Because the weather in the Adirondacks changes so quickly almost everyone that lives here has their own preferred reference point that indicates a change in the seasons. Easter, we know there is still a lot of winter left. Memorial Day, is time to plant the garden. July 4th, officially when all the summer people are at their camps and Labor Day when it becomes quiet again. For me, June 21st, the Summer Solstice aka "longest day of the year" is the peak of fly fishing for trout and the Yellow Mayfly or Hexagenia hatch, my favorite of all the mayflys.
The Hexagenia is a big bug that is major player in the eco systems of most Adirondack ponds and lakes. This fly is almost 2 inches in length, is bright yellow and hatches in abundance. These hatches get so big they have been known to show up on weather maps. A Hex nymph lives and burrows in the mud bottoms of most ponds and lakes. When the water temperature hits is right every Hex nymph then leaves their mud tunnels, rises to the surface, sheds its skin, spends a few seconds drying then lifts off the pond surface into the trees where it completely dries off and strengthens its wings. After a few days, the breeding gene kicks in and the adults perform a pretty cool dance in the sky, mate and then land on pond surface. The female lays her eggs and then dies and the male just falls from the sky dying as well. This is known as the spinner fall.
Once dead, the bugs float on the pond surface where they are picked off by fish. Because of their size all fish and birds take advantage of the free meal and use the opportunity to fatten up for the winter months. Fly fisherman who eagerly await this spectacle are rewarded with caos and fish of unkown sizes hitting their flies.
Currently we're at day 4 of the 2017 hatch. Last night I watched 20 plus inch fish come completely out of the water eating these bugs. I managed to land one 18 plus inch and two smaller brook trout plus miss a dozen or so others before the hatch ended. it was a long night and today I felt it. Hopefully I can get enough rest and get after them again tomorrow evening. For a daily report please see my Facebook page.