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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 Holocentropus (Polycentropodidae) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This one seems to tentatively key to Holocentropus, although I can't make out the anal spines in Couplet 7 of the Key to Genera of Polycentropodidae Larvae nor the dark bands in Couplet 4 of the Key to Genera of Polycentropodidae Larvae, making me wonder if I went wrong somewhere in keying it out. I don't see where that could have happened, though. It might also be that it's a very immature larva and doesn't possess all the identifying characteristics in the key yet. If Holocentropus is correct, then Holocentropus flavus and Holocentropus interruptus are the two likely possibilities based on range, but I was not able to find a description of their larvae.
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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Jmd123 has attached these 7 pictures. The message is below.
First brookie of 2014
A little bit bigger one...
The bonus!
Same danged fly that's worked out there every spring...
Bird's-foot violet (Viola pedata)
Blueberries flowering nicely - this is a good spot later in summer!
Sand cherry (Prunus pumila)
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on May 27, 2014May 27th, 2014, 6:16 pm EDT
Well, I let the terrorists - er, I mean TOURISTS - have the fishing spots this weekend. When you have something almost always to yourself and big crowds show up, it's not exactly a turn-on, nor conducive to good fishing. But today they were all gone, and I had a nice afternoon all to myself on [REDACTED] Pond. This place seems slow to get going in spring, and today was no exception. Only 4 brookies, the two biggest only 9", but a welcome sight after such a long awful winter and shitty cold, windy spring. The perch were biting with quite a bit more enthusiasm, but the vast majority were dinkers, only five being big enough to bring home, but bring them home I did! I'm starting to wonder if I shouldn't be killing off more of the little ones - there's more than enough wildlife in the area that I'm sure they wouldn't go to waste if I started tossing them up on the banks!

Anyway, this was my maiden kayak voyage for this year. Glad I avoided it yesterday, the winds were just too strong. Even today with just a stiff breeze it was enough to spin my little boat around quite a bit, but that didn't stop me from doing some good casting. Practically nothing hatching, did see a few random risers but not enough to swap the Woolly Bugger out for a dry fly. Only lost two flies to snags all day, and I heard four species of frogs calling in the background (spring peepers, grey tree frogs, American toads, and green frogs). Plus a few choice flowering specimens I had to include...

More to come, and it will get better as the season progresses.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on May 27, 2014May 27th, 2014, 6:48 pm EDT
Well, I let the terrorists - er, I mean TOURISTS - have the fishing spots this weekend. When you have something almost always to yourself a big crowds show up, it's not exactly a turn-on, nor conducive to good fishing. But today they were all gone, and I had a nice afternoon all to myself on [REDACTED] Pond.


You are funny Jonathon...You remind me of my half-brother who moved to the north-western corner of the lower peninsula...I visited him one time when he lived near Walloon Lake, where Mr. Hemingway spent his youth. Around a backyard campfire he went on-and-and-on about us downstaters and "fudgies". He wanted his paradise to himself.

With a smile on my face, I'm the wiser older brother after all, I finally said, "I've had enough little brother...I happen to know you grew up in Warren for christsake! Ortega y Gasset once said, "Man has no nature, only a history" and when your history includes Warren Michigan one shouldn't go putting on aires..." :)

Spence (Southend of Dearborn Heights) :)

"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
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on May 27, 2014May 27th, 2014, 7:18 pm EDT
Well gosh Spence, it's not like from here either, I'm a transplant too. I grew up in Troy, and Ma & Pa still live in the house I grew up in (since 7). And I almost always start my fly fishing season on my home town lake of Sylvan Glen, which I have been fishing for 40 years (28 with a fly rod).

And it's not like I can blame people for wanting to come up here either, it is such a beautiful part of the state. It's just more beautiful with a lot less people! And a lot better fishing as well. Think you could catch anything on the Rifle during the "aluminum hatch"? Or is it polypropylene these days with all the kayaks? I tell you what, though, they didn't find our mushrooms! Morel picking has been good as I predicted, and not many were found by the tourists. Then again, I have a hiking buddy who's been picking them for many years back in here and she's been kind enough to take me along on her hunts. Two pairs of eyes find more than one!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on May 28, 2014May 28th, 2014, 10:54 am EDT
Yes...After that big rain on Tuesday of the week I was up they popped everywhere...The weekend prior up at Port Austin one of the non-fishing wives hit pay-dirt...She had a large zip-lock a quarter to half filled...

Wet spring. Yum!

I remember Julie Gates at the lodge in Grayling putting them in the frig for guests staying there that had found some...She would clean them up and serve them with their dinner.

My all-time favorite morel dinner happened in 1987...My then girlfriend/now wife and I were in the little town of Amorbach in Germany...She had trout and I had an omelet with morels from the local forest. Potatoes...butter, washed down with a local Pilsner...My first one on German soil.

Alles hat sehr gut geschmeckt!

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
Roguerat
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Posts: 456
Roguerat on May 28, 2014May 28th, 2014, 1:03 pm EDT
Some random thoughts here, I'm feeling mellow after a good day...

Great pics- all caught on what appears to be a lead-eyed Wooly-Bugger? With Yellow Perch at 8 bucks+ a pound, that's a nice dinner you have there!

Gotta' admit, Michiganders have a great state to play in.

