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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 Epeorus albertae (Heptageniidae) (Pink Lady) Mayfly Nymph from the East Fork Issaquah Creek in Washington
This specimen keys to the Epeorus albertae group of species. Of the five species in that group, the two known in Washington state are Epeorus albertae and Epeorus dulciana. Of the two, albertae has been collected in vastly more locations in Washington than dulciana, suggesting it is far more common. On that basis alone I'm tentatively putting this nymph in albertae, with the large caveat that there's no real information to rule out dulciana.
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 RegionMissouri Ozarks
Specific Locationa small spring creek
Dates Fished11/4
Time of Dayafternoon
Fish Caughtbrown trout, smallmouth bass
Conditions & Hatchesovercast, very few bugs (the few that were on the water were mostly baetis) low, clear water
Air temp 52 degrees
Water Temp 54 degrees

Details and Discussion

Motrout's profile picture
Posts: 319
Motrout on Nov 4, 2010November 4th, 2010, 12:11 pm EDT
I saw clouds in the sky this afternoon, and I knew that meant that I had to get to a stream quick and try to find a Blue Winged Olive hatch. I drove down to the lower stretches of a medium sized spring creek for the day. This stream is stocked with rainbows in the winter and spring, but they get cleaned out quickly. Browns are stocked once a year and have special regulations in place-there is a decent population of them year-round.

So it was brown trout I was in search of today in this little stream. I was hoping to see the bugs when I got there, but they were very sparse. Not a rising trout was to be seen. Still, there were some baetis on the water, so I started off with a little #20 dry fly. Nothing. Then I tried a #14 Parachute Adams with a #20 Olive Hare's Ear as a dropper-a rig that often works very well in this creek. I gave that a good try in both the riffles and the pools, but no takers. I had yet to see a trout, rising or otherwise. I was starting to wonder.

Finally, with no better ideas, I tied on a #4 streamer that I've tying lately. It's an ugly as sin squirrel tail job, but I thought I'd give it a try. A few casts after I tied this on, I got a vicious strike. I thought I had a real dandy of a trout on, but it was a smallmouth bass. A pretty good one though, at 16". It wasn't the biggest surprise in the world, as this creek does flow into a warmwater river, but definitely not what I was expecting.

Heartened by that, I kept fishing the streamer. Finally I did hook up with a brown trout-not a big one, but a feisty 12 inch fish. It was a very pretty fish, all colored up for spawning. I decided to end on that note, and headed back to the truck. By this point it would be too late for the afternoon Olive hatch I was hoping to hit anyway.

In all, it was a nice afternoon. But it sure has been a tough fall for the Blue Winged Olives. I'm still hoping to hit it at least once-they are calling for rain next week, and I'll be on the water when it happens. The days they are predicting rain coincides with a trip to a river with a very good Olive hatch, so we'll see.

"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach

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