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> > What is the big DEAL about the HEX?

This topic is about the Mayfly Species Hexagenia limbata

It starts like a rise of small trout. There are dimples on the surface--fingerling trout eating midges, perhaps. But these are no fish. The water breaks and out pop the yellow sails of a giant Hexagenia dun. Then another. And another. A vortex appears in a flash below the mayfly and it vanishes with a slurp so loud it echoes off the distant bank. A square tail like a shark fin breaks the surface behind the swirl as a brown trout twice the size of your net retreats back to his deeper lair. The Hex hatch is on.

This Midwestern legend plays out every year on calm, dark, humid nights in early July. Anglers who only fly fish once a year drive hundreds of miles to play their part in the drama, while the mayflies themselves make the television news by showing up on doppler radar or calling snowplows out of dormancy to remove layers of Hexagenia (or "Hex") duns from the bridges. In the cold trout rivers of Wisconsin and Michigan, huge nocturnal brown trout whose usual menu consists of smaller brown trout become, for a week or so, prime dry fly quarry.

According to the literature, these are the second largest mayflies in the United States, behind the related Litobrancha recurvata flies. However, there are credible reports of limbata exceeding 40mm in some locales that challenge this assumption. Read more...

There are 25 more specimens...

The Discussion

SpinnerJune 21st, 2006, 7:17 pm
Posts: 1fishing in the dark.......
stepping in holes?

I hate the dark........

I don't need the hex........

TroutnutJune 22nd, 2006, 1:12 am
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2737
It's the only time of the year we dry fly types get a really good crack at some of the monster trout you spinner and streamer fishermen catch. There's nothing quite like the deep slurps of a mid-20-inch trout sucking down Hexes.

What I don't like about the hatch is how unreliable it is... and the fact that it requires a silty bottom. I hate wading in silt a lot more than in the dark. Dark + silt certainly sucks. It's still very much worth it if the bugs are out and the fish are rising, but if they're not, it's a fairly insane pursuit...
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
StreamcaddiSeptember 5th, 2009, 5:15 am
West Michigan

Posts: 3
Len, I'm with you. Night fishing is not for me. Those rocks and logs move around from the time you get to your fishing spot and you head back to the car. The last time I tried night fishing.I caught a BAT but no fish..
TrtklrSeptember 5th, 2009, 3:42 pm

Posts: 115
the hex is one of the most incedible experiences a fly fisherman will have. i went fly fishing on the north branch of the au sauble river west of grayling. i was lucky to experience it my first week of fly fishing, a gentleman from the fff was there when i was during the day and told me to come back about 8 that night. jason is right, a chance at a mid 20 inch brown on a dry is . . . a blast! the excitement is great. although, you don't need to use only dries, a hex nymph can be productive too. when the hatch starts, about 9-9:30, it's amazing. there are fish rising everywhere, when i was on the n branch there wasn't any one time when there wasn't at least 3 fish rising. it was frustrating for me cause i was so new to fly fishing, literally the second day of casting. jason i don't know if you have fished this area but where i was on the n branch(32) is very firm bottom. mostly gravel, and the bottom is real flat. all you have to do is walk out in the river and start casting. you need not cover a lot of river. i simply walked in and had more than enough fish to cast to right there without walking at all. your eyes adjust well after about 20 minutes. i have heard, not tried, that the best thing to do is wait until about midnight when the spinners start falling. i have posted before about the hex hatch, that the best way to catch it is wait for the first HOT days in late june. i also will not fish at night, except when the hex is on. and i too despise silty bottoms.
I have seen nothing more beautiful than the sunrise on a cold stream.
Jmd123September 6th, 2009, 6:27 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2610
I learned how to fly fish on the Hex, and there is nothing quite like it. It will drive you crazy, as it happens heavy on some nights but not on others, and not every stream has them (e.g., nothing on the Rifle). The best way to predict when it is going to happen is to watch for hatching on area lakes (e.g., for the Maple River in northern lower MI, Burt Lake is a great predictor, especially at Hoppie's Bar on East Burt Lake Road). You can count on the first stream hatches about a week later.

