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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 Amphizoa (Amphizoidae) Beetle Larva from Sears Creek in Washington
This is the first of it's family I've seen, collected from a tiny, fishless stream in the Cascades. The three species of this genus all live in the Northwest and are predators that primarily eat stonefly nymphs Merritt R.W., Cummins, K.W., and Berg, M.B. (2019).
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.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jun 7, 2011June 7th, 2011, 8:10 am EDT
Talk about a diverse fishery! Yesterday I went back to [REDACTED] - if you want to know where this is come visit me and I'll show you - and fished the nice pool below the old dam again with Woolly Buggers and a copper & brown KBF. This time I caught a feisty 11" brown trout, plus three pumpkinseeds and a rock bass! The sunfish weren't all that small either, and the rock bass filled my hand and put up a pretty good fight. But the brownie outdid them all, zipped around the pool several times and took a while to wear out before I could bring it to the net and release it. I also saw some suckers - thought they were trout but couldn't get them to pay attention to anything I threw at them, then discovered their true identity - guess that makes me a SUCKER too! In addition, creek chubs (a ubiquitous fish if ever there was one) and brook lampreys (not parasitic, the adults are just like mayflies in that they do not feed but only live to reproduce). As far as things above the water, there were numerous tiger swallowtail butterflies, some kind of hawk took a quick look at me from a dead tree, and I saw four turtles of three different species (painted, Blanding's, and wood) on the way home!

Does anyone else have such a "variety pack" type of fishery? I suspect the pool below the old dam provides habitat for fish that wouldn't be there otherwise, especially as the stream well above the dam looks like pure trout waters. But I'm beginning to wonder what I'm gonna pull outta there next...

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Motrout's profile picture
Posts: 319
Motrout on Jun 7, 2011June 7th, 2011, 8:25 am EDT
That sounds like a great creek. Here in the Ozarks we are blessed with quite a few fisheries with nice variety- a pretty fair number of our trout waters also hold smallmouth and largemouth bass, along with panfish. There is one pool I am thinking of in particular on the Current River...It's further down than most people think of being good trout water, but where one spring dumps into the river, you can catch everything from rainbow and brown trout to smallmouth and largemouth bass, as well as pickerel, bluegill, rock bass, and who knows what all else. Some folks say they have even caught walleye from this stretch of river, although that is not something I have been able to confirm based on personal experience. It's a lot of fun having no idea what is going to take your fly on any given cast.

And then there is this one little river in the Adirondack foothills that I have come to know and love over my several trips there. This stretch of stream connects two very large natural lakes, but the river itself is actually pretty small, more like a large creek than a full blown river. The stream flows right through a town, and it's main feature is a good sized waterfall. Above the waterfall, the stream is slow moving, placid, and has very nice fishing for smallmouth bass, rock bass, and the usual assortment of panfish. Below the falls it is fast, rocky pocket water. There are still smallmouth bass, but the river also fishes well for a great variety of coldwater species. Rainbows, the occasional brown or brookie, and even landlocked salmon that run up the river in season. And the best part is that this stream hides in plain sight. It flows right through one of the Adirondack's good sized towns, but no one seems to see it as a serious fishery. I have heard that it gets fished some during the landlocked salmon run, but it pretty much gets left alone the rest of the year. I only came upon it when I crossed the stream while driving into the town to pick up some groceries. I pulled over to fish it on a whim, and in doing so discovered a very nice river that most people completely ignore.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jun 7, 2011June 7th, 2011, 8:51 am EDT
Those both sound like great spots, MO. I myself like to catch a variety - not that I would ever get tired of catching brook trout but it's nice to mix it up with browns and rainbows if they can all "get along" and share a stream. And that spot in the Adirondacks reminds me of the pond in Texas where I caught my biggest-ever bass. It's located in one of the most popular natural areas in the state - Enchanted Rock - and one of the park people even told me that it was stocked, but nobody fished it! Everyone just considered it a swimming hole and they didn't even know there were any fish in it, although all you had to do was stand on the shore and either watch them swim by or listen and hear one jump about every 30 seconds...oh well, just more dumb fish and fun for us!

I've never caught a chain pickerel - northern pike (even a few on flies) but never a chain. I did visit a pond in Georgia where the world record chain pickerel (9 lbs.+) was caught, but didn't get to fish there...sigh...

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...

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