Get ready for this autumn highlight
THIS year’s autumn fall of daddy longlegs looks set to be a bumper one. So many leatherjacket grubs, the fly’s larval stage, have been found in the earth that experts predict swarms of crane flies appearing through September and October. It’s unclear how the hot summer has affected these grubs but we normally expect hatches after a bit of rain, which we desperately need! So when the rains come, get ready for some top sport. The eggs are black and can be laid over aquatic weed mats, on land or just dropped in flight. The females prefer wet ground when laying their eggs over land and these eggs then take a few weeks to hatch. The grubs spend the winter and spring underground, eating plant roots and the like before hatching into adulthood the following late summer or early autumn. Adults then live for around two weeks during which time they will search for a mate. Daddy longlegs aren’t the best flyers and are easily blown over water where the trout are soon alerted to their presence. Fish will chase these insects as they struggle across the water, their legs often becoming trapped in the surface film. It’s a rewarding time for the fly angler who can enjoy some incredible surface sport. But it’s not all top-of-the-water stuff: a sunken or drowned Daddy pattern can also be successful fished just under the surface – even a goldhead version fished very deep has worth.
“Fish will chase daddies as they struggle across the water, their legs becoming trapped in the surface film. It’s a rewarding time for the fly angler.”