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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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Report at a Glance

General RegionBerks County, PA
Specific LocationTulpehocken Creek, Paper Mill Pool
Dates FishedApril 20
Time of Day12:15 - 5:00
Fish CaughtLots of stocked browns and one rainbow
Conditions & HatchesBluebird day, not a single cloud. 65 - 74 degrees. Very light wind. Tan caddis all day #16 & #18.

Details and Discussion

Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Apr 20, 2016April 20th, 2016, 4:18 pm EDT
I could see fish rising from the path to the stream. There were over half a dozen riseforms within 20' of me. I sat down and took off a two fly nymph rig and put on a new 9' 5X leader and added 3' of 6X tippet and a #18 tan Lafontaine emergent pupa.

I know it sounds flip but every fish that I cast to either ate the fly and was hooked or ate the fly and I missed the hook up. I landed 23, rose at least another 15, hooked some but they got unbuttoned and about 8 I just plain missed. By 4:45 there were no more rising fish but I didn't want to leave so waited a few minutes and found one 2' off of the bank and it ate the fly on the 2nd cast. Most were little 8"-10" browns, one was 12" and two were 14". For me it was just great to have so many target and able to cover them effectively and have them eat the bug.

Yesterday I fished a Dauphin County stream near Middlesburg called the Wisconisco. It is supposed to be one of those new "Trophy Trout" waters where larger, 14", fish are stocked. I nymphed hard from 10:30 - 1:30 and never had a bump, never saw a single trout, and saw a total of four tan caddis. I happened to be nymphing a deep pool with zero visibility. I had on a #10 brown stone fly. I had a solid take and hooked up a heavy fish. It ran line and pulled hard. When it got about 20' away it came close to the surface and I saw a black tail. I said "Hmm, a black tail means smallmouth?" I got it closer and it was a 16" smallmouth. Pretty cool on my 8' 6" #5 rod. I took the nymph off and cut back the tippet to 3X. Tied on a #4 Black Sparkle bugger with a 1/4" red bead and over the next three hours landed another eleven smallmouth 12" - 17". I hooked half a dozen more two of which were 16" - 17" that jumped and threw the hook.

Considering I went to a trout stream and caught no trout but was rewarded with a dozen wild (haha) smallmouth bass. It was fun but I doubt I'd drive 50 miles again to catch smallmouth when the Susquehanna is only 9 miles from my home. I'm figuring those bass had come up from the Susky, to stage for spawning, The Wisconisco is only two miles from the Susky.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
PaulRoberts's profile picture

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Dec 31, 2016December 31st, 2016, 6:56 am EST
Just saw this. Yes, I've found smallies to move quite a ways to spawn. They are a great fish.

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