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Old 07-03-2018, 07:31 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: WI
Default Hex Hatch!!

Found this on my bathroom window this morning.
It must of come from the mill pond about a mile to the east of me.
These guys like a mucky bottom in slow moving water.

Its Hexagenia Limbata, a Mayfly.
Another name is Giant Michigan Mayfly. Its one of the biggest mayflies.

Many around here call them lake flies.
This type of Mayfly hatches out at night. It starts just as the sun is going down. The hatch of these insects is one that is greatly anticipated by trout fisherman.

To experience a hatch of these is incredible. I have been on the Pine River in WI. during the hatch a couple of times.

On warm June night just as the sun is going down you see your first one. Usually its just floating down the river like a small sail boat. Then as it darkens they start hatching in incredible numbers. In the dark its hard to see but on a night with a decent amount of moonlight if you look up to the sky you can see them. Clouds of them, Thousands, tens of thousands. They are every where. The fish and the bats are gorging themselves on these fat morsels. The large Trout come out of their lairs and abandon all caution. Under the cover of darkness instead of a dainty little rise to pick a bug off the surface they rush up and grab one. The splash sounds like someone is tossing rocks in the river. Imagine standing knee deep in a cold clear trout stream surrounded by rising trout. The soothing gurgling of the water as it slides over the rocks broken by loud and sudden splashes. If you stand still you maybe surprised by a splash right at your feet as the trout lay in the eddy you are creating. You can't see whats going on but you can hear the feeding frenzy. You feel the flies landing on your face, your ears, any exposed flesh is a potential landing site. No need to swat these flies as they are harmless. Just get used to them crawling in your hair. This lasts for sometimes 15 minutes, sometimes hours. But after awhile the fish are fat and full. They stop rising even tho there are still thousands of mayflies drift down the river.

Then you turn on your headlamp to head home and it looks like your standing in a black night time snow storm. Flies fill the air, the surface of the river has flies every couple of inches, piles of flies spin in circles around in the eddies. They are all over your clothes.

These flies hatch so thick at times along the Mississippi and some of the larger lakes in the area that the bridges are cover with flies. Its like driving on grease.

Its truly a biological storm. Something everyone should experience even if your not a trout fisherman. I have experienced in many times, in a river in the dark, in a boat out on a lake and just sitting on shore enjoying the day end when it starts. The next day the flies are all over. The next evening they lay tier eggs and they die. The flies only live a day or so. But the hatch usually lasts about 2 weeks.

Just thought some might enjoy a graceful and elegant insect.
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Old 07-03-2018, 07:39 PM   #2
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: WI

Here is video of a news report of the mayfly hatch.
Note that the hatch can be so heavy that it shows up on doppler radar.

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Old 07-03-2018, 09:03 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Pennsylvania

Great pic!
"If suburbia were landscaped with meadows, prairies, thickets or forests, or combinations of these, then the water would sparkle, fish would be good to eat again, birds would sing and human spirits would soar." ~ Lorrie Otto
~ A Native Backyard Blog ~
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Old 07-03-2018, 09:14 PM   #4
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Northeastern MA

"Just thought some might enjoy a graceful and elegant insect."

Thanks, Weedy, for a great description of experiencing that phenomenon. I felt like I was there.
"Know thyself."

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Old 07-04-2018, 10:57 PM   #5
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Michigan

You narrated that most exquisitely!
The successful woman is the woman that had the chance and took it!

A walk among the elusive Whitetail Deer
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hatch, hex

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