The Mayfly have been out since April and the fish are hooked on them, but which are which ! Do you know your Lineata from your Vulgate ? where dose the old Danica come in?Do the fish give a F….? And no I’m not using the term Mayfly as the americans do, to distinguish all up wing flies.
Well yes they do and as the fish get to see more flies, real and artificial, the more selective they become. I think of this as the smarty syndrome – I like the orange smarties best of all. I have a big bowl full of smarties and I’m sitting there watching tv, dipping my hand in and picking out all the orange ones! What is happening is I’m partly defocused as I watch TV and mono focused as I tune into the on orange ones and reject everything ells. Fish I think do this and it’s why they get more hooked in to shape, size, colour position in the water, and the foot print of a floating fly.
Well should you know that Danica is the most common of our may fly and Lineata are the rarest ? Well yes but it more important you know that when flies are coming back to the river to lay their eggs (females) they very usually white with black vaned wings and dark legs and the juvenile are creamy to yellow with opaque wings maybe a tine of green, the older they get the dark they tend to be. The males can almost look black though on close inspection that are dark olive ( green drakes). It also a myth that Mayflies only live for a day.
A few pointers Males are generally smaller have bigger eyes and claspers/forceps below their tails. Markings on the tops of the body can be used to distinguish between the different types of mayfly.
Credit John Cawthorne (flies,flowers, fur & feather)
Finding information on identifying different type of flies one would think was relatively simple in the age of the WWW but it is not. The River Fly Partnership, Buglife and Match a Hatch all seem a little bit lacking in the information available for fly ident which is a grate pity as it would help involve and engage the general public and anglers in their wider work. If any one is aware of a good free resource that covers the UK please let us know.
Books out there are Collins New Naturalist Series An Anglers Entomology by J.R.Harris is valuable for information such as the flight patens of flies but is now very out of date and the picture quality is very poor and black and white so of little use. John Cawthorne, Flies,flowers, fur & feather. Guide to the waterside flowers, flies and artificial flies of interest to the fisherman is worth a look. But what I would not give for a set of coloured photographic waterproof guides, with all the nymphs on, the juvenile and adult, male and female of each uk fly with their angling and scientific names showing and listing distinguishing elements!
What to try out on the water ? My detached body foam Mayfly is loved by browns and grayling alike
and can be altered to represent different stages of matchurity / sex by altering the size colour of the wings body hackle and tying silk. For the hatch my emerging mayfly will do the trick see video below.