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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.

Oldredbarn has attached these 5 pictures. The message is below.
Ed McCoy and Mike on Manistee
21"er
24"er!
19"er
Hooked!
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jun 17, 2014June 17th, 2014, 3:22 pm EDT
Had the chance to float the Manistee last Saturday with a couple friends.

It was a beautiful day, mid 70's, and the fishing was nearly non-existent until dusk and beyond. Then it was Katie-bar-the-door!

We caught and lost a few nice fish from thrown hooks. I lost one when I discovered, too late, that my fly line was wrapped around my butt and the reel...Off he went and when he ran out of line...Ping!

Our guide works out of Hawkins' Fly Shop and I had him down to speak at our club last winter. Was really looking forward to sharing a boat with him. His name is Ed McCoy and he has a couple fisheries/biology degrees from Michigan State and once was licensed by the state to band raptors. This made, for this amateur birder, a fun time when the fishing wasn't happening...

We heard a Barred Owl, saw Waxwings, Blackburnian Warblers, etc.Along with deer, a mink, and a beaver.

My fish was a tad over 21"...My friend Mike's was 24"! The other one was a 19" fish...The pic with the fly in the fishes mouth is to promote a fly Ed is trying to sell to Orvis.

Thanks Boys! We had a great day!

Spence

Oh! I ran into our TroutNut friend Willy up there and had a chance to speak with him a bit. For those of you, not in the know, Willy is featured in the new movie "The River" about our beloved Au Sable. Came out this spring...His Pops is in it too.

"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 Jun 17, 2014June 17th, 2014, 3:45 pm EDT
Nice!

Great pics of a great river, and I gotta ask- how bad were the mosquitoes?
Can you give the area (put-in, take-out) you floated? (too many questions here...sorry!)

If things go according to plan, we're headed north week-after-next for a 10-day gypsy camping trip...Baxter Bridge and Old US 131 campgrounds are on the list. Then it's north to the Platte in the vicinity of Honor, more DNR campgrounds.

Tight Lines!

Roguerat

I Peter 5:7 'Cast your cares upon Him...'
Motrout
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Posts: 319
Motrout on Jun 17, 2014June 17th, 2014, 3:50 pm EDT
Great report/pictures! Any excuse to get on that river is a good one.

I have only fished the Manistee a couple times and not even in the best trout water or at the best time of year..... but even with that unfair treatment she's definitely one of my all-time favorites.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
http://fishingintheozarks.blogspot.com/
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jun 17, 2014June 17th, 2014, 6:27 pm EDT
"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 Jun 18, 2014June 18th, 2014, 5:27 am EDT
Great fish, Spence. It must have been a fun and hectic couple hours.
Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jun 18, 2014June 18th, 2014, 6:08 am EDT
Beautiful fish, Spence. Those MI rivers have been giving up some nice browns on your trips of late... And on dry flies too! Is that one of those Tim's Drakes in the maw of the beast? ;)
"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
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Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 920
Crepuscular on Jun 18, 2014June 18th, 2014, 6:21 am EDT
http://www.hawkinsflyfishing.com/RiverReports/ManisteeAboveTippy.php


You're famous! Beautiful fish Spence.




Great fish, Spence. It must have been a fun and hectic couple hours.


He's BACK!!! How was the Odyssey?
Kschaefer3
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St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Kschaefer3 on Jun 18, 2014June 18th, 2014, 6:41 am EDT
Wow! Those are some really nice fish. I think I need to plan a fishing trip with Spence. :)
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jun 18, 2014June 18th, 2014, 3:33 pm EDT
Beautiful fish, Spence. Those MI rivers have been giving up some nice browns on your trips of late... And on dry flies too! Is that one of those Tim's Drakes in the maw of the beast? ;)


No. Not this time...This ones Ed McCoys version. We were guinea pigs for a couple of his flies. He figures that if these two old farts can catch fish with them maybe he's onto something. :)

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
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jun 18, 2014June 18th, 2014, 6:00 pm EDT
Once again Spence, well done! I might have to take Kyle's suggestion and go out there with you one of these days - when I have the cash for a trip, guide fees, etc....and a head's up on flies to tie as well! My last outing yielded nothing over 8", but I am heading for the Rifle in the next couple of days...

