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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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Jmd123 has attached these 11 pictures. The message is below.
Rifle River browns are always so pretty
Turtlehead (Chelone glabra) on the banks of the Rifle
No, this does NOT look like a Chevy Cobalt trail...good thing I don't mind hiking!
Oooh, an orchid!  Nodding lady's tresses (Spiranthes cernua)
Bottle gentian (Gentiana andrewsii)...
...and its white variant, forma alba
Not very large but given the waters I saw, this guy is far from the biggest in there...
Can't help photographing the pretty little brookies, but I've pulled much bigger ones outta here
Again, this isn't 9-footer water, pull out that little 3-weight...Joe-pye-weed just past its prime
Grass-of-Parnassius (Parnassia glauca) was all over the banks
Sometimes good things come in small packages
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Sep 1, 2016September 1st, 2016, 9:47 am EDT
Our cooler weather is staying with us and the trout are indeed biting fairly well again. On the Rifle Monday night I pulled in a bunch of little guys and three not-so-little ones, including the one shown below. The hatch dearth is also officially over, with heavy Nectopsyche caddis hatches making it look like snow flurries on the water as it starts to get dark. All fish were hitting EHCs in size 12, light grey at first then all white as it got dark. A #12 Royal Wulff fished into darkness did not yield any strikes.

Yesterday I hiked in, a good mile or more, to some waters I have not yet fished. As luck would have it, Tuesday's heavy rains riled up the water a bit, it was right up to the fringing vegetation and was off-colored (sort of orange-brown). Thinking I might just catch nothing, I still managed to pull out about a dozen fish, not big but likely because of the water situation. Unlike another reach about a mile downstream, this area had excellent trout habitat with plenty of cover - belly-button-deep pools, overhanging vegetation, a few logs, and plenty of undercut banks. Though I didn't catch or see any, it's easily 12-15-inch fish water, and there are plenty of big gravel riffles to provide insect fodder for the fishies. On top of that, at this time of the year this river turns into a wildflower garden and yesterday was no exception, as you can see...gonna focus on this place until the end of the season and then next spring when things reopen, it has good big-fish potential! BTW everything took a #10 hopper, big surprise.

My boss suggested not naming this stream on here to keep the trolls (i.e., baitfisherman) out, although I already saw a piece of fishing line with a split-shot hanging so of course it's not unknown. But Mike (Partsman) and Brandon (TimCat) know exactly where I'm talking about...

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

Posts: 121
TimCat on Sep 1, 2016September 1st, 2016, 1:25 pm EDT
Judging by your pics, it looks like you got a Michigan hat-trick... a brookie, brown, and rainbow.... throw in a creek chub for a grand slam. Ha
"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless
Partsman's profile picture
bancroft michigan

Posts: 321
Partsman on Sep 1, 2016September 1st, 2016, 4:19 pm EDT
Awesome pics, yes I think I know that spot. The beauty of the Rifle is exploring its varied waters and some interesting feeders. I also saw many grouse this spring up in the park, I think I will doing even more exploring this fall! We really are blessed here in Michigan, about an hour and half drive you can be fishing on some kind of trout stream big or small.

Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Sep 1, 2016September 1st, 2016, 5:44 pm EDT
Brandon, it's been a while since I last caught a Michigan Grand Slam (I don't count the chubs! Must be in the Salmonidae!), but I have done so before on this stream. Not many browns in there, once in a while I get one and it's always a surprise. I am always happy to get brookies though, as the rainbows seem pretty dominant in there these days. Not that I mind catching them either, especially when they decide to go airborne!

This place deserves much further investigation, and you are welcome to help me do it! BTW just noticed your quote - I LOVE IT! My attitude exactly. What I love is when people think that having a flyrod is a disadvantage until you start outcatching them 3 to 1 or more (sometimes its downright ridiculous)...

Mike, thank goodness not EVERYTHING closes on September 30th! The Rifle below Sage Lake Road and Reid Lake will be my hotspots after that. Let's hope this fall is as warm and lovely as the last one was.

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

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Sep 2, 2016September 2nd, 2016, 6:43 pm EDT
Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
RiverRocks's profile picture
UP of Michigan

Posts: 5
RiverRocks on Sep 5, 2016September 5th, 2016, 10:25 am EDT
Really pretty picture and really pretty fish. Thanks for sharing.

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