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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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Catskilljon has attached this picture to this report. The message is below.

Report at a Glance

General RegionCatskills
Specific LocationSullivan County
Dates FishedApril 2nd
Time of Day7:00 am

Details and Discussion

Upstate NY

Posts: 160
Catskilljon on Apr 6, 2016April 6th, 2016, 7:12 pm EDT
For the first time in a couple years, I consider myself fortunate to have caught a few on the opener weekend! Typically the conditions are better for skiing than fishing, but this year the Catskill fishing gods blessed us with at least a couple days of nice weather that quickly went south [or maybe north?] on Saturday night to Sunday. Snow, high winds...not great for fishing.

I got this one on a nymph [no dry flies yet, not with sub 40* water] and another a little smaller, and lost one almost at the net.
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Apr 6, 2016April 6th, 2016, 8:58 pm EDT
Very healthy brown trout. Must of fed well throughout the winter to be so well conditioned.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Partsman's profile picture
bancroft michigan

Posts: 321
Partsman on Apr 7, 2016April 7th, 2016, 4:20 pm EDT
Beautiful fish catskilljon, that's the way to start the season, I hope it only gets better for you.
Posts: 106
MiltRPowell on Apr 25, 2016April 25th, 2016, 6:49 pm EDT
Nice one, that must have put a smile on your face.
Seems been long enough winter, but I think the fish did very well this winter. First easy winter, normal water conditions, no crazy floods, yet.#@/#&*^/()...
Did I say that. Knock on wood...
But nice one John. Keep up having fun.
I'll try to do the same.
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Apr 26, 2016April 26th, 2016, 8:23 am EDT

Nice looking trout and a great picture suitable for a frame! Just what we need to see here in Michigan...Our traditional opening weekend is this upcoming one, the so-called "Last Saturday in April".

I have been chained to the tying desk lately trying to put some final touches on the over filled fly boxes...I have heard that the Hendrickson and Baetis are going already. We got a spring downpour last night late, but not sure what they may have seen up around Grayling.

Somewhere here Jonathon asked if I was making the opener this year...Yes. My club has an outing at the Riverview Lodge (our club filled up all the spaces) at McMasters Bridge and the mainstream of the Au Sable. On the opening day morning (Saturday 9-11) we have a memorial breakfast (Bloody Mary's, Mimosa's, and donuts...:) at Gates' Au Sable Lodge's "Boardroom"...The breakfast is a remembrance for all our old angling friends no longer with us save in spirit and memory. It's a happy event, but yes I'll admit a few tears are shed.

Thanks again for the great "warm-up" photo! That's a great way to get the season started...On a very hopeful note.

Everyone...Have a great fishing season!

"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's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Apr 26, 2016April 26th, 2016, 1:42 pm EDT
Saw a lot of bass and sunfish in the Marsh today on my class field trip...might hit that tomorrow. We got PLENTY of rain up here, Spence, so streams are likely to be high and muddy (they were already high from the last snowmelt, only a couple of weeks ago). Collected a few big dragonfly and damselfly nymphs, so we should be seeing those critters on the wing soon. We need more warmth!

Very nice looking brown trout! I will be targeting them soon, if we don't get any more rain the streams should be fishable shortly after the opener.

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Upstate NY

Posts: 160
Catskilljon on Apr 26, 2016April 26th, 2016, 3:48 pm EDT
Thanks guys! I came back from another weekend up there. Opened the house up, no winter damage at all...even the mice seemed to go somewhere else.

Hit a few of the smaller Delaware tribs near me, water warmed up quite a bit since the opening weekend. 58* if you can believe that, in mid/late April that's a little warm for my liking. I saw Hendricksons, but my sources tell me they are nearly over...one of my buddies sent me a March Brown picture today. My stream had blue quills, Q Gordons and some small caddis, I caught 1 Hendrickson in my hat.

I couldn't bring anything up on dries, but got 3 in the morning and 7 in the afternoon Saturday. The hatchery fish are about, out of the 10- 6 were from the truck, but none under 15". The wild ones were...1 really nice Rainbow of 14", a leftover brown with a decent sized beak from spawning, and 2] 16 and 17 inch Browns. It was a great weekend, but I fear its happening too quickly. CJ

ps...Spence...I had that photo blown up and framed it, its hanging in the Catskill place right now! Good call bro!
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Apr 26, 2016April 26th, 2016, 4:06 pm EDT
Well done CJ! Gettin' itchy here...but the Rifle will likely be scary for the next few days, we got walloped pretty good last night, thunderstorms and all. You're waaay ahead of us right now...hit 'em hard while they're biting!

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

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