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PostPosted: July 17th, 2017, 8:54 am 
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Joined: December 5th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 5107
Location: Manchester, ME
I'm reading the reports of cosmic stonefly hatches and big salmon with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it's a long time since I've landed a 20 inch fish, or a landlocked salmon, and I love fishing big dry flies on a big river.

On the other, I spent the weekend on a combination of small streams and a used-to-be popular trout pond. Did well on brook trout on the stream between bouts of pouring rain on Saturday, including a couple that were the largest I've ever taken from the stream in question at a fat 14". After supper, two hours on a favorite pond got me into the best hex hatch I've seen in years. Just enough bugs to make rising trout common; not so many it was hard to get them to look at an artificial.

I measured one of the naturals--1.75" from head to tip of abdomen, with tails over an inch beyond that. Wings over an inch high above the body. These are flies that challenge the capacity of a fly box, so I've taken to carrying mine in a plastic container about the size of a hockey puck. My emergers and duns were too small by about half, but still fooled enough fish for me and the young man who was with me to be happy. My only complaint is the trouts' preference for an emerger pattern with a marabou tail and body. It's a one-fish fly, as it only works if the deer hair wing floats just right, and that is impossible after it's been slimed by a fish. Even with a head lamp and size 4 hooks, changing flies in the dark is hard on my old eyes. I think it's time to experiment on a version with a foam wing, but it's probably too late to test it again this year.

We fished a different reach of the same stream yesterday and it was suspiciously devoid of trout except for juveniles. A lot of that section appears to have been bulldozed and dynamited during log driving days, and the lack of boulders and other cover may be the problem. There are still deep pools at ledge drops, but they have smooth gravel or bedrock bottoms and don't seem to hold the fish that ought to be there. It would be a hell of a job to get in there to do any restoration work. Walking in with a fly rod was tough enough.

We didn't see another angler all weekend.


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PostPosted: July 17th, 2017, 9:55 am 
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FFIMer

Joined: July 21st, 2011, 9:30 pm
Posts: 735
Location: Brunswick
I'm right there with ya Jeff... it's been quite some time since I have caught a decent sized fish, last September for me. I always seem to find a couple big salmon every year, but it's been 4 years since I've landed a bkt over 15. I didn't even fish a dry fly this year, and was hoping to make some early morning trips NW recently but work got in the way of that. At least the salt has been pretty good to me this year.

I've never fished a hex hatch, seen a few the morning after while delivering to has stations next to ponds and lakes, but I just don't fish ponds. I got an invite from a friend yesterday to to go but it was too late on a work night for me to make the 2 hour drive. One of these days I'll hit it on a weekend. I seem to mostly forget about trout after the 3rd week in June, even earlier this year.

Peter

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"A good game fish is too valuable to be caught only once"
Lee Wulff


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PostPosted: July 17th, 2017, 3:26 pm 
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FFIMer

Joined: April 1st, 2010, 10:35 am
Posts: 235
Location: flatland and Vienna Me.
Jeff I came up with a fly (could be out there but I haven't seen it before) for the hex hatch that works pretty good and simple to tie.
I took round yellow foam that comes in the package in loops (not straight pieces)

#6 tmc 200 curved hook wrap thread to end of hook and back to front

cut a piece of foam about 1/2 the shank length longer than the hook

slit the foam so the curve of the foam is curved away from the slit. The slit should cover about 3/4 of the shank, and super glue the foam to the shank. I spiraled the thread down the shank and back to hold the foam and give a segmented look.

I hackled the fly with white hackle (heavy) and added a white deer hair down wing that extended over the tail.

Simple and it worked for me. I still can't post pictures, but I hope this is enough if you want to give it a try.


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PostPosted: July 17th, 2017, 4:46 pm 
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Joined: December 5th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 5107
Location: Manchester, ME
Igloo, that sounds interesting. I convinced myself years ago that an emerger pattern with a wing projecting above the surface, the body down in the film, and a shuck hanging below is important. Facts--like people catching the hell out of trout on flies like yous--probably won't erase that prejudice now. :wink:

I might ADD some dun patterns of yours, but I've still got to find a non-deer hair version of the emerger. (Selene Dumaine's Hexamungous looks great and many swear by it, but it's never worked for me.)

The Hex Cripple shown here is similar to what I use. http://www.flyfishinginsidernewsletter.com/flyfishusa/flies/the-hex-hatch.html


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PostPosted: July 17th, 2017, 6:43 pm 
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FFIMer

Joined: April 17th, 2016, 2:18 pm
Posts: 67
Location: Bath, ME
I'd take a Hex hatch any day...I've never had the privilege! Sounds like you got into a good one. I guess its similar to a stonefly hatch except at night. I've found over 35 years of doing this...pattern rarely makes much difference...size matters more. I ALWAYS have a few large Stimulators in yellow and light olive as plan "B" and it often bails my butt out. Last Friday I had heard there were some stones going off but it wasn't rated as epic so I threw a few into the box...I needed more but at least there was something. There are some nicely tied #6 in the trees if you need some!. I threw some smaller one's (#10-12)but they were not nearly as effective as the #6's. Plan "C" is foam ants...haven't enacted that this year....yet.... but I have caught trout on ants every month of the year except Jan, Feb and March. I fished Christmas eve day one warm December about 10 years ago on the Willamantic in CT...fish were coming up on the banks and I couldn't buy a look on BWO's and assorted small ****...went to the car for lunch and thought..."WTF they worked on the Swift the day after Thanksgiving"...put on a #12 black foam ant with a big fat yellow foam hump in the middle of it so I could see it... bang 2nd cast and I was into a nice 12" brown, any trout is a nice trout in December. Wild trout and salmon are awesome in any size.


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PostPosted: July 18th, 2017, 8:43 am 
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Joined: May 16th, 2013, 10:33 am
Posts: 88
Location: Norridgewock Maine
Love the Hex hatch. I used to fish the pocket of FFO ponds near Parlin Pond township and even maintained a beater canoe on one of them. I agree that size is critical. I also used to fish a wiggler nymph in some of the ponds before the surface activity started. made it with a jointed body and had great luck fishing it with slow retrieves.

Jeff I have to agree with you about the small and medium stream and pond crowd dwindling across the state. I am one of those who in the last couple of years who has exclusively fished rivers. Other than some bass fishing in the Belgrades I have fished the big rivers. Recently I brought my two boys to a small spring fed brook in my hometown that used to be swarming with kids trying to catch brook trout. There was not a single foot print on any of the banks. The Brookies were still there anywhere from 3 to an occasional 10 inch monster, just like always , just no people except us.


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PostPosted: July 18th, 2017, 9:00 am 
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FFIM-aholic

Joined: February 14th, 2007, 1:00 am
Posts: 1203
Location: New Hampshire
I am starting to see the charm of the small streams myself... i spent an afternoon on one on Friday (Bastille's day)... short casts, short drifts, short but fast/furious little fish. I love the fact that small streams are just miniature big rivers, all the same rules apply... kind of like sailing a 40' vs. a Sunfish... all the rules apply.

I am glad to see that I'm not the only one with a slot start.... 6 days of fishing this year, 2 fish over 15" only, but lots of one and two fish days.... with a 4" brownie saving the skunk on two of those days.

But, small streams give us all the chance to see some pretty country.

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"Fishermen...spending their lives in the fields and woods...are often in a more favorable mood for observing her, in the intervals of their pursuits, than philosophers or poets even, who approach her with expectation." - Thoreau


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