It’s March and time for our fly fishing expert Bob Goble to tell what we need to bear in mind this month.
Although it seems to have been a very long, cold and wet winter for us as humans, the rivers and lakes have welcomed the long drink, have been refreshed and are filling up nicely – especially my beloved Bewl Water – after such a dry Autumn.
Nature does have an uncanny way of making good.
We have had a very cold and unpleasant start to the month but soon spring will be here and it will be great to be out in the open air, feel the sun’s warmth on your back and to see all the fauna and flora bursting back to life.
The midge or, to give it its scientific name, chironomidae is quite an important food source for fish, especially trout. I have pictured below the life cycle. It all starts with the mating. The female lays her eggs in the water, the eggs fall to the bottom into the silt, then a little while later the bloodworms appear. These can vary in size and shades of brown, olive and red – the more common one.
When they are ready to hatch the larvae pupate and emerge with tapered abdomens, a thickish thorax, orange wing cases and tufts of white filaments on their head. They then make their way to the surface – which makes them very vulnerable to predation by fish.
Once at the surface they break free of the shuck, spreading their wings to dry and immediately take to the air, to repeat the cycle all over again.
Luckily for us anglers we can match their shape and size remarkably well with our flies, kidding the fish into thinking midges are thrashing their way to the surface.
Fishing the midge couldn’t be simpler.
- Cast out your imitation using the usual tackle, that is an 8-9ft fly rod with a 5 or 6 weight fly line and leader of 9-10ft, tapering down to 7-8Ibs breaking strain.
- If there is any wind, you want it coming from left to right or vice versa and slightly behind you but if not, you want the wind at your back. You want the fly to drift around naturally, keeping the slack to a minimum.
- The take will be very positive, just lift into the fish and let the fight begin.
I have pictured a few imitations, the red coloured bead headed rubber leg thing is called an apps bloodworm and is very successful.