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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.

Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jan 29, 2014January 29th, 2014, 3:57 pm EST
I just want to post a short note here to Tony, Eric, Bruce, John W and Louis...and all those PA boys that visit this site...I have been meaning to somehow write this for sometime and have never found the time.

I want simply to say that I am very thankful for some of the giants of our sport that went before us that came from the great state of Pennsylvania...I am trying to re-read Charlie Fox's "This Wonderful World of Trout", and I can barely get through it...I keep re-reading, then re-reading again passages...It is so good I may never get through this thing by opening day.

Marinaro may have been the "Wizard of the Letort", but Charlie Fox was the writer. In the middle of the book is a chapter called, "The Other Half of Angling", that should be a must read for anyone interested in the history of our sport.

His re-telling of the story of Don Martin's big trout from Big Spring has to be one of the funniest stories ever...Right up there with John Voelker...IMHO.

I know you all are rightly proud of this heritage, I just want to add my two cents...I feel that the old-school anglers of Michigan and the old-school anglers of PA are as alike as two groups can be...Real brothers of the angle! :)

Thanks for sharing Chauncey with us here for a few years.

Spence

Charlie would be nie-on perfect save for being a Republican, but I'm over looking this imperfection...Sorry Tony. :)
"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
Gutcutter
Gutcutter's profile picture
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
Gutcutter on Jan 30, 2014January 30th, 2014, 3:32 am EST
Charlie would be nie-on perfect save for being a Republican, but I'm over looking this imperfection...Sorry Tony. :)


Sorry to break your heart, Spence, but I'm not a Republican.
I suspect you may think less of me when you find that...
I am a registered Libertarian.
Smoke 'em if you got 'em
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
Feathers5
Posts: 287
Feathers5 on Jan 30, 2014January 30th, 2014, 3:48 am EST
For the record, I'm an Italian.

Spence, I look forward to the day I can meet you on your holy waters. Of course, any water I'm on is immediately deemed holy.


Crepuscular
Crepuscular's profile picture
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 920
Crepuscular on Jan 30, 2014January 30th, 2014, 4:43 am EST
I just want to post a short note here to Tony, Eric, Bruce, John W and Louis...and all those PA boys that visit this site...I have been meaning to somehow write this for sometime and have never found the time.

I want simply to say that I am very thankful for some of the giants of our sport that went before us that came from the great state of Pennsylvania...I am trying to re-read Charlie Fox's "This Wonderful World of Trout", and I can barely get through it...I keep re-reading, then re-reading again passages...It is so good I may never get through this thing by opening day.


Spence, I hope you realize how happy I was that you were able some time on our water. I would've been very disappointed had you not stayed the afternoon we got to fish on the Letort. Not very many people can say that the first time they fished it, there were flies and rising fish, and even caught fish. It's not easy.



any water I'm on is immediately deemed holy.

Is that because of the large hole you create when you fall in?
Taxon
Taxon's profile picture
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Taxon on Jan 30, 2014January 30th, 2014, 5:21 am EST
I suspect you may think less of me when you find that...
I am a registered Libertarian.


Can you beat that, Tony, I would never have guessed. :-)
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Jan 30, 2014January 30th, 2014, 6:06 am EST
Crepuscular wrote;

" Not very many people can say that the first time they fished it, there were flies and rising fish, and even caught fish. It's not easy."

The Letort is about an hour north of where I live. I have lived in PA since 1984. I have fished the Letort six times. I have never caught a trout there. I will never fish the Letort again.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jan 30, 2014January 30th, 2014, 2:08 pm EST
Tony...I was just poking fun...I like the new pic. I don't care what you're smoking, you are ok in my book. You know how hard that is for me to say after the spring of 2009...;)I know, I know, "Spence...No matter how hard you try to will it Lidstrom still isn't going to score." :)

Eric...I wouldn't of missed it for the world. The real funny part, besides the size of the fish caught, was I was meaning to hit the road early, but we stayed late. Is anyone surprised?

Spence
"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
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jan 31, 2014January 31st, 2014, 3:17 pm EST
"Smoke 'em if you got 'em"...

Tony, you and I may have butted heads on here before, but our "heads" are together on this one...I first heard that term in Army Basic Training at Fort Knox, KY in the summer of '81. (Yeah, try to imagine me with about 1/4" of hair carrying an M-16A1 Rifle...and about 2/3 my current weight!) Of course, it referred to cigarettes back then, but hey, times have changed...of course, I can neither confirm nor deny those allegations, in the best tradition of the CIA, kinda like [REDACTED] Pond that I'm trying to hide from too many locals...

