Trout & Salmon (UK) - - Know How -

Egg-bound fe­males usu­ally de­posit their cargo while flut­ter­ing across the sur­face or some­times by drop­ping egg clus­ters from sev­eral feet above the wa­ter. The for­mer puts them on a col­li­sion course with trout and grayling. Oviposit­ing usu­ally takes place from late af­ter­noon into the evening. Where stone­fly pop­u­la­tions are healthy this can hap­pen on an im­pres­sive scale, al­though a more likely sce­nario is a trickle of fe­males re­turn­ing over sev­eral hours. Ow­ing to their bulk, large fe­males seldom hover over the wa­ter when off-load­ing their eggs and in­stead scut­tle across the sur­face, car­ried down­stream on a di­ag­o­nal path, of­ten mak­ing a com­mo­tion. This makes life easy for fly-fish­ers. All you need do is cast a large adult stone­fly pat­tern up and across at 45 de­grees, be­fore al­low­ing it to drift down­stream. It pays to con­stantly tweak the line so that your fly fid­gets on its jour­ney to­wards you. Smaller and more nim­ble stone­flies, such as nee­dle flies, wil­low flies and small browns, tend to lay their eggs by flut­ter­ing across the sur­face. This of­ten oc­curs late in the day and some­times on a grand scale, which might fool novice fish­ers into be­liev­ing the mother of all hatches has kicked off, yet an in­spec­tion of the sur­face film will re­veal a lack of nymphal shucks. Ea­ger to get their fill, trout and grayling have been known to feed with aban­don as they lunge at the buzzing stone­flies, es­pe­cially dur­ing calmer pe­ri­ods of weather. This im­pa­tience is cu­ri­ous be­cause, once spent, the fe­males lit­ter the sur­face and are easy pick­ings. This gives us two bites of the cherry: a cast at fish splash­ing about the pool and then again at trout that have as­sumed a more or­derly queue to sip down wasted fe­males that have been fil­tered into feed­ing lanes. Ow­ing to their busy ap­pear­ance, flies fes­tooned with CDC fi­bres are the pre­ferred pat­terns for many fish­ers. Bos­nian ace Re­nato Opan­car has a fly (left) that’s ab­so­lute mus­tard when fish have eyes for the flut­ter­ing adults. I put my faith in a Ste­wart-style Spi­der tied us­ing a ge­netic hen hackle. It has a de­gree of stiff­ness that al­lows the fly to teeter on its tips when treated with floatant, mak­ing it a plau­si­ble im­i­ta­tion dur­ing the egg-lay­ing car­ni­val. The same fly works its magic on fish mop­ping up af­ter the main event. The semi­palmered hackle’s in­creased sur­face area pre­vents it from sink­ing quickly, al­low­ing it to loi­ter, like a swamped nat­u­ral at the sur­face. Al­though fish­ing a team of three flies is com­mon when pre­sent­ing Spi­ders, this pat­tern is best fished sin­gu­larly as you would a dry-fly.

“It pays to con­stantly tweak the line so that your fly fid­gets on its jour­ney to­wards you”

One on a sum­mer’s evening when brown­ies can be­come pre­oc­cu­pied with egg-lay­ing stone­flies.

A nee­dle fly nymph. These small stone­flies are par­tic­u­larly com­mon in the north of Eng­land.

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