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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 Sweltsa (Chloroperlidae) (Sallfly) Stonefly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
This species was fairly abundant in a February sample of the upper Yakima.
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
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Jun 14, 2015June 14th, 2015, 5:52 pm EDT
A friend of mine sent these pictures to me this morning of the phenomenal nocturnal mayfly emergence on the old Rte 30 bridge that goes from Wrightsville to Columbia, PA. To those from other areas this bridge crosses the Susquehanna River. About two years ago Columbia installed halogen light bulbs and retro black lantern shape lights about every 100 feet along the bridge.

It appears these larger mayflies are attracted to the bridge lights. I think they are either a Hexagenia or Ep simulans but I don't know for sure as I've never actually seen a live bug and to tell you the truth I wouldn't really know what they are anyway. I bet every fish in the river must be rising to these bugs.

Are these freshly emerged duns that died from the heat of the light before they could molt into spinners? Or are they spinners? I imagine that would be impossible to know unless you saw a couple of the bugs.



Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jun 14, 2015June 14th, 2015, 6:46 pm EDT
Wow, that's INSANE!!! Looks like snow especially in the second photo but also a little bit in the first...oh yeah, fish ate well that night!

Well, that's a positive statement for water quality on that reach of the Susquehanna, a river I have heard has had it's share of problems with water quality, to the point of sexually deformed fish and visible lesions and dropping populations of once prolific smallies and etc...

Of course, now this begs the question of, are too many of these mayflies attracted to the lights, and so are dying on the roads and bridge and NOT successfully reproducing the RIVER?? But if it's that way all up and down the river, well I guess sometimes Mother Nature provides...

I've been in Hex hatches where you could hear the buzzing of the wings, there were so many of them in the air. And I've seen them silhouetted by the moon, with their gossamer wings light up like crystal...oh yeah, the Hex hatch is magic! Closest place for me is Cooke Pond for big fat smallies, and I'm told the occasional walleye...

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

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Jun 14, 2015June 14th, 2015, 6:54 pm EDT
I'm assuming that other areas of the river are getting similar emergences but are staying over the river. There is a new highway bridge no more than one half mile upriver with no lights on it. I drove across it this morning and there were no apparent dead mayflies to be seen.

I might go over there tomorrow night with a 3X leader and a couple big drakes and throw for awhile and see what happens.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jun 15, 2015June 15th, 2015, 9:48 am EDT
Eric sent me these pics over the weekend, Matt, and he has a couple close up pics and believes that they are, Hexagenia bilineata...Maybe he'll post them here.

I was up north in an area without a connection for my iphone so I just watched the vid today. Insane!

We here in Michigan seem to think we have a monopoly on Hex...Not so, eh?! I bet the smallies in the Susquehanna are stuffed and grinning ear-to-ear!

Our version is just around the corner here...I expect the Hex sirens to go off any minute!

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
TNEAL
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 278
TNEAL on Jun 17, 2015June 17th, 2015, 5:14 am EDT
Spence,

They came off the pond behind the jail in Grayling on the night of the 14th.
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jun 17, 2015June 17th, 2015, 9:52 am EDT
Spence,

They came off the pond behind the jail in Grayling on the night of the 14th.


Tim...You weren't watching from inside were you...;)

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 Jun 17, 2015June 17th, 2015, 2:56 pm EDT
Guys, I was in Tawas City and East Tawas today, and didn't see any big flies on the buildings yet. But, it's any day now - the Bay is still cold though, surface temp maps of Lake Huron were showing mostly 40s and low 50s F today (http://www.coastwatch.msu.edu/huron/h2.html). Damned cold winter and cool spring haven't let things warm up much around here, though our flora and mosquitoes are right on time. The big flies also come off of Cooke Pond, that could happen any day now too.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
KennyBruin
KennyBruin's profile picture
Posts: 3
KennyBruin on Jun 17, 2015June 17th, 2015, 7:59 pm EDT
You can see a close up of the PA mayflies in the "On 6/15 these mayflies" tread.
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jun 20, 2015June 20th, 2015, 1:12 pm EDT
Saw a few cast nymphal skins on Foote Pond yesterday...coming on soon around here!!!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Roguerat
Roguerat's profile picture
Posts: 456
Roguerat on Jun 20, 2015June 20th, 2015, 3:09 pm EDT
I found a Hex spinner on the steps to my office yesterday, crazy but this happens pretty much every year around this time. The closest thing to water is about 3 miles south, and that's more of a cesspool of a 'creek' and on the EPA and DNR hit-list as a severely polluted stream. Plaster Creek DOES have mud banks for most of its flow so I guess the flies call it home.

Sidebar, I'm hoping to head back to the Big Manistee Monday morning- I did some research on the Hodenpyle stretch and BIG streamers are the recommended means to tie into the big boys there. A dozen freshly whipped-up Zoo Cougars, a bunch of Heifer Groomers, and some generic sculpin patterns might get their attention.

Roguerat

'Less is more...'

Ludwig Mies Vande Rohe

TKB
TKB's profile picture
Pennsylvania

Posts: 24
TKB on Jun 22, 2015June 22nd, 2015, 9:16 pm EDT
Just saw a smaller version of this tonight in the same area. Looked like ISO to me. Swarming around lightpoles at the Rest stop on the turnpike just east of the Susquehanna and just west of swatara creek.....
Konchu
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Site Editor
Indiana

Posts: 498
Konchu on Jun 23, 2015June 23rd, 2015, 6:19 pm EDT
I was on the east side of Saginaw Bay last week, and we had decent numbers of Ephemera varia.
Crepuscular
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Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 920
Crepuscular on Jun 24, 2015June 24th, 2015, 5:57 am EDT
I was on the east side of Saginaw Bay last week, and we had decent numbers of Ephemera varia.


Cool, I expect to see them here soon as well. if the creeks ever go down, we've had storms and everything is brown and raging. Ephemera varia has been a really heavy emergence here the last couple years, and no one is fishing it! I suppose I should post a photo of the Hexagenia bilineata from the bridge:

TKB
TKB's profile picture
Pennsylvania

Posts: 24
TKB on Jun 24, 2015June 24th, 2015, 9:09 am EDT

Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Jun 24, 2015June 24th, 2015, 5:33 pm EDT
Thanks, Eric. I've been wondering what they were. Great photo, as usual.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Crepuscular
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Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 920
Crepuscular on Jun 25, 2015June 25th, 2015, 5:23 am EDT
Thanks, Eric. I've been wondering what they were. Great photo, as usual.


Thanks Louis. It was killing me, I had to know what they were so I took a ride down there to check it out.pretty impressive, even a couple days later from when they closed the bridge.
Corey
Tampa, Florida

Posts: 6
Corey on Jul 7, 2015July 7th, 2015, 3:55 pm EDT
Thats amazing, like the first poster said, it looks like a snowy night!

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