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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.

Case view of a Pycnopsyche guttifera (Limnephilidae) (Great Autumn Brown Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
It's only barely visible in one of my pictures, but I confirmed under the microscope that this one has a prosternal horn and the antennae are mid-way between the eyes and front of the head capsule.

I'm calling this one Pycnopsyche, but it's a bit perplexing. It seems to key definitively to at least Couplet 8 of the Key to Genera of Limnephilidae Larvae. That narrows it down to three genera, and the case seems wrong for the other two. The case looks right for Pycnopsyche, and it fits one of the key characteristics: "Abdominal sternum II without chloride epithelium and abdominal segment IX with only single seta on each side of dorsal sclerite." However, the characteristic "metanotal sa1 sclerites not fused, although often contiguous" does not seem to fit well. Those sclerites sure look fused to me, although I can make out a thin groove in the touching halves in the anterior half under the microscope. Perhaps this is a regional variation.

The only species of Pycnopsyche documented in Washington state is Pycnopsyche guttifera, and the colors and markings around the head of this specimen seem to match very well a specimen of that species from Massachusetts on Bugguide. So I am placing it in that species for now.

Whatever species this is, I photographed another specimen of seemingly the same species from the same spot a couple months later.
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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TimCat
TimCat's profile picture
Alanson, MI

Posts: 121
TimCat on Aug 30, 2015August 30th, 2015, 7:27 pm EDT
Hi all,

I plan on making one last trip up to the northeast lower peninsula region before the trout season ends here in MI. I am a beginner looking for late season tips. I think I'll be on the pigeon, black, and or Canada creek most likely. I plan on doing some blue-lining and dispersed camping. I began fly fishing mid summer here and I really am hooked... got the bug... pun intended (sorry). Anyway, if you guys could throw some tips my way for late season trout fishing. I'd appreciate it much.

After a few google searches, here's what I think I know about late season trout fishing:

-Most likely I'll be dealing with low, clear water, so I should increase leader length... maybe use a finer tippet... which is discouraging because sometimes it takes me quite a while to tie a blood knot with just 5x.

-Most of the big hatches are done, so I should try terrestrial patterns & streamers more.

So, since my fly box is not too full (and usually dwindling due to poor technique), are there any patterns I should look into getting in preparation? Any all-purpose patterns that can mimic a variety of insects/bugs? Hoppers, Adams, buggers/Streamers, & the hopper/dropper method are what I plan on as of now. Any tips or links are much appreciated. Sorry for the rambling post too... Thanks!
"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless
Roguerat
Roguerat's profile picture
Posts: 456
Roguerat on Aug 31, 2015August 31st, 2015, 6:22 am EDT
TimCat,

Welcome to the forum, another MI Trout-nut!

Your pre-trip research is really good; the only thing I'd add are some attractors (you're right, they serve as all-purpose flies) such as the PMX and Yellow Skunk patterns. Don't sell yourself short on technique and knot-tying stuff- I think everybody on this site would agree that fly-fishing is a life-long learning curve.
Give a trip-report when you get back, and watch for elk if you get deeper into the Pigeon River area- just seeing these guys is worth the trip!

Roguerat

'Less is more...'

Ludwig Mies Vande Rohe

ps- blood-knots, or any knot for that matter- buy some cheap mono at Wal-Mart or such and burn through a spool or two practicing knots while watching TV some night; watching online video tutorials on knots is also really good.
TimCat
TimCat's profile picture
Alanson, MI

Posts: 121
TimCat on Aug 31, 2015August 31st, 2015, 9:01 pm EDT
Thanks Roguerat. Good to know I'm heading in the right direction. I have been tying some of my own leaders as practice on the blood knot and testing the action in my driveway... killing two birds with one stone hopefully. I'll report on the trout we catch and the bugles we hear. Thanks for the warm welcome and the feedback.

Btw... as far as reports go... Fished the Pine river NW of Oscoda this weekend. Was visiting my grandma and made some time to fish before breakfast. A lovely stretch of river. My brother and I caught some rainbows and chubs with hoppers, adams, and blue wing olives. I hooked into a decent sized brookie too. He/she shook the hopper off above the surface. I would guess it was pushing 10-12"! But you know how fishing stories go... I could be wrong. I would guess it was a champ though. I saw a chub jumping out for its life before I casted to the spot and hooked into it. Either way I plan on exploring this river a lot next year. It was a good one to wade up.

