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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.

Lateral view of a Clostoeca disjuncta (Limnephilidae) (Northern Caddisfly) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This one was surprisingly straightforward to identify. The lack of a sclerite at the base of the lateral hump narrows the field quite a bit, and the other options followed fairly obvious characteristics to Clostoeca, which only has one species, Clostoeca disjuncta.
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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This topic is about the Caddisfly Genus Banksiola

This is a famous lake-dwelling genus about which I have not found much information.
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jan 14, 2011January 14th, 2011, 8:55 am EST
My understanding is the two most important species are B. selina (East) and B. crotchi (West). Supposedly of minor importance in the East but very important in certain areas of the West. Where they do occur they seem to be very abundant. Current thought in entomological circles is that selina is now synonymous with crotchi.

It's far and away the most important large stillwater caddis I've come across because of its hatching behavior. Unlike other large lake dwelling caddis I've observed, they seem to exhibit all three traits that make them valuable to anglers. It's activity is diurnal, they emerge in open water, and they do this synchronized in large numbers over several hours. It gets even better! They don't fly off but scamper across the surface until they reach shore. This trip may cover a distance covered in yards not feet (once watched one go an estimated 50 yds into shore before I lost site, hoping to see a big rise that never happened...

The best fishing is on soft evenings. Use stiff tippets and any number of green bodied deer hair winged dries in the appropriate size. Spot casting to rises or attempts to lead them usually proves futile as the fish are usually covering water pretty fast. What works for me is to cast fan fashion as far as is comfortable, stick the rod under the casting arm and strip back with both hands to avoid pauses in the retrieve while matching the speed of the natural. Hold the line delicately because the takes can be vicious! Experience has shown the fish are more selective to the appropriate motion than differentiation size or even color of pattern. Best are those designed to skate leaving the proper "V" wake and that float well.

For reasons unknown (maybe due to atmospherics messing with a clean emergence?) they will sometimes swim around in a circle whirligig fashion. On evenings when this behavior predominates, the pupa are a more consistent bet throughout the hatch, either swam shallow with a strip retrieve or raised from the bottom using a long tippet. Hard to beat the traditional Carey Special in the appropriate color for this. Unless of course, somebody can come up with a way to make their dry fly swim around in circles.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
PaulRoberts
PaulRoberts's profile picture
Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Jan 14, 2011January 14th, 2011, 9:01 am EST
Curious... I've used the underhand strip for stripers and blues in saltwater. Never needed the rod for hookups. Always wondered if this would work for stillwater trout, offering better feel on the strike -esp a ways out. Do you use the rod on the hookset, or just let the line come taut in your fingers?
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jan 17, 2011January 17th, 2011, 12:11 pm EST
Hi Paul,

Using the rod for the hook set is impossible with this method, but that doesn't matter because the fish hook themselves. Frankly, a bigger concern is the fish breaking you off until you can get your act together. Getting control of the fish and transferring the rod probably looks a bit comical at first until a person gets the hang of it. Somehow the body just adapts, and the whole process smooths out with a little experience. The trick is to allow the line to slip through your fingers under light tension but without losing total control. It's hard to do this without holding the left hand steady and I have found it best not to use it to help establish rod control for that reason. The best way I can describe it is a simultaneous "kick up and in" of my right elbow that has the rod trapped against my body. This rides the rod up so I can grab/scoop it with the right hand. A fast running fish on the strike will often put the boot to the whole process, but what the heck - at least you have them on even if only for a little while... Very exciting, to say the least!:) Another thing I failed to mention is the need for a stripping board or basket. A wad of line hitting the stripping guide is another common problem. You're right about its saltwater use (that's where I learned it). The difference in application is it's not being used to attain additional speed. The standard strip method just isn't capable of the slow steady draw required to simulate Banksiola's movement. Another thing I should have mentioned is that I stay away from collar hackled flies and parachute designs. They just don't give that good "V" wake that flies designed to skate do.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
PaulRoberts
PaulRoberts's profile picture
Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Jan 17, 2011January 17th, 2011, 11:24 pm EST
Gotcha. Thanks.
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jan 22, 2011January 22nd, 2011, 1:11 pm EST
Any of you guys have experiences that differ from mine regarding Banksiola's importance? My experience with the other Phryganeids (large Limnephilids as well) in stillwaters is that they are either sparse, nocturnal, or both.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman

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