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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.

Ventral view of a Hydropsyche (Hydropsychidae) (Spotted Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
With a bit of help from the microscope, this specimen keys clearly and unsurprisingly to Hydropsyche.
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.

Lastchance
Portage, PA

Posts: 437
Lastchance on Apr 28, 2013April 28th, 2013, 5:48 am EDT
This question is about a local river, but it can apply to all rivers.
I was fishing the Little J on Friday and Saturday. There were what I thought Grannoms, because they looked just like them, flying around all day. I stopped in at the local fly shop and was told the Grannom hatch was over and what I was seeing was a Black Caddis hatch. I fished a gray hackle and brown hackle peacock wet both days and had a blast. Can anyone expand on this Black Caddis? I can't believe I knew nothing of this hatch. It looks exactly like a Grannom.
Educate me, please.
Bruce
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Apr 28, 2013April 28th, 2013, 6:14 am EDT
Hi Bruce. I have the same question going in another thread. You and I are getting information from the same source, I believe, Spruce Creek Outfitters. They have the size 16 "black caddis" listed in their hatch chart online. See the recent long "Grannoms" thread (47 posts right now) for what's been said so far.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Apr 28, 2013April 28th, 2013, 8:46 am EDT
Educate me, please.


Bruce...Don't you think that there may be more than just one caddis in your beloved Little J? :)

I don't buy in to the "hatch" being over...Maybe it's post peak, but that little bug will continue to trickle out for sometime...It's not even May yet.
"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
Lastchance
Portage, PA

Posts: 437
Lastchance on Apr 28, 2013April 28th, 2013, 1:08 pm EDT
Yes, Louis, Spruce Creek Outfitters. I felt dumb when he told me that. He sure knows more than I do about the Little J hatches, too. All I know is that there were tons of them.

Hey Spence! Yep, there is more than one caddis on The J. But, cripes, it looked exactly like a Grannom. That's what has me confused. Like you said, there are still a few trickling off, but how can I tell the difference?

Bruce
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Apr 28, 2013April 28th, 2013, 1:30 pm EDT
Bruce,

It looks like a brachycentrid (Grannom) because that's probably what it is. Based on the time of year and in the numbers you mentioned, that would have been my guess even without a description. The other thread that Louis mentioned has the explanation, but finding it in over 40 posts is burdensome at this point. It's probably the Grannom species Brachycentrus nigrosoma (Little Black Grannom), but the possibility of them being male swarms of the larger species is another explanation as they often run two sizes smaller than the females and can be dark as well. The males are often seen hanging around days after they've done their business with the females that may have already finished theirs. Out here they are rarely important to anglers as I believe they usually expire terrestrially (though they do go back to drink). Did you see any on the water?
"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
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Apr 28, 2013April 28th, 2013, 2:32 pm EDT
but how can I tell the difference?


You grab one as it flies by and take a look at it. :) I carry a small ruler and measure them, and jot it down in your streamside journal, and next season you'll be prepared. Mark down wing color, body color, hook size...etc. Maybe take one home in a small jar and compare it to the bugs in Thomas Ames' book, "Caddisflies".

Has anyone mentioned Apatania incerta? Early-smoky winged sedge...That is a dark winged 18/20 that may be flying around out there...Or Glossosoma nigrior, 16/18...There could be a few caddis around that unless you nab one or two and take a peek, may look the same on the wing...

Take your favorite Grannom pattern, Elk Hair, X-Caddis, etc and tie them in a few different sizes...You could have a dark winged caddis out there from say a size 14-20...Maybe even the Little Black Caddis (Chimarra) 18-22.

No one said it would be easy. :) We'll make a dry-fly guy out of you yet. ;)
"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
Crepuscular
Crepuscular's profile picture
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 920
Crepuscular on Apr 29, 2013April 29th, 2013, 4:17 am EDT
l

Take your favorite Grannom pattern, Elk Hair, X-Caddis, etc and tie them in a few different sizes...You could have a dark winged caddis out there from say a size 14-20...Maybe even the Little Black Caddis (Chimarra) 18-22.

No one said it would be easy. :) We'll make a dry-fly guy out of you yet. ;)


Spence brings up a good point here. I understand the want to know what insect you are trying to imitate, believe me I know ;), but if the behaviors are similar, I try and keep it simple. Bruce it sounds to me like you have effective patterns, so if you really want to know which species you are imitating, put some ethanol in a small vial and keep
It in you vest. Collect a few adults (males preferably for both mayflies and caddis) and either get some photos or hold on to them and find someone that you know to take a look at them for you to give you an idea of what species you have. As well as recording the things that Spence describes. I'd be happy to take a look at them for you, no guarantees but I think we could narrow it down pretty close to what you might have. And I'm not just talking about your black caddis. Anything you come across, grab a few and pickle them until later. But as far as the fishing goes, keep it simple.
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Apr 29, 2013April 29th, 2013, 6:30 am EDT
But as far as the fishing goes, keep it simple.


...and don't fall in! ;)
"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
Feathers5
Posts: 287
Feathers5 on Apr 29, 2013April 29th, 2013, 9:07 am EDT
Spence, I have to keep reminding you that I didn't fall anywhere. I was looking for bugs on the stream bottom.
Bruce
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Apr 30, 2013April 30th, 2013, 8:08 am EDT
Spence, I have to keep reminding you that I didn't fall anywhere. I was looking for bugs on the stream bottom.
Bruce


Oh...I thought you said Antonio shoved you...:) I thought you just got tired of fighting the Little J and decided to sit down and take a break.

I'm just happy I didn't see you float away!

"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

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