What rod setup were you using on these brutes? I would think my 3-weight isn't going to cut it! I would definitely bring nothing less than the 5-weight...

Also, hatches? Just the drakes or anything else hatching up there right now? Seeing more caddisflies on the wing now.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
TNEAL
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 278
TNEAL on Jun 18, 2014June 18th, 2014, 6:18 pm EDT
For all you who are within striking distance of Michigan's AuSable, the Hex hatch started last night on the river just above Grayling. It's only one week late. Not bad, considering the winter we had. Let the three weeks of insanity begin.
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jun 19, 2014June 19th, 2014, 7:24 am EDT

Also, hatches? Just the drakes or anything else hatching up there right now? Seeing more caddisflies on the wing now.

Jonathon


Caddisflies?! Dink food my man...The big boys are burping up Brown Drakes, Iso's, Gray Drakes, a few Borcher's Drakes (Leptophlebia), and as Tim suggests Hex!

You may find a hog, in the middle of the night, suffering from indigestion from so many Hex, sipping Sulpher spinners, but it's Big Fly time! :) I think that those Sulpher spinners work like an antacid. :)

Tim...We had them the other night, before all the rain, hatching out on Lake St Clair...First really warm day and night of June.

"Night time is the right time!"

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
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jun 19, 2014June 19th, 2014, 8:57 am EDT
Wow! Those are some really nice fish. I think I need to plan a fishing trip with Spence. :)


Kyle,

Anytime fella! :)

At Gates' Lodge on the Au Sable there is a Hog Chart. If an angler catches a Brown over 18 he can post it and they give him a Catch and Release pin. Next year the list is posted online at their web site. An angler's version of "15 minutes of fame". :)

I have always been reluctant, for some reason to post on the hog chart...Too much like showing off to me I guess. Maybe its the influence of my old mentor. :) Over the decades I have only posted on this chart when I was promoting a guide, a tyer, or a friend visiting from PA :), or my friend Mike's big fish.

Mike is post 70's, post Vietnam, post Detroit Detective, post colon surgery, and post heart attack. I felt his fish needed to be celebrated. Even though we used a guide from a different shop, and fished a river other than the Au Sable I took Mike to Gates' and posted his fish.

When John was visiting and I took him in to the shop to post his pig and get him his Catch and Release pin, I posted my 18" fish and asked Josh for my pin. He looked at me with a smile and asked just how many pins do you already have? "Are you wearing them across your vest like a five star general or something?!" He then gave me another and I handed it to John...He has two sons...He needed two pins. :)

In all these decades of fishing the Au Sable I have only posted two fish that weren't meant to promote someone else. The 18" Brown I caught wading with John above Lovell's because it was my biggest fish above town in what is rather shallow water compared to the other branches up there. The North has been known up that way as the Brook trout nursery.

The other one was an 18" Brown caught last year at "Spencer's Stoop" on the South Branch. It was a nod really to that spot where I sat from 2000-2006 suffering through my back pain, bend to the left by 30 degrees. I sat there on the bank among Marsh Marigolds smoking my pipe to ward off mosquitoes, waiting for the evening magic to begin. If it got going I'd force myself to fish down to the next exit...If not I would wade back up to where I got in and walk the trail back to my truck, stopping every so many yards to squat down and take a break before I could move on. Even on rather cold evenings I was sweating and in pain.

All the boys back in the shop knew where I was...Rusty would send me emails when I was back home letting me know that there was a female bear "in your hole" with cubs...

I had to stop playing hockey in 2003...Right in the middle of the playoffs and the doctor wanted me to stop wading as well. My response was, "Why don't you do me a favor and take me out and shoot me!"

After two operations I'm back and decided that that fish from that spot needed to be respected...That night another friend wading with me took a 16" Brown and another caught a 14"er and missed a hog.

The river has always been good to me, just being there sometimes is enough, the big fish are just icing on the cake...Some folk head to pills or a psychologist...I headed to the Au Sable...

