March Brown Mayflies

 March Brown Mayflies - fly patterns for matching western hatches.

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March Brown Mayfly from the book: Hatch Guide For Western Streams by Jim Schollmeyer - CLICK HERE ! March Brown Mayfly Hatches
Rhithrogena morrisoni (that's the scientific name)
Western March Browns are your first "easy-to-see" hatch of the new season.  Look for March Brown hatches on local rivers when water temperatures start reaching 42 degrees consistently. This can occur in most lower elevation water
sheds in mid-February and continues through March and early April.  Hatching March Browns can create some very exciting surface film and dry fly fishing. Hatches of duns usually start in the early after noon and spinner falls are in the late evening. 

Pounding the bottom with weighted March Brown Nymph can provide constant action from mid-morning into the early stages of the hatch.  The March Brown Nymph in sizes #12 & #14 will be your bread and butter fly.  However nymphal color tends to adapt to the color of the stream bed.  Most March Brown nymphs are dark, some are nearly black.  Your catch may increase if you thin out the legs with your leader clipper and color them with a black felt marker. Fishing two flies at once will increase your odds of hooking up.  Usually two different colors or sizes are used.  The Guide's Choice Hares Ear is a valuable pattern to have with you, and will some times out fish the more realistic patterns.  Most March Brown Nymphs are fairly skinny #14's, but slightly larger flies can also work.  March Brown nymphs live in riffles and fast, rocky runs.  As the nymphs near maturity, they migrate to slower water. During the migration, they can loose their grip and drift in the current.  For this reason trout will congregate in places where fast riffles start to slow down and on the seams between the fast and slow water.  Fish your nymphs where the current changes speed.  Approach the water carefully.  Start by fishing the slower water first with flies that are lightly weighted.  Your flies will be most effective if they are perfectly dead drift.  Cast them slightly upstream and mend a little slack into you presentation.  As you work your way out into the faster current, add lead shot to keep your flies near the bottom.
  
As the water warms at mid-day the nymph rise toward the surface to hatch.  Some of these nymphs are intercepted by trout during this upward migration.  Try tying a March Brown Soft Hackle to a dropper 3' above your nymphs. This technique can pay extra dividends. Swinging soft hackle emergers during the early stages of the hatch can also be deadly effective and lots of fun.

As the Duns begin to hatch, trout will rise to the surface to catch them.  This often produces the most visually exciting part of the day.  Big trout rising to March Browns during the peak of the hatch can be very splashy.  Often the rise starts much quieter as trout pick off the emergers just below the surface.  And some duns will emerge from the shuck slightly below the surface. At this time a March Brown Soft Hackle or Flymph fished just below the surface can be your best fly.    The Flymph is often even more effective if you add a March Brown Cripple or dry fly to  a dropper 1' to 3' from your soft hackle and fish both flies dead drift. 

March Browns and their possible related species seem to come in a variety of shades and colors.  That is why there is some disagreement between anglers fishing different watershed as to what the actual colors of March Brown Duns are.  The ones that hatch most often on the Sandy River are brown with mottled wings.  We have seen that same fly on the Deschutes and Clackamas Rivers.  On the Deschutes we have also seen spring time mottled wing mayflies the were grey wing olive.  The trout like both kinds.  Our friends that fish the McKenzie report March browns that are shades of gray.  To be on the safe side you should carry several brown patterns, a blue wing olive parachute and a Parachute Adams in dark tones.  If they are all #14 you're probably in the game.

Duns and emergers produce the best fishing, but some trout will sip spinners in the quietest of water. A March Brown "spinner fall" can extend your fishing day.  Spinner falls usually occur over faster water areas.  However they create the most reliable feeding activity if they raft up in back eddies down stream.  Sometimes the afternoon back eddy rise that you think is midge emergence is actually created by collecting dead March Brown spinners.

Best tackle to fish a March Browns is a 9' #4 or #5 weight rod with an action that works easiest at the 20' to 50' cast range.  I prefer a weight forward line that is a little on the heavy side, is a moderate color and is very clean so that it easily shoots smoothly at all ranges.  The standard 9'-5X trout leader is good starting point.  You might go to 4X if you get brutalized by big fish.  Remember the best fly is the one that is perfectly placed in a risers feeding lane. 
Have a great spring.


March Brown Nymph
Pounding the bottom with weighted March Brown Nymph flies can provide constant action from mid-morning into the early stages of the hatch.  The March Brown Nymph in sizes #12 & #14 will be your bread and butter fly for March Browns.  As stated above, you can chop & thin, color and texture your fly to most match the naturals.  You can capture naturals with a kick-screen.
Item Description Size Price To Top
12200-10 March Brown Nymph 10 3 for $5.85
12200-12 March Brown Nymph 12 3 for $5.85
12200-14 March Brown Nymph 14 3 for $5.85
12200-16 March Brown Nymph 16 3 for $5.85

Guide's Choice Hares Ear
Nymphs tend to adapt to the color of the stream bed.  Fishing two flies at once will increase your odds of hooking up.  Usually two different colors or sizes are used.  A Gold Rib Hares Ear is one of those flies that look like a lot of different stream bed insects.  This fly can also be altered with markers and clippers.  Has caught many trout as-is.

