I have fished a fair number of hex hatches over the years and I have settled on certain aspects of fly design. There are a number of excellent patterns on the market and many more tied by guys like me who have their own secret "Hex" weapon. But, when it comes down to the few hours a year I get to fish the hexagenia hatch, (and if I am fishing dry) I tie on one of these two patterns.
Here is what I've concluded about dry flies for the hex hatch.
1. I like an extended body...but I don't like them to be rigid. I've had a number of fish suck a fly down and yet I never got a hook in them. I believe that the rigid extended bodies have kept the hook from getting into the "hooking zone". I originally switched to a segmented body threaded onto a 5wt running line thinking that the line would add floation. The segmentation worked well as I believe that my hooking percentage went up. I don't think the 5wt running line was as limp as it should've been so I've since changed to doubled over 4-5x tippet...you'll see what I'm talking about in the pics below.
2. I fish spinners 95% of the time. If it's a spinner fall the spinners "match the hatch" (or more correctly the "fall". If it's an emergence, I believe the fish see the down winged version as a cripple/stillborn or at least a healthy struggling fly with damp wings unable to fly. I believe that fish that have spent a few nights feeding on a hex emergence see this version of the fly as easy pickings.
I've reached a point in my Hex tying that I haven't revised this fly much in the past few years. It's a little bit tedious to tie in terms of prep work, but once the extended body is assembled it's pretty smooth sailing. Take a look and if you are interested, confused, or have some thoughts on improving these patterns... shoot me a message.
Salmo's Hex Dun
|Old aluminum tent pole, sharpened and beveled to cut foam disks.|
|Disks threaded onto doubled over 4-5x tippet|
|Zap-A-Gap on Tippet and then foam is slid into place. Doubled tippet left long to lash to the hook and as tails.|
|Extended Body attached to the hook|
|Parachute wing post of relatively stiff (but not too stiff!) synthetic.|
|Under Thorax of foam lashed and thorax dubbed. Add two hackle feathers.|
|Hackle wrapped, thorax foam pulled under and secured behind the eye.|
|Clip excess foam, whip finish and cement the thread. Abdomen colored with marker (optional).|
|View from below.|
Salmo's Hex Spinner
|Extended body attached to the hook.|
|Synthetic down wing + a little flash, figure 8 tied.|
|Foam Head/Thorax. Poke a hole in the foam and slide over the eye.|
|Lash the foam behind the wing / in front of the extended body.|