As we move into the early summer months our rivers across the UK really start to come alive and there are a number of essential river flies to have in your fly box. After the short feeding spells of early season fish will now feed all day. This gives the river angler some great opportunities to not only fish at different times of day but to also fish a variety of methods including dries and nymphing.
As we move into June fly life becomes varied and prolific. This obviously benefits the angler as the fish are more likely to be feeding due to the number of insects available. It does, however, also mean that there are occasions when the angler must have a selection of flies to match the hatch if the fish are feeding on specific good items which are not covered by generic patterns. This is particularly true for dry fly fishing in early summer where fish can become selective.
Nymph fishing also becomes very effective in early summer. As temperatures rise the fish move into the faster, well-oxygenated water. This means that French leaders and duo setups can be very effective, usually with various tungsten beaded nymphs.
Below is a selection of my essential river flies from dries to nymphs that are ideal for this time of year, they are flies that will catch fish as searching patterns and can also be required to match specific naturals at this time of year.
6 Essential River Flies
1. Mohican Mayfly
Mayflies usually last well into June and will often bring the larger residents in the river to the surface. At this time you must have suitable imitations to hand and this pattern is both buoyant and an excellent copy. Fish this pattern on a strong tippet to handle larger fish and also to prevent the fly spinning the leader. Finally, do not be afraid to give the pattern movement with the rod tip if fish ignore a dead drift. essential river flies
2. High Float Hawthorn
Hawthorn flies are usually prolific in early summer, particularly in warm weather. A large black fly which is a real favourite with trout. As the fly is relatively large and has distinctive legs a close imitation is often needed and this pattern perfectly serves the purpose.
3. Drop Arse Gnat
Black gnats are often seen in large numbers at this time of year. Fish become preoccupied on small black flies. The drop arsed gnat is a great pattern when fish are focusing on these types of insect. The low body profile imitates a trapped insect and is rarely refused. Fish this pattern on a fine 7x copolymer or masterclass fluorocarbon tippet.
4. Foam Bodied Yellow May Dun
Again a this is a pattern to imitate the various large light coloured up winged flies that hatch at this time of year. This pattern primarily imitates yellow may and sulphur duns but is taken by fish feeding on other large up winged species including small mayflies. I usually opt for this pattern in the larger size 15.
5. SR Spanish Bullet Nymphs
These varnished nymphs are excellent for summer fishing in fast water. Their slim profile cuts through the water with very little resistance and as a result, the angler can get their pattern down quickly in fast water and still present a nice imitative pattern. I fish these extensively in the summer on the duo and double nymph setups.
6. The French Nymph
This is now a standard nymph for many anglers. It stands out well in the water without being too bright and retains the slim profile needed to get down in fast pocket water where fish will be holding. It is a general suggestive pattern which I believe is often taken for a drowned terrestrial.
I hope you can get out and fish our rivers in the coming weeks, it really is prime time to be out on the water and with these patterns, in addition to your standard favourites you should have most situations covered. essential river flies