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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.

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 RegionCentral PA
Specific LocationSpring Creek
Dates FishedJuly 28, 2016
Time of DayDawn to noon
Fish CaughtSmall browns and bows, and a big sucker
Conditions & HatchesA few tricos in the air, caddis, nothing much really in terms of bugs. We had a nice cloudy morning.

Details and Discussion

Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Jul 29, 2016July 29th, 2016, 7:56 am EDT
Met my old friend John Dunn (Caddisman to Troutnuts) for some nymph fishing. He had been experimenting with a new technique and had some flies to show me. We fished through the morning, swapping ideas and flies and caught some fish in the very low clear water. It was good to get together, as he's staying longer and longer in recent years in Florida catching tarpon and redfish winter through spring, and he'll head back there this year in early September. Anyway, he left at noon, and I headed to a few other spots. My last spot of the day, which I almost skipped, didn't yield any fish, but upstream I saw a mallard hen splashing and quacking frantically around an almost grown young duck that seemed caught in something. Fishing line, I thought, remembering a titmouse I freed a while back. (Those little seed crackers can bite pretty hard, by the way). As I approached, I could see its foot was caught in something, then I saw the brown-grey shellback in the weeds, under the duck. A snapper that couldn't have weighed much more than the duck had a foot in its beak. I was wondering how to get down in the weeds to grab the turtle by the back end (I used to have one of these as a pet, so I knew to stay away from the business end) when it saw me and just let go. The ducks swam away fast, and the just freed one got up on shore and didn't seem to be limping, so I hoped all would be well. Drowning a duck and eating it in installments might be a possibility for a turtle that couldn't easily kill and eat one at a sitting. But I'd never seen such a thing. Does anyone have a similar story? We do see some strange things at times out on the water.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
PaulRoberts's profile picture

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Jul 29, 2016July 29th, 2016, 12:32 pm EDT
Neat. No, I've not seen a snapper grab a duck before, or anything but a stick waved in one's face.

I have seen water snakes (Northern) catch fish. One time I waded under a low bridge and came upon a watersnake coiled on bottom of a small pool full of rainbow parr. The snake was coiled and striking repeatedly trying to nab one of the speedy little parr spinning madly about him. He finally caught one and exited.

I also saw one -a really large one- crossing a wide riffle right on bottom, looking as if there was no current at all. Looked almost supernatural then, but I now know that he was simply using the boundary layer -the nearly still water at the cusp of the substrate.
Partsman's profile picture
bancroft michigan

Posts: 321
Partsman on Jul 29, 2016July 29th, 2016, 1:43 pm EDT
once above loud dam on the Ausable river on a scenic outlook I saw something swimming rather awkwardly. My first thought was a bear swimming around as it was large and dark colored, got the binco.s out and to my surprise it was a full grown eagle, it finally got going with a large fish in its talons, pretty neat.

Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jul 29, 2016July 29th, 2016, 7:36 pm EDT
Back when I used to keep fish, ostensibly for the reason that I got to go to a fabulous dinner if I contributed, in my U of M Bio Station (Bug Camp) days, I carried a creel with me. One beautiful sunny day in June I got a nice 12" brown on a Spring Wiggler nymph (essentially a Hex imitation), complete with visual take right before my eyes - came out of the shadows under the alders and ate it right in front of me! First time that had ever happened, but what made the day even more interesting were not one but two encounters with turtles, and two different species to boot. Having secured the fish in the creel, I kept wading upstream, and twice felt my creel move seemingly under its own power...? Each time I looked and downstream from me was a swimming turtle heading away, first a painted turtle and then a Blanding's turtle, within about five minutes of each other. Man, I must be a stealthy wader if turtles will try to steal the fish right out of my creel!

I've also had a snapping turtle bump into my leg and sit there for a minute or so (San Marcos River in TX) and watched another pretend it was a rock in the Huron River while smallmouth fishing. Never seen one attack waterfowl, but you always hear about it happening, usually with ducklings...tastes like chicken???


No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Posts: 6
Demtrout on Aug 1, 2016August 1st, 2016, 8:52 pm EDT
I was recently fishing the Rogue in search of the elusive summer run. I was instead catching what seemed to be hatchery smolts when out of nowhere, a dark shape dropped out of a dead tree, hitting the water with a tremendous splash.

It was an osprey and it had snatched the smolt I was reeling in...
Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Aug 2, 2016August 2nd, 2016, 4:16 am EDT
Cool stories. I once had a great blue heron take a fish I was reeling in, then it became airborne. My fly line went up, up into the air as I yelled. Then the leader popped.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
PaulRoberts's profile picture

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Aug 2, 2016August 2nd, 2016, 7:20 am EDT
I've had two friends who've had owls grab their topwater bass lures: both Jitterbugs. Then again, and leading further OT (there aren't even any fish in this one), I've actually fished for owls (Spotted) with fishing line and an owl lure -a block of wood covered with a squirrel skin.

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