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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.

Lateral view of a Male Baetidae (Blue-Winged Olive) Mayfly Dun from Mystery Creek #308 in Washington
This dun emerged from a mature nymph on my desk. Unfortunately its wings didn't perfectly dry out.
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.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Aug 26, 2007August 26th, 2007, 10:37 am EDT
I buddy called this morning to mention he saw lots of ants on the main stem Delaware. Actually he indciated that it appeared the ants were just literally all over the river but he didn't see any rises. Sometimes it takes a few days for the trout to figure out that ants are tasty before they start to rise freely to them. I've seen late August and September afternoons where there are so many ants and rising trout it is just hard to believe. Tough fishing though as the ants are miniscule, on the order or #22 and #24 and 7X.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
State College, PA

Posts: 103
Smallstream on Aug 26, 2007August 26th, 2007, 11:17 am EDT
I have never fished the Delaware but have seen pictures of it and it looks very big, I have always read and heard that fishing ants and other terrestrials on big rivers like that isnt very effective. thats pretty sweet how you can fish terrestrials on that big water (I bet a little more fun than nymphing too). Is much of the Delaware wadeable or do you usually need a driftboat?
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Aug 26, 2007August 26th, 2007, 12:16 pm EDT
Much of the main stem is wadeable but the problem is there are just not that many public access points. From Hancock, NY where the two branches join down to Calicoon about 25 miles downstream there are only a handful of public access points. I have a Hyde drift boat and like to float from Hancock to Buckingham access, a ramp in PA, a distance of about seven miles. I like the releatively short distance as I can literally spend the whole day on the river and just plan my fishing so as night approaches I will be within a half mile or less of the take-out.

That being said the character of the river, when it is at least 1200 cfs, is one of riffles followed by pools that can easily be half a mile long and too deep to wade throughout most of their lengths. If you have any interest in fishing the river you can PM me and I'll give you directions to a couple of drive-in access points. If you have a pontoon boat or kayak you can see a lot of the river and fish most of the better places for the cost of a $30 car shuttle.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Aug 26, 2007August 26th, 2007, 12:26 pm EDT
"heard that fishing ants and other terrestrials on big rivers like that isnt very effective."

When you fish a big river it is important not to be overwhelmed by the sheer size of it. Just remember that trout are going to like to lie in the same places in a big river as in a smaller stream or creek. Just mentally cut the width and length of a pool or riffle up into little fishable sections and you will be able to feel more comfortable with it and begin to learn which feeding lanes the fish feed in.

When you go to your favorite little creek do you just step into the water and pitch your fly anywhere? I doubt that you do that or you won't be catching many trout. In a big river you approach the edge with your eyes open as often there may be fish rising right near the bank if others have not waded through the shallows before you got there. You just look for current seams where fast and slow transition, check out the little eddy behind that rock within your casting range, bounce an attractor nymph through a couple of likely looking riffles. You'll see how easy it is to get comfortable with bigger water. Just remember bigger water is often much deeper water and if you are foolhardy enough to try a crossing in unfamilair water you might wind up in big trouble.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Aug 26, 2007August 26th, 2007, 2:27 pm EDT
Heh heh. Wbranch's warning reminds me of a now-funny story from the first time I fished in Colorado. My wife was with me fishing a part of the lower Roaring Fork where it's pretty fast and deep. The road ran right next to the river for a long stretch, so we crossed at one of the few possible places and I began fishing from the other side, thinking I'd be able to get some presentations that the fish weren't used to seeing. Finally, it was getting dark, and my wife and I had to cross back over, now well upstream of the place we had crossed initially. I decided it would be best to cross where the current was fast but I knew it would be shallow, and I had my wife wade just downstream of me so I could break the water for her. Well, the water I was pretty sure was shallow soon got almost waist deep on me, and I could feel the gravel washing under my boots as the water buoyed me more and more. My wife, a few inches shorter than I, finally couldn't keep her feet under her and fell in. I grabbed her hand, just like in the movies, and somehow kept both her and myself from taking a ride in the rapids. She, meanwhile, was more concerned about getting her camera wet than anything else, so she had one hand high in the air as she surfed along at arms length from me. I don't even remember how I finally got us across, but the next thing I knew we were on the bank. She was pretty cold and shaken up. The camera was fine.

Lesson: Don't take your pregnant wife fishing on rivers typically used for whitewater rafting. Oh, did I forget to mention before that she was pregnant? Yeah. My son's first fishing trip.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Aug 26, 2007August 26th, 2007, 2:32 pm EDT

Ur craze man! Fishing is great but I shudder to think about the times I have fallen in fast water, or fell out of my bass boat, or wished I'd worn my PFD wading some deeper than expected water.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Aug 26, 2007August 26th, 2007, 3:01 pm EDT
i've posted it before, maybe here: in new water, especially if it's larger than you usually fish 1) wear your tallest waders and 2) use a stick, any stick, to gauge the depth.

and to absolutely guarantee that you will never ever get wet, take a change of clothes. yep, only time i ever had to use them, they were at home. Best Fishing Buddy had to take me to the Wal-Mart where i shopped dripping wet and told the cashier i didn't need the bag, thanks...my private pantheon now includes the guy who invented the fleece track suit.

oh, yeah, and ants taste like lemon salad dressing...would that make the fish tasty?
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra

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