With the addition of a silver body this traditional pattern has been turned into a good baitfish streamer. It is ideal for imitating shoals of fry, sticklebacks and minnows.
STREAMER WET FLY PATTERNS. Hook size 2 4 6 8 10 12 - $US each
The Silver March Brown Streamer has been used as a successful sea trout fly for years in Europe. The bigger hooks make it ideal for large and smallmouth bass as well as Salmon and Steelheads. Whilst fishing in the German Mountain lakes I noticed that the small bait fish had brown backs and silver bodies.
The Silver March Brown was ideal and I caught 5 fish in 2 hours with a number of missed takes. It is peculiar that this pattern should include the month of March in it's name since the natural insects are not confined to hatching in this month. These flies represent the two different insects that are commonly given the same name: the March Brown (Rithrogena Germanica) and the Late (or False) March Brown (Ecdyonurius Venosus).
The March Brown likes large stony rivers. Hatches are often on a grand scale in the middle of a spring day. The March Brown pattern is one of the oldest angling flies around. Look for hatches of the March Brown in the late spring just after lunch time. The Late March Browns hatch in early summer after the March Brown hatch.
Some years may bring a late season hatch if there is hot weather. It is the emerging nymphs of this mayfly that are regularly eaten by trout, but duns and egg laying female spinners that drown in the water are also taken. That is when this wet fly streamer pattern is a killer.
After hatches of tiny midges and Blue winged olives the March Browns are normally the first large mayflies of the year. They always seem to hatch in cold rainy afternoons. The Autumn Dun (Ecdyonurus dispar) is often confused for the March brown insect as the two are of similar size and appearance. It also favors stony or boulder-strewn rivers as well as the shores of stony lakes. The duns emerge during the day from mid to late summer. The ones that do not make it, flounder and drown in the water are the naturals this fly imitates in the smaller sizes.
Fishing for Salmon with small flies
Many fly fishermen are under the misguided impression that only large flies will catch salmon. I have caught salmon in Scotland on a hook size 10 beaded orange Gold Ribbed Hares Ear Nymph. (admittedly I was fishing for trout at the time)
During the warmer parts of the year Salmon will be tempted to smaller flies. When water levels are high most fishermen usually choose a fly on the large size tending to choose smaller flies when the water drops. We only use even smaller flies on droppers in high water conditions or when the water is very low.
Why is this? Is it because we believe that in deep water small flies will not be noticed? Perhaps we do not trust the strength of the hook to cope with landing a salmon, but many quality small hooks made with modern materials can cope with the strain.
Like me, many trout fishermen who fish waters populated with salmon will confirm that on occasions they hook up salmon on flies with hooks as low as 16. I have had great success fishing for sea trout using hook size 8 silver bodied sea trout flies catching salmon.
In low water flows during the evening using a hook size 10 sea trout fly I have also hooked into salmon. I know this sounds silly but when you are out to catch sea trout and you hook up with yet another salmon you get a bit annoyed.
I always start with the more natural looking flies like a March Brown or Stoats Tail before trying a fly with a silver body and then finally moving on to some of the more colourful flies. Many fishing guide or Scottish Gillie will disagree with me but I know what has worked with me in the past.
It often pays, when smaller flies are being fished, to cast squarer across the river than you would normally using large salmon flies. This allows them to drift with the current, then to move in short erratic bursts before letting them drift once more. It imitates the darting motion of small fry fish. Salmon often literally suck these tiny fish in.
Your fly is taken firmly and deliberately. More often than not a fish is hooked in the roof of its mouth. A size 10 fly can be effective in early spring if the weather is reasonably mild and the river low and gin clear, fished on a floating or sunk tip, especially in the afternoon and the last hour or two before dusk. My record is seven salmon on a hook size 10 March Brown after all else failed me.
Don’t get me wrong, I still use large salmon flies on returning salmon who have spent the last year or two in the sea. These guys are not interested in eating just breeding. I find orange flies work best dangled in front of their nose to 'piss then off' to provoke a reaction.
For the rest of the time when fishing in salmon rivers I start small and drab then work up to large and colourful.
LinkedIn Reader's Comment
Some 38 years ago, I was fishing a small stream in the higher country in Colorado in Sep. Gin clear water about 1 foot deep at max. As I was tying another size 18 soft hackle on 7x tippet, an older gentleman asked to fish through. He was using two wet flies size 10 or maybe size 8 on leader and tippet big enough to tie a ship to the dock.
He was wading up the middle of the stream, slamming the rig tight to the bank especially under the willows. About every 3rd cast, he would get a hookup with a nice 13 to 14 inch rainbow and often a double. I asked him about his technique. He said that we were just past grasshopper season which is why he was hitting the water hard.
He also said the large tippet was to deal with the doubles he consistently got. It was quite an experience watching him take about 8 fish out of water I had not received a strike from with my little bug and 7x tippet. By Marshall Estes
Facebook Reader's Comment
Silver March Brown is ideal as a wet grass hopper pattern here in Australia - Barry Ryan, Gold Coast, Australia