Just thought I'd throw that comment in for fun. Went x/c skiing along the lower Au Sable today and it's frozen from bank to bank in most locations...probably not good for steelheading right now as there isn't much open water! I'm sure Jason can relate, along with many other Troutnuts right now.

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

Posts: 452
JOHNW on Jan 31, 2014January 31st, 2014, 4:54 pm EST
Crepuscular wrote;

" Not very many people can say that the first time they fished it, there were flies and rising fish, and even caught fish. It's not easy."

The Letort is about an hour north of where I live. I have lived in PA since 1984. I have fished the Letort six times. I have never caught a trout there. I will never fish the Letort again.

Matt,
Louis and I can gaurentee you a few fish on the LeTort under the right conditions (and no it would not require anything unusual). Maybe if we get a chance early this spring.......

Spence,
I truly regret not being able to share any of your days on our hallowed waters. One day I hope to visit your Holy Waters and fish from one of those funny boats that are the custom in those parts.
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
Crepuscular
Crepuscular's profile picture
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 920
Crepuscular on Feb 1, 2014February 1st, 2014, 3:05 pm EST

Matt,
Louis and I can gaurentee you a few fish on the LeTort



I could've used that today I was skunked on those hallowed waters!
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Feb 1, 2014February 1st, 2014, 4:37 pm EST
Hello John,

"Matt, Louis and I can gaurentee you a few fish on the LeTort under the right conditions (and no it would not require anything unusual). Maybe if we get a chance early this spring......."

Thanks for the invitation but I made a promise to myself about six years ago that I would never, under any circumstances, set foot in, or around, that water for the remainder of my life. Double ditto for Falling Springs. Give me the easy wild trout of the Delaware system as they are just about right for my skill level.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Feb 2, 2014February 2nd, 2014, 10:56 am EST
Give me the easy wild trout of the Delaware system as they are just about right for my skill level.


Matt. I have heard that those Delaware trout were difficult!

Spence
"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
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Feb 2, 2014February 2nd, 2014, 1:14 pm EST
"Matt. I have heard that those Delaware trout were difficult!"

Not true! Look for a rise, cover the rise, catch the fish. Easy.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Feb 5, 2014February 5th, 2014, 8:35 pm EST
Matt -
Look for a rise, cover the rise, catch the fish...

Ah, but there's the rub. A stream with consistent rises of good fish that reward a well placed and fished dry fly is my favorite too. Not all that many anglers can hold up their end, nor many rivers theirs.:) When both sides of the equation come together, magic happens...

The Letort -
It seems (from what I've heard) that modern nymph techniques have revived hope for competent anglers, but that dry fly fishing has become very hit or miss (mostly miss) of late. My sense is that it isn't remotely the LeTort that Marinaro, Fox, etc. fished in the halcyon days and that it's apt to lead to blank stares even from experts. Do I have it about right? Interested to hear what the PA contingent has to say on this.
"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
Crepuscular
Crepuscular's profile picture
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 920
Crepuscular on Feb 6, 2014February 6th, 2014, 3:41 am EST

The Letort -
It seems (from what I've heard) that modern nymph techniques have revived hope for competent anglers, but that dry fly fishing has become very hit or miss (mostly miss) of late. My sense is that it isn't remotely the LeTort that Marinaro, Fox, etc. fished in the halcyon days and that it's apt to lead to blank stares even from experts. Do I have it about right? Interested to hear what the PA contingent has to say on this.


Now I'm not there every day and don't claim to be an expert on the place but I do get there at least twice a week most weeks of the year.I'm not always fishing, sometimes I'm just watching, but what from what I've observed, I'd say sort of. The dry fly fishing really is only somewhat predictable during certain times of the year. The amount of weed growth in the Letort really limits the amount nymphing to be done. many of the weed beds cover over 90% of the width of the stream in places and are 3-4 feet deep or more leaving only inches of water between the tops of the vegetation and the surface of the water, and in some places they make it all the way to the surface. There are opportunities to both sight fish an unweighted nymph to a fish in skinny water on top of a weed bed or to suspend a nymph in the cuts and channels (most of which are only a few feet wide at most). I agree that is a different place than when Fox and Marinaro were fishing and writing about the place. I was only barely a teenager when I fished it before the fish kill. so I can't really say too much other than I had no idea what I was experiencing other than the fish were still tough to catch.

