Sunday, January 27, 2013

March Brown

Rithrogena germanica, the March Brown. Up until April 2010, I had never witnessed one of these legendary flies in the flesh. A trickle of maybe a dozen or so one cold spring day, with snow melt swelling the current of the upper River Eden, was the first encounter I had with a fly which was once prolific around these parts, but which in recent years had all but disappeared.
Then last year, they made a surprisingly wholesale comeback. I won't say they exploded back on to the scene.......but they certainly 'flurried' and 'squalled' in brief but concerted spells. The Eden saw them; so too did the Eamont. Even the fishers of famous Yorkshire rivers such as the Wharfe spoke of this welcome return of one of the sport's most well known upwing flies.
My kick samples turned up many, many Rithrogena nymphs. Sometimes they hatched there and then in the tray whilst I was counting up. And each time I would note with delight the dark spot on each femur and know they were true March Browns. It was a rare success story in this age in which a  perceived decline of our aquatic invertebrates seems to dominate anglers' thoughts for so much of the time.

Of course, it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume the resurgence will continue into this coming season and beyond. I certainly hope so because the MB is a noble fly and one which can brighten the dourest spring day. If the early season trout  seemed initially unsure of what to make of them, then they soon got used to the idea and began locking onto them amidst mixed hatches of large dark olives and that other Rithrogena, the olive upright. I was caught with my pants down at first, I admit. Carrying nothing dressed on a hook larger than #14, I failed to capitalise the first time I saw one of the big duns disappear in a swirl of troutfin. Next time out I was better prepared, and although that day saw the fish feasting on the smaller species of olives, I did nail a couple of fish on a big grey-brown spider....and later on lost a very large fish which had engulfed a #12 dry pattern as it rode a strong current at the head of a pool.

I had taken a leaf out of the Scottish anglers' book and tied up a couple of patterns which apparently serve well on rivers such as the Clyde and Tweed. Early indications showed them to be equally effective south of the border and I have re-stocked my boxes with them this weekend. This spring will be the first in which I set out with not only the large dark olive at the forefront of my mind.

March Brown Spider
Hook: Kamasan B170 #12
Thread: Pearsalls silk (amber)
Rib: fine gold wire
Body: dubbed hare - 70% natural, 30% olive
Hackle: brown partridge neck

March Brown Jingler
Hook: Kamasan B170 #12
Thread: Griffiths Sheer 14/0 cinnamon
Rib: Pearsalls silk (amber)
Tails: Coq de Lyon fibres
Body: dubbed hare - 70% natural, 30% olive
Hackle 1 : red game cock
Hackle 2: brown partridge neck 


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The Jassid Man said...

Hi Matthew!

Very interesting post! I'm kind of in to entomology and I really like the flies you made for the March Brown. Haven't seen it here in Sweden though.

Kind Regards,
Mats Olsson

Dan Price said...

Very nice, the jingler is one of my favourites! Had a great time fishing with it during the large brook duns last year.