Archive for the ‘Hex Hatch’ Tag

Hex Hassles – The Video   9 comments

Hello everyone!

Here’s a video I put together of my outing earlier this week. Please excuse the ADOBE banner across the frame. I’m using a trial version to see if I want to buy Premiere. So far I like it.

 

Hexagenia Hassles   4 comments

Last night I did a little in-the-field empirical data gathering regarding that wonderful winged creature called the Hexagenia Limbata. I think the whole affair put a hex on my lumbago, but it was kind of a cool experience.

I’ll set the scene.

I motorcycled 30 minutes west to a “top secret” spot on Black Earth Creek. I arrived creekside at about 8:25. To my delight there weren’t any other anglers around. The wind was light, the sun was setting behind the trees, and I was eagerly anticipating some epic action.

After parking myself along the creek I noticed a few fish rising. I cast to them using some smaller caddis patterns, emergers, even nymphs, but no luck.

At around 9:30 the water began to come alive. There were tiny little rise forms all over, and very subtle “popping” sounds, almost like someone had thrown a Rice Crispie into the water here and there.

 

Tiny Riseforms on Black Earth Creek

Tiny Riseforms on Black Earth Creek

 

 

The fish started to come alive, but it wasn’t a frenzy. I tied on a #14 caddis pattern and had a few swipes at it, but didn’t connect. It’s tough to sight fish in the dark.

I waited some more, listening to the bullfrogs call out to one another. The moon was up, the mosquitoes were few, and the sounds of the night were all around.

 

Waiting for something to happen...

Waiting for something to happen…

 

Then another flurry of activity. It was now about 9:45. This time I thought for sure the hex hatch was beginning. Slowly at first, then with more regularity, there were “things” happening. Just what those things were I couldn’t tell. I had a nice view of the water with the moon reflecting off it’s surface, and I could see bugs skating along on the film like tiny motorboats seen from an airplane. But I wasn’t spotting the beautiful sails of those Hex bugs. I was expecting a swarm of hex flies carpeting the water and the sky, but it didn’t happen.

 

A few bugs on BEC

A little motorboat bug on BEC

 

I took some flash pics and upon reviewing them today, I believe there may have been a few Hex flies in the mix, but for the most part it was a mixed bag. See for yourself.

 

Some Bugs hatching after dark on BEC

Some Bugs hatching after dark on BEC

 

Is that a Hex?

Is that a Hex?

 

Fly away!

Fly away!

 

Caddis on BEC

Caddis on BEC

 

After this hatch stopped popping, things quieted down. I sat until about 10:30, decided to go home, then convinced myself that maybe the Hex would still emerge. But they didn’t. There’s something about sitting out in nature well into the night. You hear sounds you don’t hear during the day. Like crunching grass and Bullfrogs. And very large fish eating things off the surface of the creek.

Do you know how a little fish sounds when it slams a bug off the surface of the water? It sounds small. Quick. Sharp.

A big fish sounds large. The sounds of it splashing takes up more space in the spectrum of audible wavelengths. The sound of it on the surface is bracketed on either end by the sound of it rising and returning to the depths.

I heard this sound last night, but only once or twice. Big fish only rise when it’s worthwhile. It startled me and then left me longing to hear it again.

I hope to return some night to see the Hex hatching out of the mud, to see those little-but-big sails drifting along on the water, to see the frenzy that occurs when the fish realize it’s time to eat. And maybe to catch a few of those big fish who’ll surely come out to play.

 

 

 

Driftless Hay Harvest and Night Fishing BEC   4 comments

Here’s a lovely scene I came across today in the Driftless. Wisconsin is a rich and fertile place.

 

The Season's First Hay Crop, Dane County Driftless Region, Wisconsin

The Season’s First Hay Crop, Dane County Driftless Region, Wisconsin

 

I passed the field above on my way back to work after visiting Todd Opsal at On the Creek Fly Shop in Cross Plains. I wanted to get a second opinion on mousing and the Hex hatch from Todd. On the Creek is closed on Mondays, so I went to Fontana Sports and talked with Craig Amacker, Fontana’s Fly Fishing expert. Craig pointed me toward the mouse flies and then told me the Hex hatch was starting up. So I bought a few Hex flies too.

Stephen Rose and I got out to the creek at around 8:15 with visions of 6lb trout in our eyes. There was a lot of feeding going on, but no Hex (more like midges) and no monster fish. We fished until about can’t-see-anymore O’clock and headed home, having caught two ten-inch fish on small dries. It beats a skunking, but didn’t come close to meeting our aspirations.

So I went to Cross Plains and sought out Todd, and I asked him what to do. We were taking the right approach, but the Hex hatch isn’t really “on” yet, they’re just starting to come out here and there. He suggested going out early in the morning and tossing a Hex spinner (a Hex with its wings laying down on the water). If fish hit it that morning, you know there was a decent hatch the night before. He also said many anglers claim that if the hatch isn’t off by 10pm it isn’t happening. But Todd tells a story of a night he spent on the creek when the hatch finally came off at 1am. Goes to show Mother Nature has her own agenda. Finally, the spot we fished last night is a bit too rocky in the stream bed for Hex to really thrive. Hex bugs like a firm clay bottom. They burrow into the clay to come of age, so finding sections with this firm, slippery clay is a must for Hex success.

With an upgrade in Hex knowledge I hope to get myself in the right place at the right time sometime this season. I can still see that six-pound Brown slamming my Hex pattern and giving me a nice ride.