I can remember fishing with Rusty after my last operation and him saying something like, "That's huge, Spence! I can remember a time when I wondered how you got out of bed, let alone put on the waders, and fished the river."

So. I guess I'm asking your indulgence here with my showiness...:)

I posted a fish I caught back in 2003. I had floated with a friend for the first time on the Big Water below Mio, Craig Perry. He took a pic of me holding a 20" Brown I caught that day. I was so bent over with my back that it looks like that trout weighed a ton. The following week Craig had a heart attack and died right in the parking lot at Gates'. Somehow Rusty found the old throwaway camera that Craig had used to take the pic, had the film developed, and sent me the pictures.

All these great fish we catch come attached to great memories, some sad ones, but each and everyone we are lucky enough to be there to catch are special!

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
Crepuscular
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Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 920
Crepuscular on Jun 19, 2014June 19th, 2014, 9:17 am EDT
All these great fish we catch come attached to great memories, some sad ones, but each and everyone we are lucky enough to be there to catch are special!

well said, Spence, and that's why when you were here I was so excited to see you throwing dry flies to rising fish on Letort, even though they were not giants, they are special fish. The simple act of fishing in certain locales takes on deeper meaning than simply catching a fish.
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jun 19, 2014June 19th, 2014, 3:06 pm EDT
well said, Spence, and that's why when you were here I was so excited to see you throwing dry flies to rising fish on Letort, even though they were not giants, they are special fish. The simple act of fishing in certain locales takes on deeper meaning than simply catching a fish.


:) Next time those Letort fish won't stand a chance...Maybe I won't be so awestruck and get down to the business of catching them instead of trying to connect with the ghosts of Marinaro and Fox and the rest of "those Pennsylvania Boys"...

...and then there's Penn's!!! :) Won't be forgetting that "crick" for a long time. Thanks for giving me a peek, mister!

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
Lastchance
Portage, PA

Posts: 437
Lastchance on Jun 20, 2014June 20th, 2014, 6:23 am EDT
Great sentiments, Spence. You are right on with those thoughts. Until I fished with Eric up on Penns, I had never landed a fish on a dry fly bigger than 13 or 14 inches. Eric led me to several one day last year that were 16 to 18 inches. It was a thrill for sure, and one I'll never forget. Of course he also introduced me to a big hog on Big Spring Creek, too. Antonio unlocked some of the mysteries of trico fishing on spring creeks for me, and that 7X tippet will not land a dairy cow. Memories and our fond recollection of them are what make the outdoors special. So, post away and make them our memories, too.
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jun 20, 2014June 20th, 2014, 1:28 pm EDT
and that 7X tippet will not land a dairy cow


Ha! Maybe Antonio should of lent you his spool of 10x! :)

I remember that winter hog you posted...I think Eric has a few with his name tag or bar code on their sides.

Speaking of Tony...It will be awhile before I forget the midge clinic he put on for us on Spring Creek last year. His casting with his back to them...A more extreme version of the famous look-away cast.

This year I found a bronze life-sized cast of an angler at an access site on the North Branch of the Au Sable. John was with me when we saw it. It made me remember our threat to put one of Tony right there on the bank on Spring Creek.

"Bruce...You wrap the rope around his waist and I'll attach it to the tow package here on his truck and we will pull his ass out of the river! It's getting dark and we're hungry." :)

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
Willy
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Chicago, IL

Posts: 47
Willy on Jun 21, 2014June 21st, 2014, 7:16 am EDT
Great report Spence and great to meet you!

Dad and I are having a great trip. In fact, he just left, but I have two more nights. Might head over to the Manistee tonight.

I'm guilty of posting all of my eligible fish on the "hog chart." Someone has to break up Terry's streaks!
Check out my fishing pictures on Instagram.
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jun 22, 2014June 22nd, 2014, 6:26 pm EDT
Willy,

So you let Josh talk you into staying longer...:)

Nice meeting you too...and yes someone needs to keep Terry honest. :)

Safe trip home...Maybe we can fish together next year.

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
Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Jun 22, 2014June 22nd, 2014, 7:57 pm EDT
Beautiful fish and a nice thread, Spence. Thanks for getting it started.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell

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