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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.
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 has attached these 4 pictures. The message is below.
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Nov 4, 2011November 4th, 2011, 3:57 pm EDT
Well, [REDACTED] Pond is closed for the season, and I'm missing the fishing there. But, that doesn't mean I can't go look! I hiked up the feeder creek today, and everywhere I came across gravel I saw brookies sitting on it! They usually bolted all over the place, hiding in nearby undercuts as I approached, but I managed to get close enough to a few spots to sneak some pictures of them in their magnificent spawning colors. It was tough, what with very skittish fish in very clear, shallow water, plus reflections on the surface and my not-terribly-sophisticated camera (Nikon Coolpix L14). But I did manage to capture a few good shots by just shooting like crazy and hoping for the best, so here they are. Enjoy!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Nov 4, 2011November 4th, 2011, 4:31 pm EDT
Nice pics ,Jon. [REDACTED] Pond looks like it has some good sized brookies. How big was the one in the photo, and how many were there?
"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
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Nov 4, 2011November 4th, 2011, 4:39 pm EDT
Kurt, I have caught them up to 12 1/2" this past year. The one in the photo was probably 9-10" at least. I saw lots of them, probably several dozen if not more, and lots of little guys 2-3" in places where there was no gravel and no spawners. I saw some below the dam in the tailwater creek as well. This place is just a brook trout factory! In the next few years they will be bigger too, as I'm told the pond was just rebuilt (re-impounded) last fall, about a year ago. The dam was originally removed to kill off a population of stunted perch. I have heard that in previous years 18-inchers were caught in there before the perch became a problem, so it has that potential. And it's within a half-hour of my house!

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

Posts: 479
Adirman on Nov 5, 2011November 5th, 2011, 12:49 am EDT
Very cool!! If you had to guess, how many did you see do you think?VERY glad to hear and see my absolute favorite trout doing so well!!
Sayfu
Posts: 560
Sayfu on Nov 5, 2011November 5th, 2011, 4:25 am EDT
Adirman..Not really trout..char to be as technical as a bug man can be. IN my state of Idaho they dislike them intensely in most places around the state...25 fish limits, and want to rid them. Must be the genetic integrity thing. I sure have enjoyed fishing for brookies in bigone years. Henry's Lake, about an hour plus from me, has some wall hangers in it..5 lb category brookies.
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Nov 5, 2011November 5th, 2011, 6:44 am EDT
Guys, if I had to guess, probably 80-100 of them altogether. They panicked when I approached, probably due to my bright red (Detroit Redwings) jacket - it's hunting season (birds & squirrels) around these parts and not safe to go tromping around in the woods unless you are wearing very bright, unnatural colors! So, it was hard to come up with an exact count, but there were LOTS of them. And, lots of little guys in between the spawning areas, meaning they are reproducing in there quite successfully.

Sayfu, I'm not surprised that they are not welcome in Idaho. They're not native there and can hybridize with bull trout (also a char), which I think are now listed under the Endangered Species Act in at least some places (also state listed?). Here in Michigan, they are our State Fish! With which, I couldn't agree more.

Jonathon

P.S. I added one more picture.
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Strmanglr
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Posts: 156
Strmanglr on Nov 7, 2011November 7th, 2011, 7:09 am EST
Careful of what you post Jmd, I'm on google maps right now. lol ;)
Jesse
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Posts: 378
Jesse on Nov 7, 2011November 7th, 2011, 3:15 pm EST
Some damn cool shit!
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
http://www.filingoflyfishing.com
Jesse
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Posts: 378
Jesse on Nov 7, 2011November 7th, 2011, 3:15 pm EST
Nice shots!
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
http://www.filingoflyfishing.com
TNEAL
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 278
TNEAL on Nov 7, 2011November 7th, 2011, 3:25 pm EST
Brook trout pod up in the Fall. I remember one afternoon on the North Branch of Michigan's AuSable when little BWO's were hatching... I stood in one spot and took about 15 brookies from an area about 20' x 10'. After a bit, I walked below the spot and came up from the downstream end.... it looked like fish in a hatchery pond scurrying about as they noticed my approach. Within a few minutes, they were back rising to the hatch... must have been close to 100 brookies in that small area.
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Nov 7, 2011November 7th, 2011, 4:13 pm EST
Strmanglr, why do you think I refer to it as [REDACTED] Pond?? There are loads of little streams full of brookies in this area...almost all of which are now CLOSED FOR THE SEASON. Get caught by the MDNR and they'll promptly relieve you of your (expensive) fly tackle...

;oD

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

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Nov 7, 2011November 7th, 2011, 4:32 pm EST
Tim,

Blue-Winged Olives, Brook Trout in the North Branch? No way!? Where did you ever hear that?

Spence

I've had similar experiences, in a similar river, with a similar species of trout, when there were Tricos about...;)
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Strmanglr
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Posts: 156
Strmanglr on Nov 8, 2011November 8th, 2011, 5:15 am EST
I don't ever break the law to fish. It's just not worth it, there are plenty of places to fish legally.

