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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.
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Wbranch has attached these 10 pictures to this report. The message is below.
Another 19" Rainbow
19" Rainbow
20" Rainbow
21" Brown
Thick Rainbow in Brodin
Dark Skies with Rainbow
Rainbow at the Haystacks
Morning Trico Plumes
20" Rainbow with Gill Plate Damage

Report at a Glance

General RegionMissouri River
Specific LocationWolf Creek - Craig
Dates FishedJune 26 - July 05
Time of Day7:00 - 2:00 & 6:00 to dark (10:00)
Fish CaughtWild browns & rainbows
Conditions & HatchesThe water was the lowest I'd seen it since my first trip there in 1995. The flow for all ten days was 2700 cfs with a water temperature ranging from 62 - 69 degrees. I'm more accustomed to seeing flows of no less than 4000 cfs to 6000 cfs for this time period and water temperatures from 58 - 64 degrees. Saw good numbers of PMD's but I'd say sporadic and by no meansd blanket emergences. Better spinner falls than the dun emergences. It really doesn't matter because the Missouri trout just do not eat the duns. They much prefer a floating nymph or what we call a Half & Half; soft webby brown hackle tail, PT fibers twisted and wound for the abdomen and ribbed with XF gold wire, PMD color thorax and either a loop wing of light dun CDC or a stubby CDC wing tied in front of the thorax. Excellent cinnamon caddis emergences at dusk lasting to darkness. Sporadic cinnamon caddis activity throughout the day and good spent caddis action too. It was a little early for the epic Trico emergences and spinner falls but I did have fishable duns and spinner falls the least two days (see picture)

Details and Discussion

Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Jul 8, 2013July 8th, 2013, 6:07 pm EDT
Low water combined with high daily air temperatures made for difficult conditions. Every day I was there, except my last day hit 90 degrees or higher. Three days when I took a break I looked at the thermometer at a gas station and the temps were 93, 96, & 98. Temperatures like that are withering! By 8:30 I was soaked. I was drinking at least a gallon of liquid every day and it was still probably not enough because I had bad leg cramps three nights.

The low water and high air temperatures, and probably the high amount of boat traffis, were making the aquatic grasses and weeds break off from the plants and there was constantly loose plant life floatng in the water column.

I lost at least 80% of my fish over 18" to grass getting wrapped onto the fly line as the fish were running and either the 5X tippet would break from the sheer weight of 3# - 5# of wet aquatic grass on my line or the grass would sslide all the way down to the fish and the weight, and belly in the line, would literally pull the hook right out of the fish's mouth. I lost one brown almost at the net that was about 22" and another rainbow that was an easy 21".

I still managed some nice fish even under less than ideal conditions. Only one less than 15" trout in ten days, only two that were 16", most of the rest were 17" - 19". Four or five were 20", two were 21.5". I have no idea how many I really caught and to me it is relative. I was having a good time doing what I prefer; casting to rising trout in flat water conditions with dry flies no larger than #18.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Kschaefer3's profile picture
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Kschaefer3 on Jul 11, 2013July 11th, 2013, 5:58 am EDT
Great report! Glad you had a good time. Too bad the water conditions weren't a little better for you, but it looks like you found plenty of trout and plenty of nice trout.
Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Jul 12, 2013July 12th, 2013, 7:59 pm EDT
Some fine fish, Matt.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

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

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jul 13, 2013July 13th, 2013, 8:55 am EDT
Great stuff Matt! I'm putting the finishing touches on my getting ready to head out that way myself. I'll be down by West Yellowstone area. I haven't been out since 2004!

Thanks for the boost. :) I'm geeked.

"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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