Item Description Size Price To Top
12427 Guide's Choice Hares Ear Nymph 14 3 for $5.85
12428 Guide's Choice Hares Ear Nymph 16 3 for $5.85

Hendrickson Emerger
During most mayfly hatches, duns emerge at the surface. Some nymphs mis-time this sequence and emerge from the nymphal shuck before they reach the surface, or are emerging on their way to the surface. Certain trout feel more comfortable preying on the pre-surface emerging duns. this fly works on both eastern and western March browns.

Item Description Size Price To Top
11407 Hendrickson Emerger 14 3 for $5.85

March Brown Flymph
Often the rise starts quietly as trout pick off the March emergers just below the surface.  At this time a March Brown Flymph fished just below the surface can be your best fly.
Item Description Size Price To Top
06257-14 March Brown Flymph 14 3 for $5.85

March Brown Soft Hackle Spider
A March Brown Soft Hackle on a dropper 3' above your bottom pounding nymphs can pay extra dividends.  A March Brown Soft Hackle fished just below the surface can be good bet during all stages of the hatch. 
Item Description Size Price To Top
17437 March Brown Soft Hackle Spider 14 3 for $5.85

Paranymph, Brown
This is the March Brown May Fly as it hangs in the surface film and is wriggling from the shuck. A Bob Quigley pattern.
Item Description Size Price To Top
Q301-14 Paranymph, Brown 14 3 for $5.85
Q301-16 Paranymph, Brown 16 3 for $5.85

March Brown Cripple
You can fish the cripple like a dry fly by itself or it can be very effective if you add March Brown Cripple to a dropper 1' to 3' from your dry fly and fish both flies dead drift.  A Bob Quigley pattern.

Item Description Size Price To Top
Q1007-14 March Brown Cripple 14 3 for $5.85

March Brown Spun Dun
The deer hair wing on this compara-dun type fly gives it realism that few trout can refuse during a normal March Brown hatch.

Item Description Size Price To Top
11143 March Brown Spun Dun 14 3 for $5.85
11144  March Brown Spun Dun 16 3 for $5.85

March Brown Para Quill
This is a popular and realistic March Brown dun pattern for both eastern and western hatches.

Item Description Size Price To Top
11562 March Brown Para Quill 12 3 for $5.85
11563 March Brown Para Quill 14 3 for $5.85

Loopwing Paradun, March Brown
This is a realistic pattern that can be very effective under all conditions but especially under the slick water bright light condition where fish can be very wary.  Because this fly is fragile it should be saved for special occasions.  A Bob Quigley pattern.
Item Description Size Price To Top
Q235-14 Loopwing Paradun, March Brown 14 3 for $5.85

Western March Brown
Tied by A.K Best, this versatile "easy to see" fly is proven under a wide variety of conditions. It may be fished "in the round" or the hackle can be trimmed on the bottom for a lower silhouette.
Item Description Size Price To Top
11105 Western March Brown 14 3 for $5.85

March Brown Parachute
This very effective low floating quill body dry fly has a wing post made from lightweight highly visible poly.  It is very easy to see, especially on dark overcast days.
Item Description Size Price To Top
3052-14 March Brown Parachute 14 3 for $5.85
3052-16 March Brown Parachute 16 3 for $5.85

Parachute Adams Traditional, White Wing
This is one of the most popular dry flies in the Pacific Northwest.  It is used to imitate a wide variety of mayfly and caddis species.  It is often the best searching pattern when no surface activity apparent.  The wing is made from white calf body hair.
Item Description Size Price To Top
1034-12 Parachute Adams Traditional, White Wing 12 3 for $5.85

1034-14 Parachute Adams Traditional, White Wing  14 3 for $5.85


March Brown Spinner
A March Brown "spinner fall" can extend your fishing day.  Spinner falls usually occur over faster water areas.  However they create the most reliable feeding activity if they raft up in back eddies down stream.  Sometimes the evening back eddy rise that you think is midge emergence is actually created by collecting dead March Brown spinners.
Item Description Size Price To Top
3057-14 March Brown Spinner 14 3 for $5.85

The key to success is "understanding".  You can never know enough.
Understanding the organisms that trout feed on is one of the keys to catching trout.
The Hatch Guide For Western Streams by Jim Schollmeyer 
is great reference material for the trout fisher.
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