Windy Weather Means Heather!

Thursday, 25 August 2022  |  Sarah

Wet or dry Heathers your fly

To the angler’s eye, Heather Flies are a carbon copy of hawthorn flies, the major difference is that heather flies have an orangey tinge to their trailing hind legs


Perhaps more important is that heather flies appear later in the year, throughout late August and September
 
Obviously their name suggests they are apparent where heather thrives and whilst this in part is true, heather fly also occur on untouched fells were not a single sprig of heather exists. 
This then puts them on the menu in many upland areas where lakes and tarns nestle.

Being a terrestrial, which means they actually emerge on land, ideally we’re looking for breezy conditions to waft them out over water

When this happens we can expect some of the finest dry fly fishing of the season
 

Now, a single fly on a 12ft leader is best, as this allows us to change direction quickly to cover rising fish. 


If however you’re aiming to search the water, a team of two dry flies positioned some 5ft apart on a 14ft leader overall might be a better option.
The idea then is to find an undisturbed section of bank and work your way along it using blind casts.


As a rule, don’t leave your flies on the water for more than 10-15 seconds before picking them up to re-cast, so you’re in effect, covering fresh water all the time. 

Usually, any trout looking up will seize the flies fairly quickly. 


Of course, where you see any disturbance, get your fly over there in double quick time.
 

In really blustery conditions aim to use wet flies rather than dry patterns, as the naturals themselves are easily swamped in a decent wave. 

Now, look to time hounored dressings like a Bibio, Zulu, or Doobry

These should be arranged some 3ft apart on a 12ft leader overall. 
Wet flies are more deadly when worked through wave tops by pulling them back.

We suggest by starting with foot long pulls.
 

Given really heavy fall of Heather Flies, trout have been known to become a little more lazy, by waiting for natural heather flies to actually drown, allowing fish to pick them off subsurface. 


This generally happens in gusty weather, where waves wash heather fly beneath the surface
 

The best approach now is a team of black spiders, inched back on a ‘bowing’ fly line.  It’s vital now to hold the rod tip approx 1ft clear of the surface, to create a slight sag in your fly line off the rod tip. 


Focusing on this part of your line helps determine takes, as this will ‘lift’ slightly when a cruising trout seizes one of your flies.    
 

The Essential Fly