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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 Setvena wahkeena (Perlodidae) (Wahkeena Springfly) Stonefly Nymph from Mystery Creek #199 in Washington
As far as I can tell, this species has only previously been reported from one site in Oregon along the Columbia gorge. However, the key characteristics are fairly unmistakable in all except for one minor detail:
— 4 small yellow spots on frons visible in photos
— Narrow occipital spinule row curves forward (but doesn’t quite meet on stem of ecdysial suture, as it's supposed to in this species)
— Short spinules on anterior margin of front legs
— Short rposterior row of blunt spinules on abdominal tergae, rather than elongated spinules dorsally
I caught several of these mature nymphs in the fishless, tiny headwaters of a creek high in the Wenatchee Mountains.
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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Pryal74 has attached these 4 pictures. The message is below.
Pryal74
Pryal74's profile picture
Escanaba, MI

Posts: 168
Pryal74 on Mar 8, 2011March 8th, 2011, 9:00 am EST
3/5/2011 - 3/7/2011 Chrome and gold, the colors of March!

Weather changes from March 5th started to slow fishing, but with temperatures back on the rise, fishing has picked back up. On 3/5/2011, fished the Manistique in brutal conditions. High winds and a wind chill of ten degrees made fishing less than tolerable. I landed a radiant, chrome hen Steelhead that weighed about 5 pounds. The only shimmering moment on a blustery, gloomy day. On 3/6/2011, I fished with local angler Kyle McClelland. Kyle Landed the only fish of the day. He brought in a 6 pound male Steelhead. Kyle had never caught a winter Steelie, but catches them regularly during the spring and fall seasons. Chris G. made it to the river on 3/7/2011 before I arrived. He had some clients out of Marquette come into the shop to order flies and get some advice about the fishery. I met up with Chris around 2 pm. Fishing appeared to be taking back off. I lost a brute of a Steelhead when I first arrived and lost another shortly after. I did manage to wrestle two dandy Brown Trout into the net. The first being around 7 pounds and the second about 3 pounds. All fish were taken on the same size 8 Clown Egg pattern, which we have been selling quite well.
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Mar 8, 2011March 8th, 2011, 12:34 pm EST
Man, that top fish is BRIGHT! And that second brown is just beautiful. Well done again Sir!

My boss is telling me I really need to get out. Tonight he took me out to dinner at the local pub and brought his steelhead nymph box - he does not tie but bought the patterns locally. Big dark stoneflies, "Spring Wigglers" in a variety of colors, a few Copper Johns, beadhead Woolly Buggers, etc. I need to show him my own steelhead boxes to see what he thinks, and get out the tying gear. AND get out and do it, except I am cranking away at the microscope trying to finish up my current entomology project and it's either long hours or I'm exhausted afterwards...Hard to tie flies after picking at tiny bug specimens all day! I'm gonna "get-er-done" and hit the river by next week!! DANG IT!!!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Pryal74
Pryal74's profile picture
Escanaba, MI

Posts: 168
Pryal74 on Mar 8, 2011March 8th, 2011, 4:10 pm EST
if you find a promising run, PLEASE try an egg pattern. Give it a hundred drifts and if you do not get any hits, feel free to pack it in. Honestly, I haven't really used much else besides a dark pink Estaz Egg.

It sucks to see you so busy. I'm on spring break and spending it with my daughter but when she is at school, I will be wielding a fly rod. Thanks again for the comments JMD. I probably only have 40 flies left in my Steelhead box. I have been giving these couple of local kids some pointers and FLIES. If you do hit the river please let me know how you do!

-Jim
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Mar 11, 2011March 11th, 2011, 5:07 pm EST
FIIIIIIINALLY DONE WITH THE BUGS!!! Man, I feel like Quasimoto from The Hunchback of Notre Dame! Hopefully within a few days my vertebrae will be back in alignment, then I can make the ten-minute walk through the SLOP to the river and throw those flies! An old friend from this area called me today and related a story about a Michigan Master Angler Award-sized brown trout he caught from the hole at the end of that 10-minute walk...I told him to dig out his fishing gear and come over for a visit, then we'll go fish down there. I do have some egg patterns in varous colors, a few nymphs, some really gaudy Woolly Buggers in sizes 2 and 4, and a wide variety of my KBFs in various colors and configurations. Plus some pike flies! Who knows what they will go for but there's only one way to find out...I'll be sure to take the camera for the obligatory fatboy photos if we are successfull!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Pryal74
Pryal74's profile picture
Escanaba, MI

Posts: 168
Pryal74 on Mar 15, 2011March 15th, 2011, 4:49 pm EDT
Well, I hope you got your camera out and got some photos. =) we have been having incredible weather here lately and fantastic fishing as well. I was joking with friends about a great weight loss plan. Step one, go fly fishing for 3 days straight. Step two, don't eat while you fish. Step three, fish your heart out all day. I lost 8 pounds over 3 days fishing. I didn't even notice until I hit the scale in the bathroom. I also am probably the only guy living in the U.P. with sunburn on my face. So Jonathon, PLEASE tell me you got to wet a fly this weekend.

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