As the days grow short and temperatures drop, the trout begin to lift to the plethora of mayflies hatching out while conditions are optimal. A glance at most anglers fly patches usually reveals a preference towards hackled dry flies, those which sit on top of the surface. They are easily seen, and will catch a few fish but there are flies which will catch a lot more.
Up until several years ago, emerger patterns were rarely found in the shops or anglers boxes. Many of our iconic writings never mentioned this most important phase, with more focus on our traditional Kakahi Queens, Blue Duns, Adams and Dads Favourites and maybe that’s why, despite an increase in popularity film flies still don't seem to feature heavily in the everyday anglers arsenal as much as they should.
However when trout can be seen unhurriedly bulging, and not actually breaking the surface with their rise the emerger is the first pattern you should be reaching for.
Not quite a nymph, not yet a dun, the emerger represents the phase in the mayfly lifecycle where the nymph has risen to just beneath the surface, the nymphal shuck splits and the adult emerges within the meniscus.
This is a stage where messy patterns excel as wings are unfolding, legs are scrambling, exoskeletons are shed and the emerger can take on a number of appearances, there is one golden rule however - keep your imitation sparse, and sitting IN, and not ON the surface.
If trout are feeding on duns, they will still happily accept an emerger pattern, however the reverse is not so. If they are locked onto emergers then you'd better have your fly sitting within the surface, where the fish are focussing, and here at Manic we have a few battle tested film flies that April sippers just love.
Koichis CDC Midge
CDC Thorax Dun
Mirf's BLT Dry
CDC Indicator Comparadun
CDC Floating Nymph