If you want to fish at night, LEARN THE WATER during daylight hours so you have a pretty good idea of where everything is (holes, logs, rocks, overhanging shrubs, etc.) before you go out there and trip or snag or kill yourself in the darkness. CARRY A FLASHLIGHT!!! Get there before the hatch comes off - in northern lower MI this is around 10:00 p.m. - and get yourself into a stretch of the river where you feel comfortable casting and know you won't just be putting your backcast right into the trees/shrubs/grass behind you. Relax as it's getting dark and scout locations where you think fish will be rising, generally a few feet out from close cover - logs, overhanging trees or shrubs, deep holes, or deep banks near grassy edges. These are where fish will establish their feeding lanes once darkness sets in and the insects come floating down the water. When it begins to happen, you will know - there is NOTHING subtle about it.

WHY fish the Hex hatch? Because the fish go INSANE. They will literally run into your leg and rise within an arm's length of you. EVERY fish on the stream will be feeding on them - big ones, little ones, and everything in between. You would never believe the stream holds that many fish if you stick to daylight hatches. On some nights the water seems to be literally boiling with fish. The little guys make little splashes; the medium-sized ones make big splashes; and the big boys just suck them off the top with a "gloop". Fish as late as you can, because the little guys fill up first whereas the bigger ones have to feed for longer to get their fill. And, I have heard, the real monsters actually target the little guys (like the brookies) because they are so distracted by the feeding frenzy they never see the jaws of death coming at them from below...

To be honest, I didn't do a whole lot of DAYLIGHT fishing for many years because, well, I felt too OBVIOUS. Geez, in that crystal-clear water I felt like every trout in the stream could see me coming while the sun was up! This is one of the biggest advantages to night fishing - less visibility, plus fish are braver and will feed farther out from cover (and away from potential snags). You can use heavier tippets (you will want to with bigger flies) and your presentations can be less precise, both because fish care less about a little sloppiness and will move farther to hit a fly.

I have done my best fishing for trout after dark, on many other hatches besides the Hex and with attractors when no hatches are happening. A size 10 White Wulff or Royal Wulff works wonders after dark and both are easy to see with their white wings. A cricket or katydid imititation can be a killer too since these insects are largely active at night. (Tie a hopper pattern in black with gray wings for a cricket, and in all green for a katydid.) Even when vision fades, you can hear and feel what's happening out there if you pay attention. And like I said, bring a flashlight because you are going to want to change flies, pull them out of streamside vegetation or logs, and it sure help when unhooking fish and finding your way back to the car. DON'T BRING A REALLY BRIGHT ONE or every fish will really see you coming.

I love night fishing, and not just for the trout. A whole different community of wildlife emerges after dark, and you'll hear them all around you. If you are afraid of the dark, I don't recommend this as you will hear things that will make you sh*t your waders!! E.g., screaming owls, beavers slapping their tails, and large mammals walking around on the banks. If you are not intimidated, however, there are LOADS of trout out there that you will never, ever see during daylight. BTW, bass will feed after dark, too.

Good luck, tight lines, and heavy hatches!

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
OldredbarnSeptember 8th, 2009, 12:45 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608
Jonathon, Jonathon, Jonathon!

Don't you be tellin' all these folks how much fun you are having after dark! They will just clog up your fishing hole...Tell them in stead how scary it is out there after dark. Hoogerheides, Side-Hill-Winders, bats, and bears...A man could just flat out disappear out there never to be heard from again...

A few years back, pre-Hex time, I was out on the South Branch of the afore mentioned Au Sable. I was in a section of the river I could probably wade blindfolded. It was closing in on midnight and I had spinners galore and was right where I had hoped to be when these so-called "Light-Henny" spinners showed up en masse.

The fish were out in the "Bread-Lines" feeding away and I was zeroed in on the action. This particlar spot is not a well marked access site and it's not an easy hike back to the car from here. It's a place where you should know beforehand when fishing it after dark.

I looked up from my fishing and looked downstream and there were two guys standing down there and one was waving his arms in the air. He was far enough away that I couldn't hear what he was saying and I shouted that I'd be down when the fish stopped feeding.

When I finally got down to these two guys they seemed a bit panicked. The first guy asked me if I knew the way off the river and back to the cars. I said yes and he just about hugged me. Seems that they had somehow got turned around and were actually lost. They thought they were going to have to sleep on the river.

