Top 10 Barbless River flies for this Summer

Barbless River Flies

Once the Mayfly extravaganza is over, it does seem that some days the fishing is ‘hard’ on the rivers, here are my go to barbless river flies for summer fishing.  You will hear that the brown trout or grayling stop feeding, but this is something of a myth. Like us, fish have to feed, the difference is that they become selective, picky and suspicious.

For a while, this can be frustrating but you have to think and work hard for takes – especially after the Mayfly period. July and August are the months to roll up our sleeves and try different types of dries and nymph patterns. Year after year I have tried to build up a list of barbless river flies I use during the summer months so here follows my top 10 list.

  1. 2730 Barbless Paradun Olive (hook size 17, 19) – tapered leader up to 5 m – thin copolymer tippet 2lb-3lb.
  2. 2742 Barbless Caddis (hook size 15, 17) – evening rise.
  3. 2748 Barbless Griffiths Sparkle (hook size 19, 21) – when grayling are rising for tiny bugs and spiders.
  4. 9739 Barbless OE S/Circle Spinner BWO (hook size 16) – downstream dry fly fishing with parachute casts.
  5. 2744 Barbless Yellow May Compara (hook size 15, 17) – I always start with this fly as it ‘sits’ half in/half on the water.
  6. 2102 Barbless Tungsten Pink Hot Spot (hook size 14, 16) – French nymphing leader – thin tippet 3lb – great nymph for summer grayling (we fish a lot for summer grayling).
  7. 2755 Barbless Tungsten SR Pink Head May (hook size 18) – long French nymphing leader – only this nymph on a 2lb or even 1 1/2lb tippet sight fishing.
  8. 2880 Barbless Tungsten Rubber Grub (hook size 10, 12) – Czech nymph leader for fishing in deep pools.
  9. 2749 Barbless Micro Rambo (hook size 20, 22) – the ultimate grayling nymph when every other nymph fails.
  10. 2879 Barbless Tungsten PTN Grub (hook size 14, 16) – last but not least the nymph I always start with in an unknow river.

Barbless River FliesA beautiful, wild brownie from the river Risle (Normandy) on a barbless Paradun Olive

I can’t promise I have all the answers, but over the years I have grown fond of these patterns and like to have a wide range of sizes of these favourite few, from the standard 12s to some tiny 22s. In Belgium, France or Germany, where I fish during the summer for trout and grayling, the fish are spooky, especially when the weather is hot and the river level is low (like it is the last couple of weeks). Thin tippets, accurate casts, and the right barbless river flies are the keys for success.

Barbless Flies are recommended when fishing most of the rivers on the continent.

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