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Great Olive-Winged Drakes

Like most common names, "Great Olive-Winged Drake" can refer to more than one taxon. They're previewed below, along with 3 specimens. For more detail click through to the scientific names.

Mayfly Species Hexagenia rigida

These are sometimes called Great Olive-Winged Drakes.
This species is reportedly important in places, but it is not discussed very much in angling literature. I suspect its importance is very localized.

Mayfly Species Hexagenia limbata

These are very rarely called Great Olive-Winged Drakes.
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.
Hexagenia limbata (Hex) Mayfly NymphHexagenia limbata (Hex) Mayfly Nymph View 9 Pictures
Collected June 8, 2005 from in
Added to by on May 26, 2006
Female Hexagenia limbata (Hex) Mayfly DunFemale Hexagenia limbata (Hex) Mayfly Dun View 8 Pictures
Collected June 13, 2005 from in
Added to by on May 26, 2006
Male Hexagenia limbata (Hex) Mayfly SpinnerMale Hexagenia limbata (Hex) Mayfly Spinner View 13 Pictures
Collected June 26, 2005 from in
Added to by on May 26, 2006
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