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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 Ephemerella mucronata (Ephemerellidae) Mayfly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
This is an interesting one. Following the keys in Merritt R.W., Cummins, K.W., and Berg, M.B. (2019) and Jacobus et al. (2014), it keys clearly to Ephemerella. Jacobus et al provide a key to species, but some of the characteristics are tricky to interpret without illustrations. If I didn't make any mistakes, this one keys to Ephemerella mucronata, which has not previously been reported any closer to here than Montana and Alberta. The main character seems to fit well: "Abdominal terga with prominent, paired, subparallel, spiculate ridges." Several illustrations or descriptions of this holarctic species from the US and Europe seem to match, including the body length, tarsal claws and denticles, labial palp, and gill shapes. These sources include including Richard Allen's original description of this species in North America under the now-defunct name E. moffatae in Allen RK (1977) and the figures in this description of the species in Italy.
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.

By Troutnut on April 25th, 2014
My wife and I checked out the Tanana for burbot this weekend, just a day or two after the Nenana Ice Classic tripod fell, indicating that the ice went out about fifty miles downstream. We found no sign of fish at the first spot we tried, which had open water with ice chunks floating around. At the second spot, we caught the ice break-up in action--a spectacular show to watch.

Videos by Troutnut from the Tanana River in Alaska

Spring break-up on the Tanana River near Fairbanks

On April 26, 2014, we caught the last of the contiguous ice across the Tanana River near Fairbanks breaking up and washing away.

Photos by Troutnut from the Tanana River in Alaska

Trying for burbot. I've taken a few small ones on setlines in this eddy in the past, but never tried on rod and reel. There were no takers.

From the Tanana River in Alaska
Break-up on the Tanana

From the Tanana River in Alaska
The last contiguous ice on the Tanana near town. On the right side of the photo, the river's original ice still extends all the way across. A rapid flow of water and ice is pushing in toward it from the left. Moments later, the original ice gave way and opened up a free-flowing channel packed with truck-sized icebergs.

From the Tanana River in Alaska
Break-up on the Tanana

From the Tanana River in Alaska
Ice piled up on the Tanana

From the Tanana River in Alaska

Comments / replies

Troutnut's profile picture
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on May 4, 2014May 4th, 2014, 12:38 pm EDT
I added a short video of the ice crashing down the Tanana. It's an impressive sight.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
PaulRoberts's profile picture

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on May 4, 2014May 4th, 2014, 5:43 pm EDT
Very cool. Thanks for sharing that clip, Jason.

Lake Ontario's post-breakup could be exciting some years. Ah! And I remember the first time I heard big lakes "making ice". A long way from shore, sitting on a bucket, and BA-BOOM! Sounding like thunder. I'd stand up -fast!- and look all around with my heart pounding, half expecting a Kraken to take me to see Davy Jones. But after having drilled through over 2ft of ice, I knew that wasn't likely. But my adrenals weren't so sure!
Taxon's profile picture
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Taxon on May 5, 2014May 5th, 2014, 7:54 am EDT
I added a short video of the ice crashing down the Tanana. It's an impressive sight.

Wow, that's an amazing sight, Jason. Thank you for sharing it.
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck

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