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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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Posts: 7
Idryfly on Jan 29, 2018January 29th, 2018, 9:29 am EST
I'm not sure if the forum wants you copy and pasting videos so rather than do so I will simply state if you you tube the CF KNOT......the video should come up. This is essentially a knot in which if tied correctly....your knot attaches to bottom shank by the hook eye making your terminal tippet come straight out and up....creating a small "hump or bump" which essentially keeps the first 1 to 2 inches of tippet off water. I have not had a chance to field test it but I will say it intrigues me. I guess the premise is a wary technical trout will not see the fly connection ???? but would they not still see the tippet going up into the air rather than lying on the water?
I generally use a davy Knot for my dry fly connection .......it serves me very well. In challenging slow pools I will sometimes use Loon's snake river mud to degrease my tippet. This concept is interesting.
Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Jan 29, 2018January 29th, 2018, 3:47 pm EST
Try the double davy. One of our knotmasters tested it against the davy and found that it's a lot stronger. You can find the thread by searching davy knot, I believe.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Posts: 7
Idryfly on Jan 29, 2018January 29th, 2018, 9:48 pm EST
Thanks. and yes..I sometimes add one more turn and also use the Double Davy - the simplest and easiest knot I know. I will field test this CF knot just to see if it makes a difference.
PaulRoberts's profile picture

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Feb 2, 2018February 2nd, 2018, 1:44 am EST
Neat. Always love seeing new knots. A bit like a Palomar knot.

I'm not so sure that fish "see the leader" as much as respond to drag. Will be curious how it pans out. Let us know.

Posts: 278
TNEAL on Feb 3, 2018February 3rd, 2018, 3:27 am EST
Do fish see the hook sticking out from our artificials? I'm guessing its drag rather than visibility of leader that puts them off.
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Feb 3, 2018February 3rd, 2018, 3:53 am EST
I have never given a single thought to whether or not the tippet is visible to the trout. If they see the tippet they probably can also see the hook hanging under the fly. As others have mentioned I am a firm believer in presentation of the fly to the quarry in a drag free manner. This is especially true when casting dry flies to rising trout or trying to present a nymph to unseen trout.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Posts: 7
Idryfly on Feb 3, 2018February 3rd, 2018, 9:54 pm EST
I concur with the sentiments of drag free drift being the primary if not possibly the only real variable.....aside from fly choice And of course a down and across presentation which is also primarily how I fish - means the fly itself enters the trout''s zone of vision first. But you will hear many experts tout the fact that this is effective exactly because the fish sees the fly first before any tippet or leader material......which shouldn't really matter if a tippet's visibility means nothing to the fish. I plan on remaining with my Davy Knot but figured the next time I find myself scratching my head due to a finicky repeated refusal I'll give this a shot.
PaulRoberts's profile picture

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Feb 5, 2018February 5th, 2018, 4:34 am EST
Fly first works, but not bc the fish see the tippet, much less know what it is. Instead, I believe it's tippet movement that does it.

Talking about tough fish here, and those in flat water, if you have a nice long laminar flow ahead of your fish you may be able to fish from downstream (or across) effectively, bc you may be able to cast up past the fish further from the side, and touch down further upstream. Fish doesn't see line in the air or detect the line/leader disturbance on the water. Downstream still works, if the circumstances allow, and you are a darn good caster.

But, if you can't, or aren't, upstream is often the best way in. First it's easier to get a good drift from upstream by adding slack, rather than having to do as much precision casting and mending. And it's easier to keep the line and leader -where most of our troubles lie- the furthest from the fish.

But, if the fish doesn't take on the first drift, you then you have to retrieve your fly. To do that we have to let the whole shebang drift past the fish, which works, unless the shebang moves. Then, just like downstream, the game is often up.

This is my take anyway.

Posts: 278
TNEAL on Feb 6, 2018February 6th, 2018, 1:32 am EST
recall the experiment of the gentleman who pushed sections of 20 lb mon through grasshoppers so the mono was visible sticking out both sides then threw them on the water. No refusals; inhaled mono and all.

Things are getting a bit weird up here. Nighttime refusals during the hex hatch are being met with changing from mono tippet to fluoro with the hopes that this reduces tippet visibility.At night. Under cover of darkness. I'll let you guess at the results...

PaulRoberts's profile picture

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Feb 6, 2018February 6th, 2018, 1:46 am EST
Tim, Another thought, something I must do in turbulent water surfaces, is have a leader that floats ON the surface film, not in it. It makes a huge difference in achieving drag-free drifts bc the surface film is "sticky". "Sticky" in multiple places along a length of leader is a recipe for drag. I eventually realized that, after a few hours of fishing, I'd start getting refusals. "Am I just getting tired? Lazy?" I wondered. But I came to realize that the mono leader is absorbing water. Adding more floatant to it, after a few hours of fishing, didn't help. I started switching to a fresh dry leader and, miraculously, was back in business. You are probably on less than turbulent water, but, it's just a thought.

As to the original topic, if one could keep the whole leader, or even the tippet, off the water, our problems would be solved. I've always said, the greatest breakthrough in angling would come if we could get rid of the line entirely. :) Line is where it's at in fishing.

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