I've been in the area, and certainly fished the Au Sable and a few tribs.
TNEAL
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 278
TNEAL on Nov 8, 2011November 8th, 2011, 8:16 am EST
Yeah.... I used to love to fish that hatch on the North Branch. With the right weather conditions, nymphing through the entire hatch produced best... as many as 35-40 in an afternoon...
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Nov 8, 2011November 8th, 2011, 9:58 am EST
Yeah.... I used to love to fish that hatch on the North Branch. With the right weather conditions, nymphing through the entire hatch produced best... as many as 35-40 in an afternoon...


Tim,

What a strange surreal environment though up there...Where else can you fish over Trico scarving pods of fish on some summer morning and watch war planes chasing each other in mock fire-fights?! Or diving down and firing at targets on the ground...

One night, around mid-night, I sat on the dock at Bud's Cabins drinking a cold beer after a wonderful day of fishing. It was a Saturday night and I was listening to the country band across the river at the Riverside Tavern in Lovell's. To the north and northwest of me WWIII was going on with machine gun fire and flares that hung in the air for what seemed like forever. This went on quite a ways in to the night...The first time I ever saw the flares, I was driving up the highway below town and thought I was finally seeing a UFO...:)

One gray rainy afternoon I was below Jackson Hole and kept hearing a strange sound I couldn't quite place...I looked up from under my rain coats hood to see a line of helicopters hovering above my head just above tree level...I thought I was in Vietnam! or maybe the FBI had finally caught up with me...;)

Spence

Jonathon...Didn't mean to take this off-course...Sorry! There is nothing in my mind prettier than a fall male Brookie. I raised fancy guppies as a kid and think that Salvelinus fontinalis would give them a run for the money any day! Hook one in the fall and they seem pissed and so full of spit and vinegar! Fly fishings Holy Grail, if you ask me...

Your photos are soothing to this old Michigander. Even though I know that opening day is months away, and they remind me also why we actually have a fishing season. So they can be left alone a bit to spawn...Just think how many little feeder creeks are loaded with spawning Brooks this time of year in Michigan! Puts a smile on the face and will probably send me to the basement tonight to wrap some fur and feathers to a hook! :) I remember my grandfather talking about our good old Speckled Trout...Hell! Maybe when I'm through tying I'll reach over for "Trout Madness" sitting on the bookshelf and take a little trip back to Frenchmen's Pond...
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Nov 9, 2011November 9th, 2011, 8:36 am EST
Spence, no problem about taking this thread "off-topic" - ALL Troutnut threads meander off-topic sooner or later! And yes, I loved watching these fish, and certainly there are lots of little creeks around here right now that are teeming with them, many of which I need to explore next spring and summer. I found one that I can ride my mountain bike to! On a good long road ride (as opposed to doing the dirt two-tracks that run south of the Wurtsmith airstrip) north of my place into the Pine River drainage I came across one particular little creek that crossed roads several times through culverts, and at one particular culvert saw a bunch of dark-backed fish emerge from beneath the road. Trout or just chubs, I wondered? Getting a better look at them, I could see that their pelvic and pectoral fins were edged in black and white. BROOKIES!!!

And I certainly agree with you that brook trout are among the loveliest fish we have anywhere on the planet. Those bright pink spots edged by sky-blue halos, their crimson bellies, the fins with their black and white edges, the worm-like marking on their moss-green backs, and the iridescent purple wash over it all...they give any tropical or coral reef fish a run for their money, IMHO. And I think I've caught more this year than ever before in my life, what with [REDACTED] Pond and the Pine River - and BIGGER ones too! Come visit me next year and I'll take you to these places so you can enjoy them too - I can even borrow a kayak for you from a neighbor for the pond fishing!

To go a bit off-topic myself, your war games story reminded me of a night during my second summer at Fort Knox, KY, when I was in ROTC at U of M. I woke sometime in the wee hours to use the latrine (that's the bathroom for those of you who haven't been in the Army) and as I was trying to fall back to sleep I could hear the sounds of M-60 tanks on night exercises off in the distance. BUP-BUP-BUP-BUP-BUP...OK, that sounds like the .50-caliber...bup-bup-bup-bup-bup-bup-bup-bup...that must be the 7.62 mm coax...BOOM! BOOM!...105 mm main guns going off...and I could make out the sounds of tracks clanking and diesel engines grinding...

Then there was our Basic Training Bivouac, also at Knox, when we marched 22 miles with full packs (50 pounds) to set up our pup tents (good old olive drab canvas, 2-man because each of us got a half) right next to a tank gunnery range! Imagine just being ready to fall asleep after running around like crazy in chemical warfare suits and having drill seargants screaming at you all day long, and suddenly through the thick canvas walls of your tent you see what looks like a lightning flash and then BOOOOM!!!! All the singing insects shut completely up, and just when they were all starting to sing at full volume again...FLASH...BOOOOOM!!! Believe it or not, we all fell asleep eventually - we were just THAT TIRED...

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

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