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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.
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This topic is about the Hellgrammite Genus Corydalus

The largest and most well-known hellgrammites belong to this genus, although in my collecting experiences the fishflies of Nigronia seem to be more common in trout streams.

Example specimen

Sprattoo
Buxton, Maine

Posts: 1
Sprattoo on Jun 5, 2007June 5th, 2007, 7:07 am EDT
The First time I saw one of these things was as a kid. We were playing around a woolen mill in old Kezar Falls Maine.
Turning over a damp old pile of wool revealed a number of adult Hellgrammites. At the age of 12 or 13 these were the scariest things I had ever seen.... still very intimidating. I remember trying to get them to bite sticks and my shoe... which they happily did once I started poking them.

Now at the age of thirty *mumble mumble* This insect has come into my life again.
After opening my little tackleshop and selling flies and gear for about a year, it was an embarrassment that I couldn't catch the Browns surfacing all over the place down on the river.
I finally got one by accident, cut open its belly and found... thats right... A dobsonfly nymph.
Although I believe they were really feeding on dragonfly or damselfly nymphs (as they were chasing and feeding near the top)
The story of my trouts belly told a different tale.

Some time at the tying bench, with a few pieces of yarn and marabou and now those old browns are no problem at all!
www.sprattoo.com
Wiflyfisher
Wiflyfisher's profile picture
Wisconsin

Posts: 622
Wiflyfisher on Jun 5, 2007June 5th, 2007, 11:40 am EDT
I have witnessed at certain times of the year on certain stretches of some of my favorite Midwestern waters that trout are keyed in on hellgrammites. A good imitation at those times can get some awesome strikes from big trout. I am always amazed at these times how many hellgrammites the trout can inhale and still want more!

My own conclusion was at certain times the hellgrammites must expose themselves and get caught in the currents. Trout hiding behind rocks and alongside current tongues are gorging themselves on these large, helpless drifting morsels. A sudden dash and strike to a weighted marabou wooly bugger can really make the pain of casting these things worth while.

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