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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 Zapada cinctipes (Nemouridae) (Tiny Winter Black) Stonefly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
Nymphs of this species were fairly common in late-winter kick net samples from the upper Yakima River. Although I could not find a key to species of Zapada nymphs, a revision of the Nemouridae family by Baumann (1975) includes the following helpful sentence: "2 cervical gills on each side of midline, 1 arising inside and 1 outside of lateral cervical sclerites, usually single and elongate, sometimes constricted but with 3 or 4 branches arising beyond gill base in Zapada cinctipes." This specimen clearly has the branches and is within the range of that species.
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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Northern Michigan

Posts: 30
Bcvizina on Aug 10, 2010August 10th, 2010, 4:42 am EDT
I was fishing a very well known brook trout river and found a fly sitting on the bank. It looks like a black wooly worm with rubber legs.

The pattern is a size 2 hook with black chenille body, with some sort of natural hair for the tail. It has 3 sets of big rubber legs that go out at right angles to the side of the body throughout the fly. It has grizzly hackle tied in tip first and palmered through the fly along with some gold oval ribbing.

I also thought it was interesting that there was a knot tied next to the barb and was what was left of a dropper formerly tied on this fly. I would imagine it was fished as a streamer, but maybe as a dry fly as well.

Does anyone know what this fly is or had any experience fishing with it. Also, does anyone set up any tandem streamer set ups?

Northern Michigan

Posts: 30
Bcvizina on Aug 10, 2010August 10th, 2010, 4:43 am EDT
The rubber legs are white.
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"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
GONZO on Aug 10, 2010August 10th, 2010, 5:10 am EDT
Sounds like a cross between a Woolly Worm and a Madsen Wet Skunk, Brent. I believe that Madsen's original (wet) fly had a black chenille body, white rubber legs, and white calftail for the tail. There is also a Madsen Dry Skunk, another popular Au Sable, MI pattern. Spence could probably tell you (a lot) more.
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Aug 10, 2010August 10th, 2010, 6:18 am EDT

Check out this site...It sounds like someones night fly and it's become more and more common for guys to fish "droppers" from the bend of the hook from a large attractor fly...I'm not so sure about this method and have heard Nemes wonder aloud as to whether or not this acts like a snagging rig...Fish noses up to attractor and gets foul hooked as he turns away by the terminal fly...I don't know the physics but have heard that it's better to leave a tag-end off your last tippett knot and tie the dry fly here...I don't know why this might change anything actually...Or if it even does.


A picture may be helpful for an actuall ID...The Madsen Skunk has a chenile body and usually rubber legs but the palmered hackle isn't a part of that fly...I'm not sure.

I have seen some large night flies that are tied with hackle tip spent wings and grizzly parlmered the length of the body...Who knows what the fish take it for other than something to eat...A large night moth? In the dark maybe a large drake like a Hex...

In the dark hours Brown trout, very large ones anyway, can act more like crocodiles than the dainty little sippers we think they are...They lose their table manners completely. Vinny Marinaro in his "In the Ring of the Rise" forgot the rise-form "Hot-Soup-Slurping-Hog-in-the-Middle-of-the-Night-Rise"...:) Once you have heard it you won't forget it! Whereas Vinny mentioned little air bubbles on the surface as the rise ring gently expands and floats away from the point-of-take...We look for big wet areas on the fronts of wooden docks and trout structure...What I'm saying is that if you get close enough to the feeding pig in the dark he may spash you enough where you might need a towel...:) Why must I get carried away like this?...Sorry Brent!

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Northern Michigan

Posts: 30
Bcvizina on Aug 10, 2010August 10th, 2010, 3:18 pm EDT
It is exactly a mix of the Wet Skunk and a Wooly worm, except the tail looks to be natural rabbit fur greased up, and has a gold rib.

I guess it was someone's creation, I had never seen it before and was just seeing if I could put a name on the unknown fly in my box.

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