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> > The fabled hex hatch...

Summer_dougJune 21st, 2018, 7:30 pm
Detroit, MI

Posts: 56
So, I have never partaken, but I hear that it is on and tomorrow night will be my first foray into the backwaters of the Au Sable. Any advice?
From Michigan
Jmd123June 22nd, 2018, 2:35 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2530
Bring a flashlight, but not too bright, just enough to see what you are doing when changing a fly. TURN YOUR BACK TO THE RIVER when you turn it on!

Make sure you have plenty of insect repellent!!

Don't be afraid of the bats, they won't run into you. Just try not to hook one!

Wade slowly, once it gets dark you can't see what's in front of you, such as holes, logs, rocks, etc.

Have a good stash of Hex patterns, and be sure to bring along some Light Cahills or White Wulffs in size 12, as a white Stenacron (used to be Stenonema) hatches around the same time as the Hex, and if there aren't many Hex on the water (it is highly variable from night to night), trout WILL feed on those "little white ones", as my old flyfishing mentor Terry Sharik used to call them.

Use heavy tippet after dark, like 2x or even 0x. Fish can't see it well at night and some fish will be LARGE, and the heavier tippet turns over the big #6 Hex patterns better, as they have some air resistance. Put on a good fresh one too, big fish will find all of your bad knots.

Be prepared to LISTEN for fish because eventually you won't be able to see anything.

Best hatches are on dark, humid nights, but as I said above, they are somewhat unpredictable. One night it is just raging, and then the next night nothing...

BEST OF LUCK! I hope you get on some really nice ones out there as this hatch does bring them up. I also hope you get to actually see a mating swarm, it is quite spectacular and they make quite a buzzing sound. I walked into one once, and they just parted for me and closed back around once I was in the swarm. VERY cool. One night I also got to see them flying in front of a waxing gibbous moon, their gossamer wings lit up like diamonds...

Oh, and don't be surprised if you feel fish run into your legs. I am NOT kidding! When this hatch is on for real, fish lose their minds, like rising less than a rod length in front of you, and bouncing off your shins!

Tight lines, and no breakoffs! And we want PICS!!

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
PartsmanJune 22nd, 2018, 2:50 pm
bancroft michigan

Posts: 386
Safety wise, go to the area you want to fish, learn the feel of river bottom, don't deviate, bad things happen at night. If you can get a head lamp with the red option this will not scare fish off. Put your cell phone and camera in a plastic bag. Listen for the fish rising, big slurps, short cast. Please be careful. and post up some good pics.
Summer_dougJune 22nd, 2018, 9:25 pm
Detroit, MI

Posts: 56
Thanks for the tips guys! I lucked into an 18 inch brown trout (my new personal best) which hammered my fly and went airborne four or five times. I’ll try to figure out how to post pictures so you can laugh at the expressions on my face.

We definitely didn’t hit a hatch but there were some spinners and that is what fooled the brown. I think we were a few days late and we may move to fishing the Upper Manistee.

The night fishing may not be for me. The wading was absolutely insane through those muck banks, but I’m glad I had a chance to experience it. If anything gets me out again, it’ll be the fact I didn’t really see the hex hatch (hahaha).

I wish I would have seen your comment about the little white ones, Jonathon! That was absolutely what was happening tonight.

EDIT: now that I think about it, I really need to see that mating swarm. Your description makes me feel like I really am missing out!
From Michigan
Jmd123June 23rd, 2018, 6:17 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2530
Well done, Doug!! Yes, I want to see that fish! And yes, the Light Cahills will bring up the big ones, and they're a great "backup hatch" in case you don't see the Hex. I popped two 15-inchers on the Maple River one night, both on #12 White Wulffs. The first one sounded like he hit the fly on the way down after a thrashing leap (it was getting pretty dark!), and the second one just ate it with a GULP. Waaaaay back in 1989, the year before I started tying my own...

So yeah, next time be sure you have some white mayfly imitations in case the Hex are a no-show. As I said, there are no guarantees a hatch will occur on a given night...but fish will still be looking up! Give them an alternative and they'll gobble it...

Again, well done and good luck on the next trip!


P.S. Yes, wading in the dark can be intimidating!
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
RogueratJune 23rd, 2018, 10:04 am
Posts: 471

timely advice and TX to Doug for posting original topic, coincidentally I'm headed 'north' for 3-4 days of R & R on the upper Platte, the Boardman, and whatever other water I can find time to visit.
Hex spinner patterns are in the vise today, and TX to Jonathon regarding the Light Cahills as well.

tight lines,


'Less is more...'

Ludwig Mies Vande Rohe
WbranchJune 23rd, 2018, 2:15 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2723
Partsman wrote;

bad things happen at night.

Everything that Jon wrote about is why I have never had one iota of interest in fishing once it really gets dark. I tried it once and absolutely hated it. I will fish until 10:00 on the Missouri in MT as it is right on the edge between Mountain Time and Pacific Time. I understand though why some guys like because of the lure of big trout. Me on the other hand derives a great deal of pleasure from seeing the rise, seeing the head eat the fly, and enjoying the spirited runs and jumps that are mostly visual pleasure.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Summer_dougJune 23rd, 2018, 7:38 pm
Detroit, MI

Posts: 56
Matt, what you said about seeing the rise and eat is totally on point. Night fishing was a weird experience despite my personal best trout (nowhere near most people’s best, but I’m proud).

In the night, it was a complete guess about fly location and drift. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to bring something to the surface and then the net. Although I loved the experience, I think this may be the last foray into the deep night.

This may seem like a dumb question given that it’s been discussed before, but how do I post a picture?
From Michigan
WbranchJune 23rd, 2018, 8:54 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2723
Hi Doug,

(nowhere near most people’s best, but I’m proud).

An 18" fish is a great trout and you should be proud. You told me you haven't been fly fishing that long so getting one that size is a good accomplishment. I know it was a long time, like years, before I caught my first 18" trout on a fly.

This may seem like a dumb question given that it’s been discussed before, but how do I post a picture?

Not a dumb question. Go to the Forum Code Page

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will see the code page highlighted in blue. Photobucket used to store pictures and let us paste those pictures elsewhere. Photobucket no longer permits 3rd party hosting. You will need to belong to another hosting service to upload pictures to the Forum.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Summer_dougJune 24th, 2018, 4:54 am
Detroit, MI

Posts: 56
Thanks, Matt. For the encouragement and the tip!

When I’m back down state, I’ll try to post before heading to Florida for a week.
From Michigan
TNEALJune 27th, 2018, 3:55 am

Posts: 278
you might also try some day time hex fishing... the big flies frequently emerge on Michigan rivers during the day, especially overcast days.I and many others I know have taken large trout in the afternoon during Hex emergences. Few fish it; I think its generally perceived as a night time event. If you do, use a fly several sizes smaller than the standard 6 3xl everyone uses at night. I have a pattern for day Hex fishing that has never let me down. PM me if you want the recipe...
WillyJuly 2nd, 2018, 6:40 am
Chicago, IL

Posts: 47
Shhhhhh ;)
Check out my fishing pictures on Instagram.

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