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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.

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 RegionMo Ozarks
Specific Locationlost creek (of course not the real name)
Dates Fished5/4/11
Time of Dayevening
Fish Caughtwild rainbows
Conditions & Hatcheshigh, slightly off color water
a few caddis coming off, few fish rising
air temp low 60s
didn't take water temp, but it was almost surely about 57 degrees (its a spring creek and the water temps don't change much)

Details and Discussion

Motrout's profile picture
Posts: 319
Motrout on May 4, 2011May 4th, 2011, 6:01 pm EDT
Today I was finally able to find a trout stream that was clear enough to fish, after a good long stretch where it seemed like all the flowing water in the state of Missouri was far too high and muddy to even think of fishing. I went to a very small spring creek that is the closest trout stream to my home. I often give reports on this stream, but I guess I've never really described it. I might as well do that now, without giving away any location info.

It's a little spring creek that starts on private and posted land, but about a half-mile downstream it flows into a state conservation area and becomes public water for the next three miles down to its junction with a fairly large warmwater river. It is a stream of many ankle deep riffles that you could jump across without much effort and small, deep pools mostly formed by deadfall in the stream. All the places that hold the best fish are the places that are about impossible to fish, which I suppose is pretty typical for a stream like this one. It hasn't been stocked in upwards of 50 years, but there is a thriving population of small rainbows with some really good fish in the deep, impenetrable holes, including a few larger than 20". Even though it is public and not too far from a large population center, it has a reputation for being such a difficult stream that you can often have all three miles of public water to yourself even in the heart of the season. Not to mention that it is strikingly beautiful, and its valley has more wildflowers growing in it than any other area I can think of off hand.

Okay, now to the report. When I got there today, the water was off-color, but definitely fishable. This is normally a good dry fly creek, but today the water was just a little too high for that. The fishing was a lot easier than usual with the off-color water, which made the trout a lot less spooky than usual. Fishing from 5 PM to 7 P.M., I caught 8 or 10 wild rainbows, ranging from fingerlings on up to 12" all on a #18 beadhead pheasant tail nymph. It was a pretty nice day on an unassuming little creek that I have come to love, and some really pretty rainbows brought to hand as well. And it was also my first day on a trout stream for two weeks, so that made it a little sweeter. Hopefully the rain will stay away a little bit longer so the larger streams can become fishable, but we'll just have to see.

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

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on May 4, 2011May 4th, 2011, 11:14 pm EDT
Sounds like a fun little stream to fish! Glad you found somewhere fishable.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist

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