Cheers
"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless
PaulRoberts
PaulRoberts's profile picture
Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Sep 1, 2015September 1st, 2015, 7:46 am EDT
Ditto on the knot practice. It'll get easier, although some people are more dexterity challenged than others I've learned.

Hey, nice report. Fun to read. And, Ah!... love those bugles. They reach deep into my soul... in some unexplainable way. Big brookies, esp ones lost, do too.
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Sep 1, 2015September 1st, 2015, 5:59 pm EDT
Welcome Tim! Nice kitty. Mine is a 20-lb. Russian Blue - "bear cub" is one of his nicknames!

Around here (Oscoda area) we're having our late-evening Nectopsyche (White Miller) caddisfly hatches, plus an Elkhair Caddis in tan-brown or gray (all size 12) was also getting strikes last night. So pack a few caddis patterns just in case, and for attractors I like Wulff patterns like the White and Royal Wulffs. You're spot-on with hoppers right now, especially with the return of warm, humid weather. Best of luck, let us know how you do, and take photos if at all possible! Show us some pretty little U.P. waters there, fellow Michigander.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Partsman
Partsman's profile picture
bancroft michigan

Posts: 321
Partsman on Sep 1, 2015September 1st, 2015, 6:40 pm EDT
Tim, what Jonathon said, I just got from fishing today, probably the same place Jonathon fished, and EHC was the fly of choice, on a small Michigan blue line. Your right the water levels were very low, I was kinda of surprised by that. But I still used a 7.5 5x leader. I had a beautiful eight point buck walk down to the river and have a drink at about 20 feet away, life is good!
TimCat
TimCat's profile picture
Alanson, MI

Posts: 121
TimCat on Sep 2, 2015September 2nd, 2015, 8:00 am EDT
Nice Partsman!

Jonathan,

Now that you mention it, I did see some white flies emerging or floating down the rifle when I was up there north of Omer on that same trip. We made a couple stops on the way north and the way south. The chubs were feasting early evening and late afternoon, and that was the only fish we caught...

We'll be stopping shortly in Mio on the way up to get some flies, so I will add all these recommendations to the list.

Thanks!
"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless
TimCat
TimCat's profile picture
Alanson, MI

Posts: 121
TimCat on Sep 8, 2015September 8th, 2015, 9:11 am EDT
Well... I fished for about 1 1/2 hours... muddy muddy earl grey moving at un-wadable speeds on the pigeon and black rivers this past weekend... oh well. I almost lost it on the black and decided the fishing trip would just be a camping one instead. We hiked the High Country path some distance. Saw a lot of deer, bald eagles, hawks, etc. though. All in all, as a fishing trip, it didn't go well. It was a good camping trip though. Might be able to swing another trip before the 30th (season ends here in MI then). Hopefully the weather and rivers cooperate a little more then.
"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Sep 8, 2015September 8th, 2015, 10:17 am EDT
Yeah Tim, the weather has been pretty unstable around here lately, and my last few fishing trips have been pretty unremarkable, biggest so far this summer was a 12" brown on the Rifle about a week ago (took an EHC too!) and I haven't managed anything bigger than a couple of 9" rainbows on the Pine. BTW I didn't even notice you mentioned the Pine in your second post on this thread - nice little stream, isn't it? A few years ago it was throwing 12-14" rainbows at me pretty regularly, but not as of late, best fish recently was a 12" brookie last summer (on a night when the deer flies were particularly fierce, too). I'm hoping things settle down before the end of the season so I (and you and Mike too) can have a few more better trips while we still can. BTW, the Rifle below Sage Lake Road is open year-round so there's an October option for you...

Tight lines and hoppers to you!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
TimCat
TimCat's profile picture
Alanson, MI

Posts: 121
TimCat on Sep 9, 2015September 9th, 2015, 2:49 pm EDT
Yeah Jonathon,

I really enjoyed my morning on the pine. I wish I could have spent the whole day walking up it, but I had family obligations. A lovely river for sure, and a 12 " brookie on a river like that is nothing to sneeze at in my book. What I saw was a small stream with deadfall, oxbow-bends and riffles galore. I got in at Cruzen road, so I only know upstream of there though.

Anyway, I'm going to make a list of type 3 rivers, and narrow down another trip for October. Usually they are stretches of steelhead streams, but that's fine with me too. I hope you, Partsman, Roguerat, and any other Michiganders have a good time with another shot before the season ends!

Thanks for the tip too.
"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless

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