Flies for Brown Trout - Tackle Tips

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Brown Trout Basics


Exact Imitations?

Trout flies fall into two categories - attractors and imitations. Attractors or "lures" rely on the natural aggression of the trout, while imitators try to look like a natural food.


Strangely an exact copy seems to be less effective than a ragged one. The best flies seem to hint at their ancestry. For example there are some wonderful stonefly imitations, but the good old stick fly does just as well.





Many rainbow trout fishermen are brought up on lures and wonder why they are not so effective for brownies. Brown trout are far less aggressive than bows. They are less likely to take a lure. Most anglers therefore rely on imitative patterns. Those lures which do work for brownies tend to look like fish and thus fall into both camps. The only time when you can really catch brownies on lures is at the beginning of the season when they are really hungry.

For every insect that a brownie eats there is a fly invented by somebody including mice and frogs as well as insects!

The Americans have a nice expression called "match the hatch". It encapsulates the best approach to brownie fishing. Spot what naturals are about. Take a careful look at what stage of life the fish are moving to (no fish surface movement indicates they are feeding below on nymphs). Brown trout can be very selective to the point that they will sometimes only take imitations that look like a nymph breaking surface, while at other times they will only take the adults as they return to gently lay their eggs in the surface film.

The trick is careful observation.



Insect Classes

Their Common Imitations

Flies can be broken down into various groups. The important one for the fly fisher are:





Houghton Ruby
Blue Winged Olive
March Brown
Walkers Mayfly Nymph
Beacon Beige
Greenwells Glory
Kites Imperial  

Includes the classic like the Mayfly and the Olives. They have 2 large often clear wings which sit upright on the body and have 2 or 3 tails.




Suspender Buzzers

The midges - the tiny favorite of the reservoir angler and also called "buzzers" after the noise they make. The larvae is the blood worm Not to be confused with the biting midge found in the north.




Skating Sedge
Wickams Fancy

Also called the caddis fly, these can often be seen in clouds and perhaps the most famous is the Grannom. The have two wings which sit along the back in an inverted V.



Stone Flies

Stick Fly
Wooly Worm

These have four wings which lie flat along the body. They can be quite big.



Damsel and Dragonflies

Damsel Fly  

Adult imitations ineffective, but larval forms deadly.



Other Aquatics

Peter Ross  

Shrimps and other fish can play an important part in a trout diet



Terrestrial Insects

Dry Daddy
Sunk Daddy

The Daddy Long legs is perhaps the best known and in Scotland you can add the Heather Fly.





The Best Flies

Paul's Personal Choice

Some of the best flies are just suggestive. They don't represent any particular insect, but look like many.

Top Dropper: Muddler or Bibio or Adams (dry).

Middle Dropper: Silver or Pearly Invicta or Buzzer.

Point: Weighted PTN or GRHE or Damsel.
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The Deadly Streamer

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Used for the taking of brown trout during the day light hours. A heavy fly for use with light spinning rods.


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