Epicurean Angler-Matthew Supinski's Selectivity/Nexus Blog- Everything Trout/Steelhead/Salmon

Epicurean Angler-Matthew Supinski's Selectivity/Nexus Blog- Everything Trout/Steelhead/Salmon

Monday, July 6, 2020

Big Mayfly Time- The light giant drakes of Summer ( and heat wave warning)

( A Hex/yellow drake/ Danica  imitation- author image and tie)

Summer's  giant drakes are one mayfly hatch period that guarantees big trout will be on the prowl for them. Besides the legendary Hexagenia/( light hex) and Rithrogena (dark hex) hatch of Michigan and the Midwest, Hexs' /giant drakes exist all over the globe and east coast were you have silty stream bottoms and fine gravel . Even on classic eastern/western freestone/cobblestone rivers, the lower silty portions of them have Hexagenia hatches, as do limeteoners and spring creeks everywhere. Big trout will pack on the weight from these hatches, and the fact that many do not fish late into the night on ice cold spring creeks since they fish well in mid-day, they often emerge without notice.

Europe's Ephemera Danica comes off a little earlier starting in May ( thus the word Mayfly). It is very similar to the Green Drake emergence cycle, but will continue its hatching throughout summer on the ice cold spring creek/chalk streams of Europe well into July. I once encountered excellent Danica hatches on the River Avon spring creek/chalk stream in Salisbury England in late July, and the big browns went ballistic for them!) For the amazing landlocked salmon/lake/sea browns of Michigan , and New England/Scandinavia/Baltic areas the Hexagenia is a big appetite arouse where the Hex nymphs comprise an amazing part of the diets of big water salmonids where found- especially in Great Lakes/Finger Lakes.

                 (What we see of the Hex hatch is only skin deep. An amazing autopsy from a  Great Lakes charter guide friend (James Chamberlin image )on northern glacial inland lake in Michigan- lake trout belly stuffed with hex nymphs)
(Hex nymph image J.G. Miller)
( massive vertical growth takes place on these lake systems with hexagenia overload- Landlocked Atlantic shown here- browns get even more glutton-like. Author image)

Here they emerge from their burrows to relocate by massive schools/pods, especially in fall and spring, and the salmonids chow-down heavily on them in deep water depths. Atlantics' , steelhead and browns, plus char binge down on them all year. Sometimes the sonar graphs of fish finders in these lakes are a blizzard cloud of them on the graph)

                                  ( I'm a big fan of the amazing foam mayfly bodies of Frosty Fly  https://frostyfly.com/. , a Slavic based company in Canada that does excellent mail-order.They come in all varieties and are insect specific ( here is Hex, Danica)- tell them I sent you. You can combine them with wings of CDC, duck feathers, Snowshoe rabbit, traditional hackle- you can custom infuse them into your creations like I do)
              ( my Nexus Hex wiggle nymph from my "Brown Trout-Atlantic Salmon Nexus" Book- author image)
                         ( light and dark Hex- sometimes a gender or species specific trait= J.G. Miller "the Bug Doctor" image)
                (Top: more traditional yellow drake/Potamanthus wiggle from my "Selectivity" book- a killer on many classic freestone and spring creeks in late summer...Below: a beautiful wild  Catskill's/Neversink brown trout of September that love to eat them in between meals of olives and beetles ( fish embodies the Salmo Nexus morphology- author images )

The other Yellow Drakes : Potamanthus, Ephemera varia and Epeorus vitreus , all emerge sporadically many times on most waters and stand out like a giant yellow flower on the water. You can be sure they will get gulped up fast by any trout due to their meaty proportions and being extremely obvious.
On the ice cold Catskill tailwaters they float for long duration's and will get extremely long compound/complex  rises from the trout, which have been used to sipping # 20's. Both Classic eastern freestoners and spring creeks have them, and they start to hatch in June, but will sporadically hatch all summer at odd times of the day- you will never know when they turn up! They are excellent indicators of good healthy freestone and spring creek water qualities.

More to come in the "Rise Forms" departmental column of my new online magazine being released this month- cheers!, stay cool, give the trout a break, and turn off all electronics in the house to save electricity- use solar chargers for your smart phones and tabs- mine is working great!
Matthew Supinski

                                       (NOTE: Please stay advised on heat wave conditions: carry a thermometer, and don't fish waters that are approaching or are over 70 F . Only fish cold limestone/subterranean spring creeks that stay ice cold year-round, alpine environment brooks ( Rockies/Appalachians etc.) also Catskill and other tailwaters around the globe that have very deep 150 plus impoundments depths for bottom draw. Michigan is loaded with subterranean spring creeks and they are the tiny creeks that you never fish because they are obscure and require the art of walking-they carry more wilds than you ever thought!, but watch out for heat stroke and carry lots of water) Usually very tiny feeder springs of tributaries of rivers will have icy conditions that hold up. But the farther you move away from spring sources, the warmer it will get. Also watch out for large thermally stressed fish in springs that have migrated there for survival, They are usually larger and darker and move lethargically- MOST WILL SURVIVE IF YOU LEAVE THEM THE F' ALONE!- best to stay inside and tie flies, READ!, yes read books (long lost art due to modern society's ADHD) until the heat breaks- you can do it!, like the commercials say "we're in this together eh!)

( for more reading and  fly tying recipes /tactics on this subject and others. Lots of  in-depth/code cracking hatch matching conundrums :