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The Rivers

Fishing the Hexagenia

Hex

The HEX HATCH can be a blast. Big trout come out from their hiding places as the sun begins to set to eat the big mayfly and they are none to subtle about it. They can be maddeningly selective however. If your fly isn't floating just so or presented just right, it can be "no mas" for hooking rainbows. Having a number of rods pre rigged with a variety of flies and lines can make all the difference. My dad laughed the first time he fished this hatch with me, "why on earth do we need this many rods?" he asked incredulously as we cast off from the dock. "Just wait," I said. "This is trout fishing like you have never seen before."

As the late afternoon sun began to slide behind Mt Shasta, we fished 4 weights with 6X tippet and ec caddis to slashing risers and managed to hook a few 14 — 15 inch trout on the surface. As it began to get darker, intermittent boils that began to increase in tempo and frequency on the surface interrupted the splashy rise forms of trout taking caddis. Soon it appeared that the river was experiencing the effect of a storm of baseball-sized hail crashing on the surface. "Hand me your rod Dad, here is a six weight with an intermediate line and a hex nymph." Dad cast and began to slowly strip the fly back through the boils when a trout grabbed the fly nearly yanking the rod out his hands. By the time we landed his 18-inch rainbow and released it, hexagenia mayflies began to appear on the surface like yellow winged sailboats floating down the current. I handed Dad a 5-weight rod rigged with a hex emerger cripple and instructed him to cast into the bank where fish were crashing mayflies in a concentrated area. "Lay it in there, strip it a few feet then pick it up and lay it in there again."

Dad soon had another rainbow on, this one a slightly smaller rainbow of 16 inches. As soon as I took a look at the matted fly, I handed Dad yet another rod with a hex adult. It was getting pretty dark now and I ask him to cast into the direction of the western sky and Mt Shasta so he could see the fly silhouetted on the surface. After several strikes and misses, Dad hooked up with a huge rainbow that charged the anchored boat, went directly under it and kept heading up stream until the fish managed to break free. "I felt like I had a nuclear submarine on the line!" Dad exclaimed. Suddenly, the hatch was over. From start to finish, the hex hatch had lasted just under 45 minutes. "That's it" I said, "time to head in... and a good thing too, we are all out of fresh fly rods!" Dad shook his head as he looked at the stack of rods in the rack with big hex flies spent, mashed or broken off as we cruised down river to the house with a canopy of bright stars in the night sky overhead. "Son, we need more fly rods!"