent in a week or so.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Mar 10, 2010March 10th, 2010, 10:59 pm EST
How did you do? Do you agree the creek seemed very low?
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Mar 11, 2010March 11th, 2010, 2:01 pm EST
Hard to believe that with the melt we've been having the water is low. Perhaps the next 10 days of solid rain will change that. Man, I wish I could get out. Glad to see someone is...

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Mar 12, 2010March 12th, 2010, 2:13 pm EST
It had been low last week, then Monday or Tuesday it started to rise, probably due to the snowmelt Shawn mentions. By Wednesday it was up to typical levels, I think, or near. Then today when I went up it was up and a little stained. Each day I landed about 5 on olives and 2 on various nymphs.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Mar 13, 2010March 13th, 2010, 11:06 pm EST
This morning it is up to 900 cfs.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Mar 14, 2010March 14th, 2010, 1:51 am EST
Yikes. Maybe I won't go fishing today, after all. I don't mind a little color in the water, but I also don't intend to die on one of the more demure streams around. Thanks for the heads-up.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Mar 14, 2010March 14th, 2010, 6:23 am EDT
If water is down to 200 cfs by early morning Thursday I'll likely be on the road 7:00 a.m.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.

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