I asked them if they had a flashlight and they only had one between them. Night-Fishing guys know to take a back up! Or two...I told him to turn it on and I then took him by the shoulders and turned him downstream. The tree that marked the "Exit" lit up like a Christmas tree with reflective tape etc that other night-time folks had used to mark the way. They had become so rattled at the prospect of sleeping on the river they lost some of their common-sense and just were not thinking straight.

I gave the guy without a lamp one of my extra and told them to follow me as close as possible and don't step off the path or you will be up to your hips in black muck. They thanked me all the way up the path back to the car and I was the prince for the night.

My wife has scolded me for a long time about fishing after dark. It worries her to no end. So, I seldom mention it...ever. Quite a few years back I leased a Bravada and it had On-Star on it. This was before there were many cell phone towers up in Crawford County and reception was nil.

I had heard that the phone in an On-Star system had more power even than a regular cell phone and I purchased some extra minutes that they offered as a special. One night, again near midnight, I was about to drive out of the Mason Tract and decided to try and call the wife just to see if the thing would work.

I pushed the button and spoke my phone number to the system and lo-and-behold the phone was ringing! My wife answered. "Hey sweetie! You won't believe where I'm calling you from. I can't believe it myself....I'm in the middle of the woods in the Mason Tact...Wow! This thing really works!"

"Spence...Do you know what time it is? It's after midnight! Are you fishing after dark again?!?"

"Ummmmm...Well...You know it's some distance from the river back to the car, I ate a sandwich...I've been on the river all day...and I had a couple cold Molson's, and I had to yank off the waders etc...All that takes a little time dear.


Oops! Busted!!!

Yeah! I think that everyone should be home and away from the river way before dark...You don't want to miss your favorite TV shows and you just might not find your way home if you stay out after dark...And the fish don't feed once the sun sets anyway...Right? At the least you may well have to sleep out on the sofa for a few days!

You all know that the Boogeyman can only come out once the sun has set and he just loves hanging around woods and rivers...That's what I've heard anyway.

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Jmd123September 8th, 2009, 1:52 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2610
I certainly appreciate your comments and reprimands, Spence. However, someone who is uncomfortable in the dark will NEVER get used to being on a stream at night. I have heard blood-curdling screams from owls that sounded like banshees straight out of Hell itself - it's only the fact that my biology background let me realize that they WERE owls that kept me from having the CRAP scared out of me. Then there was the night that the beaver snuck up behind me in silence only to make a very loud SPLASH about 4 feet from my a*s - I was so shook up I couldn't fish anymore and had to leave, literally shaking in my boots. There was the night I heard something big crunching though the surrounding forest that was at least the size of a human being but carried no flashlight - without a doubt, a black bear. Then there are the hordes of bats wheeling around you, and the enormous fishing spiders with 3-4 inch legspans, and the coyotes...Not to mention the deep holes filled with silt, the submerged boulders and tree trunks you can't see until you've tripped over them, spider webs in your face, mosquitos trying to fly up your nose and finding even a square millimeter of skin that you haven't covered with massive amounts of repellent, and just plain not having a clue WHERE YOU ARE as you described. It is ABSOLUTELY NOT for the faint of heart!!

Most people are afraid of the dark - it's a simple fact, one which keeps the sodium- and mercury-vapor lamp manufacturers rolling in $$$. I was told that if I wanted to catch trout I was just going to have to get used to it, but for many years I wouldn't go out there by myself because it was just too freaky. Well, amateur astronomy is also one of my favorite hobbies, and if you want to see some galaxies, you had better be in complete darkness with no lights whatsoever, not even your own (unless it's red, which doesn't impair night vision so much). I am just a natural "night owl" - I love staying up late after everyone else goes to sleep so I can feel like I have the whole world (universe?) to myself. And I DON'T sleep well if there is any light coming in my windows. Most peole are not like this, so I don't think we have much to worry about. I bet the guys you encountered haven't gone back out there in the dark since...

We are a breed apart. I don't expect the general fly-fishing public, if there is such a thing, to begin emulating our behavior.

Tight lines and loud splashes somewhere out in the darkness,
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
OldredbarnSeptember 8th, 2009, 2:28 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608

That's more like it...Scare the bejeezus out of them! Have you ever heard a lynx at night in the woods? My grandmother use to scare me when I stayed up on the farm as a kid telling me about that one. I have heard owls that their hoot sounds so human you think someone's hiding out there trying to pull your leg.

