Buzzer hatches start in earnest this month
THE humble buzzer, or chironomid, starts to emerge as water temperatures increase, which is what we’re seeing right now. And given that this wormlike creature is the main food source for stillwater trout, we’d better have a working knowledge of its behaviour. They start life in the silt beds on the lakebed, living in tubes in the mud. Many appear red in colour and are called bloodworms – their reddish hue is due to haemoglobin, necessar y because there’s little oxygen in amongst all the decay ing detritus on the lake bottom so these creatures have to make eff icient use of whatever oxygen is available. When conditions are right (usually temperature related) chironomids move up in the water column before hatching free of the surface into their winged adult stage, where they can be seen and heard as they gather in swarms close to the water. Their ‘buzz’ sound as they swarm and mate is why they’re called ‘buzzers’. They sometimes appear in huge plumes like chimney smoke close to water. During this mass movement towards the surface, buzzer pupa are vulnerable to feeding trout and this is why the buzzer makes up 90 per cent of a stillwater trout’s diet. Given that buzzers move slowly and can’t move horizontally (only vertically) they make ver y easy targets for the f ish who literally cruise around hoovering them up! Those fortunate enough to reach the surface will be hoping for a slight breeze as opposed to a flat calm. A riff led surface makes emerging into adulthood far easier than a calm one. Emerging buzzers take much longer to break through a flat water’s surface and are therefore at the mercy of f ish feeding in this area – trout give away their intentions with that classic head-and-tail rise when feeding on emergers. Anglers know what to do… f loating line, long copolymer leader and a Shuttlecock CDC! Believe it or not, many anglers find it hard to fish Buzzers due to their being little or no retrieve. We are conditioned to pulling our f lies back or moving them somehow. This issue of the magazine is full of Buzzer tactics and suitable imitations. Now have a go and let us know how you get on…
Buzzers swam in large numbers – Irish anglers call them ‘duck fly’.