Header image
Enter a name
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.

Kennebago has attached this picture to aid in identification. The message is below.
Name this mayfly
Kennebago
Kennebago's profile picture
Kennebago Maine

Posts: 2
Kennebago on Jan 7, 2012January 7th, 2012, 7:50 am EST
I've been told this could be a brown drake or a green drake.....any help on the correct identification please?
Fish Kennebago, you'll be glad you did.
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jan 7, 2012January 7th, 2012, 10:30 am EST
Hi Kennebago -

Welcome to the forum!

The insect in your photo is a Hexagenia (probably limbata) male imago (spinner), usually referred to as "Hex" in current fly fishing journalism. Besides Hex, the most used common names seem to be Great Yellow Drake (in regions w/out E. varia), Big Yellow May, and Michigan Caddis. Great Lead-winged Olive or Lead-winged Drake are also common for the darker winged non-yellowish strains of this species. There is a lot of regional variation in appearance and the males are smaller and often much darker than the females. This is the reason for so many different descriptive names for the same species.

Though they do belong to the same family of mayflies (Ephemeridae), the names Green Drake and Brown Drake refer to three tailed species in the different genus Ephemera. Tail counts in the adults aside, all the nymphs of this family have a similar appearance. They can be easily identified by their large size, heavily gilled abdomens and tusks.

BTW - Nice photo.

Best Regards
"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
Kennebago
Kennebago's profile picture
Kennebago Maine

Posts: 2
Kennebago on Jan 8, 2012January 8th, 2012, 1:41 am EST
Thanks very much for the clarification. I use an Olympus 790 Stylus camera now. Had drowned two earlier digital cameras on the river before wising up to purchase a waterproof camera. It has a very nice closeup setting.
Fish Kennebago, you'll be glad you did.
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jan 9, 2012January 9th, 2012, 10:30 pm EST
You're welcome. Your camera does a nice job with you at the controls. I look forward to more of your photos.

Click on this link to check out what I meant by regional variations. You wouldn't think it the same species, but it is. FWIW, if I fished your hatch, I'd call it a Lead-wing Drake. Don't like the name "Hex" and there's not much yellow or olive on your specimen.:)
http://www.troutnut.com/topic/745/Hex-in-NC
Also check out some of Jason's excellent photos under Hexagenia limbata in the hatch encyclopedia pages.

"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

Quick Reply

Related Discussions

Topic
Replies
Last Reply
3
Apr 19, 2013
by Sayfu
Troutnut.com is copyright © 2004-2024 (email Jason). privacy policy