I must admit...That your eyes sure play tricks on you sometimes at night and you swear you see someone downstream only to find it's just a weird shaped sweeper.

I had the beaver greeting one time just after dark. I had moved upstream, out-of-sight of my fishing companions, when Bam! it slapped it's tail on the water...I thought, at first, it was my buddies throwing something in the water until I saw it pop up downstream.

The bats are always fun, eh?! I had one brush up against my rod in the dark. I think it thought it might be a branch or something to land on. I am a natural biting bug attractor and I think they are snatching the ones heading for some exposed skin of mine.

They seem to be actually playing around sometimes. One night I was walking to a small access stairs that you had to find between a couple sweepers. I could never quite find it all the time and ended up busting brush.

Imagine coming downstrean and you kind of round a corner of trees to get to these stairs. The woods almost create a "back-bay" like that is a little out from the main current. One night I was walking there and either bats or nighthawks, I couldn't decide which, were flying together criss-crossing in a figure eight pattern. They were flying only a foot or so above the water surface. I quietly walked in between them and they just kept it up like I wasn't even there...It was eery but cool.

How about this one. I fished the Huron last Thursday night. Just as it was getting dark I had some Iso spinners flying up and down right at head level. I was watching this male going up and down and thought about reaching out to snag it and take a look at it when a cedar wax-wing fluttered up and plucked him right out of the air in front of me! I felt bad for the little guy! He almost made it to mate...Oh well...So it goes!

Nature! Don't you just love it?

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
MartinlfSeptember 8th, 2009, 2:48 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3230
Great stories! I must admit that I've had some magic moments in the dark, and so long as I know my surroundings and don't have to cross any heavy water, I love fishing spinner falls in the dark. Shallow heads and tails of pools are my favorite places for this. If I lived where Hex fishing was really good, I'll bet I'd bite the bullet and even start going out at 10.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
OldredbarnSeptember 10th, 2009, 7:45 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608

We here in Michigan who haunt the Au Sable are rather fond of V. Marinaro and "Those Pennsyvania Boys". I have heard stories from their visits in the late 60's and they were given the nickname of "Wood Fairies" because folks spotted them just sitting in the woods a few yards from the stream just staring at the river.

They knew how to stalk a good fish. Anglers up here are a bit too anxious and plow down the middle of the river scaring every trout a mile in each direction. If folks would just learn to think a little more like a predator they would catch larger fish.

The instant gratification time we seem to be in now, in my opinion, doesn't really belong on a trout stream. Every trip to the stream should be a learning experience and a time to disconnect from the everyday stuff we have to deal with. I think that this has led to the recent popularity of streamer fishing and it really accounts for the intense interest in "Hex-Time".

All one needs to do with a streamer is walk downstream and toss to the structure. Walk a few more steps and "chuck-and-duck". You don't need to know anything about hatches at all and it's big fish oriented.

The same is true regarding the Hex. Fish are in a feeding frenzy after dark and throw all caution to the wind. In the middle of it all you almost don't need to cast but a few feet...You can pratically walk up and tap the monster on the snout. They flat out lose it during the feed.

There are people who only fish the Hex and after it's over the river is vacant except for canoes. It's a "best-kept-secret". Post Hex the river is practically yours and the hatches don't stop. The fish still need to feed and fatten up right up to the winter snows.

I must admit that the Hex is something that really needs to be experienced though. It gets a bit strange in northern Michigan from say Brown Drake time through the Hex. Maids at the local motels don't start to clean up rooms until late in the afternoon after the night-owls start to reappear after pulling an all nighter.

There are groups of guys and families that have their "secret" spots on the river and pratically set up camp streamside only at this time of year. They return to the same bend in the river year after year.

The stretches of the stream that are known as "Hex" water take on the appearence of the Lodge freeway in downtown Detoit, but it's a midnight rush-hour. It has to be seen to be believed.

For someone that has some trepidation about wandering around the woods after dark I have a little advice. The best way to see this phenomena for youself, and an angler should at least do it seeing the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone, is to hire a guide and float the Hex water with the rest of the thundering herd. One needs to get the flavor of the whole scene and you need to be elbow to elbow with all those other red-eyed Hex-o-maniacs. You wouldn't have gone to Woodstock without a toke or two, right?!

