Stillwater go-to’s part 2

Stillwater go-to’s part 2

Viking Lars | Wednesday, 27 October 2021

After I wrote about the two damsel nymphs I thought that I’d continue with a handful of my other go-to still water flies. And I’ve even brought in a guest writer, who for now shall remain a surprise. Today I’ll write about my preferred Gammarus imitation.

Bernd is busy catching pike in the Baltic with quests, so I promised to cover for him today.

Gammarus are en extremely important food source. They are present in almost any body of still water and streams and the populations are usually very abundant. Just this summer my family and I were on the Danish island of Bornholm on vacation. We took a long walk in a forrest and came across and small stream. I of course brought the kids down to turn over some rocks. We found leeches, cased caddis - and Gammarus in the hundreds.

I have Gammarus imitations in my saltwater boxes, my river boxes and my still water boxes. They are literally everywhere.

And of course you need them in several sizes. In the salt they actually grow to considerable size, maybe even as big as a curved #6 in rare cases. In the salt I mostly fish a #10, but also #8s and 12s, rarely smaller, even though there are a couple of #14s in the box.

Freshwater is a different matter. First of all, I never seen them as large as in the salt, even though they can reach considerable sizes. The largest I fish in an 8, but usually 10s and smaller, as far down as to a #16. 95% of the flies as unweighted as I want the opportunity to fish them in very shallow water.

They are equally effective over deeper water, but in the case of the Gammarus (and actually my general preference) I prefer to control depth with the line. They’re not fast swimmers, and when they’re not fleeing a predator, they scuttle slowly about and this behaviour is imitated perfectly with a figure-of-eight-retrieve. The odd long, slow pull and short, sharp jumps are often effective.

On the fly in the PoD I’ve used Exoskin for the shell back. It’s thick and soft and when ribbed, produces a love, succulent looking gammarus. Not that it matters to the fish, but it does to me. ProSportfisher Gammarus Shells are also an excellent choice. They are pre-printed with segmentation and looks equally realistic. I like to put a little bit of flash in the dubbing.

Colours can vary quite a lot, but probably don’t matter much. This is my standard colour, but the naturals can be anything from near-black to near translucent, in all nuances in between. With the dubbing and maybe the colour of the shell back, it’s easy to match your local hatch, if you find it’s important.

I like a shell back that offers just a bit of contrast, but the reality is that most Gammarus rarely have much contrast between belly and shell. Most insects have a lighter underside than the top side, but not always gammarus.

Have a great day,