The interesting thing to me is that there are still quite a few fish in the stream but they do not seem to feed on the surface as frequently as before, even when there are mayflies present. So there has been a change in behavior. Is that due to a reduction in the amount of mayflies present? Could be. I'm going to have to look into those baetid nurseries.
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Feb 6, 2014February 6th, 2014, 9:28 am EST
The interesting thing to me is that there are still quite a few fish in the stream but they do not seem to feed on the surface as frequently as before, even when there are mayflies present.

That is interesting, Eric. Have you seen an increase in raptors? Out here is a series of spring fed volcanic little lakes connected by a small creek that I have fished since my youth. Used to be even the slightest Speckled Spinner activity would get the fish going pretty good. Not any more... The trout population is about the same as is the angling pressure. The only variable that stands out is the large population of osprey that started to move in about twenty years ago. At first it was just the occasional bird where they hadn't been seen in years. Now there's at least a dozen birds or more working those ponds.
"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
JOHNW
JOHNW's profile picture
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
JOHNW on Feb 6, 2014February 6th, 2014, 3:11 pm EST
Gent's
I cannot speak for the Halcyon Days of Marinaro et. al as that is largely before I ever encountered a Long Rod or for that matter fished out of the eyeshot of my Dad.
I can say that there seems to be a fairly significant Herron Population along the stream and that the key for me to finding fishing that borders on consistent is to observe where they, the birds, do not go.
The other Spring Creek trick I employ is to do it all wrong. Louis can attest to this approach and still shakes his head at it. I really try to do things that most anglers don't/won't try.
That being said the LeTort is my super ego and will regularly put my id and ego back in their correct place.

Matt,
Having watched you fish I would say that there is more than average skill and downright mind boggling knowledge that makes those wild trout easy. To the uninitiated the Delaware can be one of the most intimidating rivers in the east. The nice thing is about her is the consistency which allows one to learn important lessons at a much quicker pace than on certain other large limestoners in PA.
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
Crepuscular
Crepuscular's profile picture
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 920
Crepuscular on Feb 7, 2014February 7th, 2014, 4:16 am EST
The interesting thing to me is that there are still quite a few fish in the stream but they do not seem to feed on the surface as frequently as before, even when there are mayflies present.

That is interesting, Eric. Have you seen an increase in raptors? Out here is a series of spring fed volcanic little lakes connected by a small creek that I have fished since my youth. Used to be even the slightest Speckled Spinner activity would get the fish going pretty good. Not any more... The trout population is about the same as is the angling pressure. The only variable that stands out is the large population of osprey that started to move in about twenty years ago. At first it was just the occasional bird where they hadn't been seen in years. Now there's at least a dozen birds or more working those ponds.


Like John pointed out Herons are everywhere. I counted 5 in a 250 yard stretch the other day. That may be a result of the lakes and ponds being frozen right now but, they are always two or three around the upper Letort. There used to be one down at Big Spring that would just sit there and wait for an angler to catch a fish, and then try and get that tired fish just after release. It would be 20 yards away as you were fishing, but while you were distracted fighting a fish, it would literally come to with a couple yards of you while you were releasing the fish and then literally flop down right in front of you and try and eat that fish. Ever see a Great Blue try and eat a 20" rainbow? It doesn't work out well for the Heron or the fish. The heron can't swallow it, and the fish dies anyway. I haven't seen that bird in years, thank goodness. Someone probably dispatched it. We have the same issue with the Crowned Night Herons as well. There are family groups that hit the fish pretty hard.
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Feb 7, 2014February 7th, 2014, 4:45 pm EST
JW, It's hard not to shake one's head at a guy who will fish a glow in the dark nuclear sulphur spinner.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Feb 8, 2014February 8th, 2014, 10:24 am EST
Hi John,

Okay, that commentary on my prowess surely merits a couple of floats. Thank you for those very kind words. I'm praying my hip, and prior strength, will return to their former vigor. I get tired pretty easily if I walk too far. As I mentioned to Kurt in a PM I think I have over done my recovery and have been expecting my body to be back to 100% just five weeks out from major surgery. I'm going to get back on my exercises and lay low for a couple of weeks.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.

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