Daddy Long Legs-time

Daddy Long Legs-time

Viking Lars | Saturday, 15 August 2020

Since I began fishing for trout and grayling with the fly, I’ve always had a keen interest in entomology (well, in fact that interest precedes my interest in fly fishing) and I’m always looking at/for insects. Do you need to know the insects the trout eat to catch them? Certainly not. Does it make you a better angler and improve your catches? If so, not by much. But every once in a while, it really does make a difference and more than anything, for me, it’s just another aspect of fly fishing to dive into. I like know what my intended quarry eats, be they trout, grayling, sea trout or pike.

Being interested in entomology it’s been impossible for me to not notice that there seems to unusually many daddy long legs this summer. In Denmark alone I think there are over 50 species and unlike what most seem to think, they are not only the bog, long-legged straggly creatures we all notice. Many of them are not much bigger than a large midge.

They are not water insects. The female lays her eggs in moist soil, under bark and other places. They hatch from early spring into the autumn depending on the species, and there certainly is a peak in the hatch of the big species in August. Although not being a water insect, it seems that both trout and grayling get to know them, as blind fishing a dry can trigger confident strikes, even from big fish, which rarely rise.

Of course it could be a case of the daddy long legs simply triggering every strike-trigger a trout has. And of course even trout, as much as we’d like them to be intelligent and educated and sophisticated, are also opportunistic feeders and a big daddy long legs caught in the surface tension is easy prey and a substantial meal.

Warm days, where the daddy long legs are most active, with a little wind which blows into the river, blind fishing an imitation can be really good. I don’t keep the imitations in my box year round, but I stick in a few over summer.

My favourite imitation is a pattern my Danish Morten Oeland, who an extraordinarily good fly tier with many excellent imitations and tying techniques to his name. This imitation floats extremely well and has all the right triggers (long, slender wings, long abdomen and straggly legs) and has just one drawback - it’s not the most durable of flies, but then again, not many dries are. It also easy to tie small sizes.

Stick some in your box for your next outing.

Have a great weekend!