I know you are probably a Penn State fan and as I sit here typing this I'm less than 30 mins from Ann Arbor, but I have always had a good time with the Penn State boys I have run in to over the years. They have always shared some Pennsylvania micro brew of some sort or other with me back at the car. I once even had the chance to fish with Steve Hoovler from Blue Ribbon Flies out in Yellowstone and we had a blast and he's a rabid Penn State fan having lived most of his life there.

I think Fred that you need to tell Spence and Jonathon to put up or shut up and have them show you sometime the wonderfully mad time that can be had during the Hex in Michigan. Maybe we could look at it as a little pay-back for you letting us "borrow" such greats as Marinaro, Chauncey Lively, Charlie Fox, James Leisenring, and Joe Humphreys...just to name a few.

Take Care! Tight lines, as they say, and just imagine yourself standing in the middle of a stream, in the middle of the dark, trying your damnest to control an angry 2-Footer+...Those big, brown, Michigan Salmo's have been known to kick a little ass from time to time, but you will love it!


P.S. One afternoon I was walking around a big hole on the South Branch of the Au Sable. It was a bright sunny day with little to no bugs on the water. Things had slowed down and I was looking forward to something happening that evening. I was nearly on the bank on the outside edge of the hole when the quiet was disturbed by a large trout that leaped from the water and spashed around for a bit and disappeared again. I went, "Whoa! What the hell was that?!" I looked down deep in the hole only to see this same trout banging it's snout in to a mud bank leaving a huge dust storm downstream from him. He was flipping out! He was trying to dislodge Hex nymphs from the silt bank and wasn't going to take no for an answer. A couple anglers happened to walk by and I showed them what was going on and "Mr. Dryfly" asked, "Hey! Anyone have a Hex nymph on them?"

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Jmd123September 10th, 2009, 11:15 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2610
BTW, Spence, I should mention the big snapping turtle and the 3-foot watersnake that swam past me on after-dark excursions in the San Marcos River in TX...The snapper actually bumped into my leg, but as they are totally unaggressive underwater I wasn't too worried. I doubt anyone else would have been as calm as I was, though.

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Jmd123September 10th, 2009, 11:23 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2610
P.S. Spence, you do write a good post. I hope you (and everyone else) enjoy mine as much as I enjoy yours.

When I am on a trout stream, I wade slowly and quietly and keep my eyes and ears open for anything out of the ordinary. A funny little sound or a strange disturbance on the surface automatically puts me into stalking mode. In the meantime, however, I will usually toss an attractor (Royal Wulff/Coachman) or searching pattern (caddis or hopper) to all good-looking water/cover, and I've had more than a few fish come out of nowhere when there wasn't an insect in sight.

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
MartinlfSeptember 10th, 2009, 2:43 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3230
Great post, Spence! Thanks.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
StrmfshrSeptember 12th, 2009, 7:03 am
Posts: 12

a lot of talk of the au sable, one of my favorite places to throw a dry. i was once on the south branch during an afternoon hatch, literally snowing in reverse as i like to say, browns were all around. and i couldn't help but think to myself, self, these fish weren't here the last time i was here. i know some will tell me, 'they are there, your just not catching them'. but i feel the trout population move kinda from hatch to hatch. or where the most insect activity is. i say this because i've walked different stretches and sometimes they are on fire with fish and other times there is zero evidence of fish. what gives? any validity to that theory?
MartinlfSeptember 12th, 2009, 12:28 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3230
Trout clearly move out of sheltering lies in to feeding lies and back again. I've fished riffles that were absolutely boiling with fish during a hatch, but barren the next time I was there. I've even seen a big pod of trout finish up a Trico hatch in a shallow riffle and swim upstream in a line to a deep hole where they all took shelter from the brightening sun.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
StrmfshrSeptember 12th, 2009, 12:45 pm
Posts: 12
what i'm thinking is they literally will move from say south branch into main, and then maybe to north branch and to big creek. over the course of maybe a week or two or three. the day it was snowing, my friend and i fished the north branch in the morning, then south branch in the afternoon. north branch nothing was going on, we covered a lot of water and nothing. went to south, with the snow, like i said browns all around. hit like 13 fish in a couple hours. and i understand hatches take place at different times of the day. but there were no people fishing the north and we went to the south and we had a hard time finding a place to park. i've seen it the opposite too.
MartinlfSeptember 12th, 2009, 7:38 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3230
Yes, I'm sure fish make larger moves as well. There is a small spring creek in PA and its fish typically move into a larger creek during the fall and winter, then move back, at least partially during spring and summer. Rainbows are notorious for their wanderlust.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
OldredbarnSeptember 21st, 2009, 3:02 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608

I think the movement you mention, from South to Main to North or Big Creek, is too far of a distance and the fish would need a map...He! He!

