Of all the “hatches” on Fish in a Barrel Pond, perhaps no other is anticipated by so many yet fished by so few as that of the “Hex”. Hexagenia mayflies are among the largest and most widespread in North America and in some places they emerge in such numbers that their mating swarms show up on weather radar. Gathering by the millions stacks the odds in their favor that another generation will carry on, even though they themselves are doomed to die within a day or so, but around here the numbers are nowhere near that and most that emerge before dark are doomed to die within a matter of seconds, snatched up by birds taking advantage of what to them is surely a boon. Still, enough escape the fish below and the birds above to mate and lay eggs to ensure at least a steady trickle of flies again next year when the time is just right.
That time comes after the yellow drakes and the solstice, when the light for fishing doesn’t fade until nearly 10:00, but before the heat and summer conditions set in and catching a trout takes work. From shortly before dark through the wee hours, for at least a week, maybe two, the Hexes emerge and the trout feed with abandon, gorging on this suddenly plentiful food source. Continue reading