Back Lake Hex Hatch Update: 6/23
So, they were a few days late arriving this year, but it looks like the Hexagenia Limbata, the largest of the mayflies, have awakened from their silty slumber at Back Lake.
One of the tell tale signs for us here at Tall Timber is when we see them covering windows and the lodge itself on the morning following a particularly good hatch the night before.
Reinforcement is also provided from other sources as well, and I got exactly that at approximately 10:35 PM last night in a text from Chuck Degray of North Country Fly Shop & Guide Service. Chuck’s home and fly shop are not too far away from the lake (1/2 mile maybe), and he’ll see the effects of a good night of hexagenia hatching, even over at his place.
His text simply read the message below, and yes, he used ALL CAPS:
“HEXES ARE ALL OVER THE HOUSE”
What triggered the hatch now? Who knows, but we did have a sunny, warm day on Thursday, which may have gotten them going a bit (the reports on Thursday night were that there were a fair number of hexes coming off, with fish eagerly pursuing them). Friday was a day of alternating rain and occasional sunshine, and it was humid, so perhaps that helped the hatch heat up even more. Mother Nature – I can’t figure her out …
This all means that we should have a couple of good weeks ahead of exciting surface action, weather permitting. Let’s hope for some warm days and calm nights ahead …
My strategy is pretty simple – bring two rods out, one rigged with a sink tip line for emergers and the other set up with a floating line for dries. Early on in the evening, 7:00 – 8:30 PM, throw the sink tip with one of a couple of hex emerger patterns that have proven to be very good over the years – the Sparrow or Woodduck Heron. Casting to rising fish and then slowly stripping back to the boat can be devastating.
Once the hexagenias are coming off heavier as daylight fades, switch over to the dry line with any number of good dry patterns. The trout can be picky sometimes with these patterns, so keep changing your offering if fish are visibly avoiding your fly. You’ll notice this when you see a cruising trout, slurping hex after hex, and you adeptly place a cast right in front of it. If you didn’t spook the fish with your cast but the fish reverses direction or just stops feeding altogether, it has just refused your fly.
Nice job … better luck next time … and consider changing your fly.
Why two rods? As the action heats up, you really don’t want to be fumbling around with changing reels or leaders. If you have them, bring two rods so that you can quickly change techniques without wasting too much of that precious daylight. The worst feeling is messing around with your equipment as the lake boils with slurps, burps and splashes from the trout going nuts around you …
The last piece of advice is to target the center of the lake rather than fishing edges. Staying too close to the edge of the lake will produce a night filled with the not so elusive “Back Lake Greenie”, or smallmouth bass. Don’t get me wrong, they are a great gamefish and can be fun to catch when things aren’t going your way with the trout, but they’re not really the species we’re targeting.
The shallows are where the bass are more likely to reside, so fishing farther out towards the middle, where the water is presumably deeper and colder, might be your best bet to target trout.
We have all of the hex patterns you might need, so stop by Tall Timber if you’re chasing trout at Back Lake in the next couple of weeks – it’s on!