It is more likely that the emergence of visable bugs is what's moving. Say you are there around Light Henny time. These partcular bugs live in a type of habitat and actually may not be everywhere in a stream. For example you wouldn't expect to find too many Hex where there isn't proper muck for them to burrow in to.

The faster water would be expected to hold nymphs that have adapted to that environment and you may not see them in the slower stretches. If you are standing in a piece of river that might hold our Light Henny example you might not find a "clinger" type species. So if the Henny hatch is over or has moved upstream a bit you have to move with it.

I don't know if you fish exclusively with dries, but in those places where you didn't see ant hatching bugs maybe a nymph would of worked. You could toss a nymph pattern designed for that type of water or maybe an attactor would work.

Us dry fly types sometimes find ourselves doing a great deal of waiting for the hatch or "pounding" the water with something appropriate. Depending on the time of year I have had some fun in slow periods dropping an adult stone pattern right up next to structure.

There have been some studies done on the resident browns on the Au Sable that show that during the season they don't move all that much. If it's a primo feeding spot something would have to dislodge an old brown from there and he would probably be a bigger one. They do as Louis said, have places where they feel protected and then "feeding lanes" nearby.

Deep water, or undercut banks, or structure, or overhanging trees provide a feeling of security. But when the food is rolling down the bubble stream it's hard to pass up.

I have a spot on the South Branch that if you happen by at the right time the fish are lined up in a row sucking in bugs. If you saw this spot during the day you would walk right by it. There are some beautiful cedars on the bank and stick out over the river three or four feet.

For a couple years I would show up here right at dark and have a field day. Then I discovered one night that I was settling for the "little ones"...14"-16" fish. I spotted a rise back up under the sweeper that moved some water...OK I said...So there is Mr. Big. The flies, whether duns or spinners would peel off from the bubble stream and the current would move them gently back in to the still water where they would disappear in to the gullet of a lazy old brown. Why fight the current if the current will bring you your dinner?

I think we sometimes get mesmorized by what we see or think we see. I have a friend that when all hell breaks lose during a good hatch he will ignore all the little feeders and go "head-hunting"...Look for the feeding big fish in big fish locations. At night the big boys may move out in to the current if they have to...Otherwise look for little sips within a quarter inch from a log in a spot where your cast is probably going to get tangled. He is there for a very good reason...It's not easy for anything to harm him.

Now during the spawn, when feeding isn't number one on the brain, these fish move and it could be some distance to where they spawn. But that's another story.

I have been fishing in an area where you might swear that there are no fish here. But when there is a hefty hatch or spinner fall the river just boils. These fish may have brains the size of a pea, but they are supremely adapted to where they live and are experts at staying alive. During a good hatch...say the Hex for example and during the spawn, they lose control of that little pea brain and have been known to slip up.

I don't know the exact percentage here, but it's a well known fact that the largest part of a fishes diet is satisfied below the surface. This is probably true even during a very large hatch. Why rise to the surface and expose yourself to danger when the food is right in front of your nose moving up and down trying to figure out if it's time to hatch or not.

Anyway! I doubt that the fish are really moving anywhere and I'll bet you they aren't starving either. This is my nickels worth...

Take Care!

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Ratman1967October 26th, 2009, 7:48 pm
Posts: 1I have been nipped at by otters, dived on by bald eagles and even had whitecaps break over my float tube all in pursuit of the hex hatch. It is all worth it when the hatch comes off as planned (hoped for. I could live without the hex hatch, and I could live without sex...
I hope to never have to live without either!

A NW trout nut
Jmd123October 29th, 2009, 10:35 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2610
WHITECAPS during Hex season??? Man, where are you fishing??? Some wild crazy Oregon high-mountain lake, perhaps?


P.S. MY biggest complaint during Hex season is the MOSQUITOS which inevitably accompany the hatch on those warm summer nights...Try to keep every square millimeter of your skin covered with reppellent while trying not to MELT your fly line.
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...

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