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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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Jmd123 has attached these 6 pictures. The message is below.
Notice there are TWO flies in this fish's mouth!!  One just wasn't enough for this guy...
First one I was able to get in the boat after one popped off and two broke my line!
Cooke Pond from the Pine Acres launch
Looking "upstream" - the pond actually has appreciable current here
Gotta throw in some wildflowers...daisy fleabane growing near the launch
Brown drake patterns
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jun 9, 2016June 9th, 2016, 7:16 pm EDT
Well, since blowing out my waders and boots I have decided to make a series of kayak assaults on my favorite stillwaters. Yesterday was {REDACTED] Pond, where the perch were hitting a #10 KBF and the brookies went nuts over the #10 cricket again. Tonight I went to Cooke Pond and waited until dark, then got to fish a full-on Brown Drake hatch as it was getting dark. I wish these insects hatched on my favorite trout waters, but hey, smallmouth like them just as well and responded enthusiastically to my extended-body patterns. Funny thing happened too, I broke off two fish because of a bad leader, which I promptly replaced with a fresh one, and my last fish of the night, a nice fat 17-incher, had two flies in his mouth! He was one of the two that broke me off and STILL couldn't resist my flies! And, he gave it back to me, generous fellow...my wrist started getting sore hanging on these bulldogs, had a few jump on me too which is always fun.

I will be going back there soon!

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

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Jun 10, 2016June 10th, 2016, 3:01 am EDT

Love those smallmouth! Wow, if I had a choice between yellow perch and feisty smallmouth it would be the bass every time. Go to the perch pond when you want a meal and the bass pond when you want lots of strong action.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Adirman's profile picture
Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on Jun 11, 2016June 11th, 2016, 7:41 am EDT
Thers nothing like the pull of a smallie at the end of your line, pound for pound, best fighting freshwater fish. I love fishing for smallies when its too hot for Trout, usually go to the Delaware for my action. I find Smallmouth much easier to catch than Trout but VERY aggressive and hard fighting, lots of fun for sure!!

Congrats :)

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