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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.
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.


Posts: 62
Upnorth2 on Oct 13, 2006October 13th, 2006, 10:22 am EDT
Recover and hit the water. I've done very well this year, night lake runs and pike. Kings were about the same. I'm above Bayfield most of the time now. Sioux was hokding some browns below Big Rock when I stopped by. Nice coaster brook trout this year also to the east of Ashland.

Get better!!!! Good to hear from you up there. Onion is a mess. More signs and some fences out in the water now. Should be good with the rain and snow we are getting in smaller amounts than the flood last year. I'll be up this week when the crowds are gone.

Posts: 1
Jbird on Mar 15, 2007March 15th, 2007, 5:09 pm EDT
Fishing beads pegged with a tooth pick about 2" above an 8 or 10 scud hook works for me. I have caught dollies, trout and coho salmon this way. When the current is swift use a split shot above the bead of appropriate weight and distance to simulate the desired drift. Troutbeads has a a variety of sizes and colors to simulate eggs and to match color.

As mentioned earlier by a fellow alaskan the pegging of the bead no more than 2" from the hook will aid in catch and release without the guilty feeling.
Troutnut's profile picture
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Mar 15, 2007March 15th, 2007, 6:19 pm EDT
Hey Jbird,

Where are you in Alaska? I'm moving to Fairbanks in a few months and getting pretty excited about it.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
upstate, NY

Posts: 4
VERNO on Mar 19, 2007March 19th, 2007, 2:43 am EDT
We're talking about fishing right?.....isn't that the point...to catch fish?...yes we can go into the whole....."it's more than catching a fish" thing...but really here....If there is a size 18 BWO hatch...I don't throw a size 6 stonefly because I don't want to fish to the "easy picking" fish.....

When in doubt throw the eggs......just my opinion.
Mama said; Don't Go Near That River........
Selling My Craft: http://www.jsflyfishing.com/cgi-bin/category/31240
Milesburg, Pa

Posts: 24
Jlh42581 on Mar 28, 2007March 28th, 2007, 5:24 am EDT
You shouldnt fish eggs.... so i can have the stream to myself :)

Posts: 4
Ratgunner on Mar 28, 2007March 28th, 2007, 9:53 am EDT
Eggs are a natureal food in a fishes diet so I'm for it.Troutnut moving to Alaska WOW cant wait to see the photos you take.
Denver Colorado

Posts: 1
DavidAlanV on Feb 18, 2009February 18th, 2009, 3:08 pm EST
I feel your pain brother. I'm a guide in Colorado and I've always thought that the egg pattern was cheating. It's not a fly. We're FLY fisherman! If you use a egg pattern you might as well buy a jar of salmon eggs. It would be a lot cheaper per egg that's for sure, but it's not imitating a bug. However there are those days when you've tied on every BUG in your box and dangled them right on the nose of many prospective trout and nothing. You tie on a egg pattern and BAM! You can fish most any stream in Colorado with two patterns, the prince nymph and the egg pattern, and catch fish all year long. It has been a pattern that I know will produce and will always be in my box. However, I like to challenge myself before I resort to an egg. Besides, isn't that what fly fishing is about? Figure out what bugs the trout are feeding on, find a pattern and size that fools the fish. But, as a guide it's a must! Sometimes, the only way you'll get your client into a fish is to "empate en los huevos"

With all that said here's another one to think about,
"The Worm Pattern"?

Keep a tight line!
Troutnut's profile picture
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Feb 19, 2009February 19th, 2009, 8:25 am EST
I'm a guide in Colorado and I've always thought that the egg pattern was cheating. It's not a fly. We're FLY fisherman!

Well, if we're going to restrict our definition of "fly" to real insects, then technically the thing on the end of your line is not a fly, either. It's just a bunch of fur and feathers tied to a hook. ;)

Even if we allow for imitations of flies to count, provided they imitate real flies, then we run into problems with beetles and ants and many other insects and crustaceans that aren't flies. We also have to question mayflies, stoneflies, and caddisflies, which are not among the Dipteran "true flies."

I think it's better not to try to be too purist about it, and call everything in those little compartments in the fly shop a "fly."
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
JAD's profile picture
Alexandria Pa

Posts: 362
JAD on Feb 19, 2009February 19th, 2009, 9:14 am EST
Jason your only saying that because it 's true.
I Agree


They fasten red (crimson red) wool around a hook, and fix onto the wool two feathers which grow under a cock’s wattles, and which in colour are like wax.
Radcliffe's Fishing from the Earliest Times,
Falsifly's profile picture
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on Feb 21, 2009February 21st, 2009, 3:59 am EST
It was then, while I was going through one of my many fly boxes, I think for the second time, that I noticed an old salmon egg imitation, buried at the bottom of a mass of tangled flies. I hadn’t seen it in years. Many years ago, as a neophyte, I had used this despicable thing. It was on a private stretch of the Frying Pan from which I had wretched a twenty-seven inch Rainbow, my biggest fish to date. When I say “wretched” what I mean to say is; can you imagine catching the fish of a lifetime on a salmon egg imitation? It kind of takes the wind out of your sail doesn’t it? Well anyway, I thought I’d eliminated all trace of this incriminating evidence long ago. My worst fear was that one of my fishing buddies would spot this in my box; I may as well have been carrying a jar of the real stuff. Surely I would have been shunned, if not down right banished, by my fellow elitists. I grabbed my forceps and deftly plucked it from its place, reveling in the sweet-sour memory it produced.
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
Lagrangeville, NY

Posts: 119
Patcrisci on Feb 21, 2009February 21st, 2009, 12:48 pm EST
Jason, I couldn't agree more with your definition of a "fly." Remember the idea here is to fool fish with a "fly" to imitate trout food. That could mean anything from a water spider to a helgrammite, to an earthworm -- and of course any stage of an aquatic insect:0
Pat Crisci
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Feb 22, 2009February 22nd, 2009, 1:33 am EST
I do not believe that a trout will eat an egg pattern any more voraciously than any other fly. Therefore the comment about "gutting", in my opinion, is not an issue to worry about. As someone else stated the decision to use non traditional "flies" is more of a personal and asthetic nature and has nothing to do with what other people may think or say.

If the item tied to the end of your tippet meets the letter of the law for the body of water you are fishing than you should be able to fish it with a clear conscience. I always use egg patterns when fishing for Great Lakes steelhead or for PA stocked trout. However I don't like using them for wild trout - probably because it my mind they may provide me with an advantage and the quarry may eat them more readily than other, more traditional, flies. But that is my personal choice rather than worrying about what some one is preaching.

I hate bobbers but I don't go around berating guys for using them. I grew into nymphing when cane rods were common and fiberglass was the only other rod material. I prefer to nymph w/o an indicator and am confident I can catch as many, or more fish, than a guy standing near me using one. Again it is all a matter of your perception of a technique that will make you decide whether or not to employ it.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.

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