I just got back from my first 'real' fishing outing of the season, sad to say it's so late. A great afternoon on the Rogue, and even if the only fish caught were 'planters' and 8 inches average the time on the water was well spent. There were another 3-4 other fly-fishers on the same stretch of water and we shared banter and tips on what the fish were hitting...I think another guy caught the same fish I'd just lost and we joked that it took the both of us to catch an 8-incher (how many to screw-in a light-bulb thing).

tight lines,

Roguerat

I Peter 5:7 'Cast your cares upon Him..'
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on May 28, 2014May 28th, 2014, 5:11 pm EDT
Roguerat, the eyes are black bead-chain, a bit lighter than lead or other solid eyes so these flies sink a bit more slowly, and the eyes actually provide a tiny built-in rattle. The tail is brown grizzly marabou, brown chenille body, and natural grizzly hackle counter-wrapped with either gold or copper wire. Oh, and this one in particular is a size 10, using a Mustad 9672 streamer hook (or equivalent). Most definitely a deadly Woolly Bugger variant and it always works out there in spring.

Glad to hear you finally got out too! This cold, wet, windy spring hasn't been conducive to much (or safe) trout fishing, but things are finally getting there and our luck should be picking up pretty soon. I am probably going to hit the Rifle tomorrow and the Pine on Friday, maybe even Reid Lake on Saturday if I dare to brave the clouds of mosquitos I know I'm going to find out there - they were horrible during today's (most successful) morel hunting...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Roguerat
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Posts: 456
Roguerat on May 29, 2014May 29th, 2014, 6:30 am EDT
Jmd-

I'm going to tie up some of those Bugger Variants, TX for the pattern particulars!

Wet and soggy spring here in SW MI too, I checked out some other trout streams maybe an hour+ away and found them high, muddy, and not conducive to safe wading...disappointing, since Tamarack Creek is rumored to harbor 24" Browns in places.

Good Luck on the Rifle and the Pine, and while you're in the (somewhat) general vicinity why not hit the Little Manistee too? One of my favorites!

Roguerat

I Peter 5:7 'Cast your cares upon Him...'
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on May 29, 2014May 29th, 2014, 3:33 pm EDT
Another good one is olive grizzly marabou tail, peacock hurl body, natural grizzly hackle counter wrapped with green wire, and black bead-chain eyes. I call it the POG Bugger - Peacock, Olive, and Grizzly. Great trout fly!!

Jonathon

P.S. Didn't make it to the Rifle today, decided I needed a break from the clouds of mosquitos. I blasted myself with repellent at least six times yesterday while morel hunting, yet it could not keep them from trying to fly into my nose and mouth and getting between my glasses and my eyeballs...so much for the harsh winter killing them off, seems to have merely encouraged them! Not to mention the ticks...I really hate to think about deerfly season, at least we have a few weeks I hope...
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Partsman
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bancroft michigan

Posts: 321
Partsman on May 29, 2014May 29th, 2014, 4:58 pm EDT
Hey Jonathon, I was on the river Tuesday the 27th. Wow the mosquitoe hatch was on big time. I started out off the forest road just past the camp ground. I saw a nice steelhead and caught two small rainbows, then I went to the bridge below the campgrounds and a few small rainbows, and saw a few steelhead still on there beds. Then down to buhl road and some more small rainbows and lost one nice trout which I could not tell what it was. I got one a ehc, and the rest on bead head pheasant tail nymph. It was a beautiful day and I love this area as part of family were born and raised on the banks of the west branch of the pine.
Roguerat
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Posts: 456
Roguerat on May 29, 2014May 29th, 2014, 5:19 pm EDT
This is the Michigan thread...!

Welcome aboard, Partsman!

TX for the POG Bugger, Jonathon. I'll be throwing that one too. Crazy thing is, I can't recall catching anything but Bluegills on buggers- but considering their size (the flies and the fish, inverse proportions) and quality of my tying early on I shouldn't be surprised.


Am I right in guessing that hatches are roughly 2 weeks late due to winter lasting longer and colder than usual, then a wet, cool spring?

Roguerat

I Peter 5:7 'Cast your cares upon Him..'
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on May 29, 2014May 29th, 2014, 5:22 pm EDT
Thanks for the report, Mike. See much of any bugs on the water? Besides the horrible mosquito hatch, that is...lots of little rainbows in there! Every now and then you get a much bigger one, and I've gotten nice brookies outta there too. Water wasn't too high or off-color? I might hit it tomorrow, sounds like wet flies are the ticket right now? Got some good Woolly buggers to throw around in there. I'm also thinking about a #16 mosquito pattern...

;oD

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on May 29, 2014May 29th, 2014, 5:26 pm EDT
Yes, hatches sure are late! Last week's adventures on the Rifle & Pine didn't see a whole lotta bugs, just a few here and there on the Pine and next to none on the Rifle. Damned mosquitos are right on time though!!

Jonathon

P.S. Morels are late this year too, my hiking buddy and I left a whole bunch of babies to grow for our next trip out. Yesterday we brought home 67 between the two of us!
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Partsman
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bancroft michigan

Posts: 321
Partsman on May 30, 2014May 30th, 2014, 3:35 pm EDT
Jonathon, it was mostly skeeters, but I did see maybe some light hennies? The one trout I caught on the ehc was coming right out of the water and attacking those light colored flies. It took me about 20 minutes to catch this little you know what, but it was so cool. This is what im living for know, I hate to say it but size does not matter anymore. I learned more watching that little for 20 minutes, as opposed to reading it. On the issue of mushrooms, have you ever ate the beef steaks?
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on May 30, 2014May 30th, 2014, 3:47 pm EDT
Nice to be out. Perch are a wonderful bonus too, aren't they? I had a couple bass ponds that had some big perch in them. Always meant to go back and target them, but never quite got around to it. Will see where they are at when I rertuen.

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