Posts Tagged ‘march brown


Fly Tying: Western March Brown

In many parts of the Western U.S. the hint of a false Spring is teasing us out of our Winter doldrums. The first significant hatch of a large Mayfly is the March Brown (this is where I am suppose to throw in that fancy entomological Latin name, but I will forego the science side for now). Suffice to say that with moderating temps rising into the higher 40’s and 50’s coupled with overcast days the March Browns will be hatching in late February and well into April, even May in some areas.

Knowing the habitat of this ‘clinger’ nymph is important in your presentation. The nymphs hang in heavier water or riffles in that small layer of calm near the bottom. Once the momentum is made to emerge the nymphs can let loose and drift in the currents to slightly calmer waters or crawl to those calmer waters. From that point on the process of the hatch can be somewhere between the bottom and en route to the surface or at the surface film.

Beefy ‘clinger’ nymphs in a darkish tone, size 12 can work proceeding what is often an afternoon hatch. Swinging Wet flies up through the water column can work and of course the Emergers and Dry fly patterns are worthy once surface action is noted. 

A Suitable Clinger Style Nymph for March Browns

If your trout waters are open in February to April then you will enjoy the fishing of the larger March Brown (12-14) (compared to Winter’s Midges and BWO’s). The weather will often be unsettled, but worth the elements.

“Rhithrogena morrisoni”  Western March Browns (for you smarty pants) and info on the Eastern March Brown as well.


Fly Tying: March Brown Emerger~Cripple

The possible front end of the March Brown hatch could result this month. I have been tying chunky tannish-brown GRHE’s for nymphs and have some dozen or so adult patterns that I tied, but never got to fish last year. I thought I would tie up an emerger pattern and after that I will tie up some wet flies for the March Brown hatches, should I be fortunate enough to land on a stream with the hatch.

I tied this Emerger or Cripple pattern to somewhat follow the Quigley Cripple, but after a half dozen or so, I would not go that far. It seems serviceable enough but is a little chaotic on the front end.

I had intended to add some strands of Z-lon or Antron for a trailing shuck, but like my entire day, I could not locate it. So I used a bit too many Pheasant Tail barbs for a tail/shuck. I then tied in two additional barbs of PT and an ultra fine, copper wire rib. I wound the PT up the shank to the thorax area and tied it off, followed by the wire ribbing, wrapped in the same direction and tied off. I then dubbed a brown synthetic/rabbit blend (I am allergic to rabbit, so nose still runny) for the thorax. I followed this with a small, stacked clump of Coastal Deer hair tied in at the thorax area so the tips extend out over the eye of the hook. I finally tied in a Grizzly hackle and took several turns of hackle (perhaps one turn too many it appears). I whip finished the fly.

So, after a half dozen, the Emerger or Cripple pattern, was a bit too messy near the eye. The 8/0 thread was either to thick or I was using too much of something: deer hair, dubbing, hackle wraps, thread wraps. Sparser would do it.


Fly Tying & Fishing: March Brown Madness

Just weeks away or so are the March Brown hatches. The first significant, larger mayfly hatch of the season, it is well to study a bit on the habits of your March Brown. I say ‘your March Brown’ because there are several varieties depending upon where you reside. Rick Hafele goes over the East/West/In Between varieties and how they appear and behave. Time to tie those chucky clinger nymphs, emergers and duns. Read here at Rick Hafele’s Laughing Rivers post about March Browns.   More & More re Western MB’s. Pay particular attention to that migration from faster riffles into the slower seams and edges.


Greg Glitzer's March Brown Nymph (Pennsylvania FF Blog)



March Brown’s Are Coming (How To Tie from OFFB)

March Brown Emerger~Matt Stansberry (OFFB)

March Brown Emerger~Matt Stansberry (OFFB)

The tutorial is slightly different than Matt’s beautiful pattern, but they would both be great. Think of, if water levels allow, drifting the Willamette from Armitage to Harrisburg and finessing these enticing wet/emergers for Cutts.

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