Terrestrial Patterns – Part 1

September can be a great time to pursue brown trout and it’s also the the time I really start to think about targeting grayling. However, the end of August and on into the new month can be lean pickings when it comes to fly hatches – which in turn, can make finding feeding fish a little more tricky. Sure, you can fish a nymph, but before you open the nymph box, try a terrestrial pattern. 

Take a look at the bankside flora and you’ll find that it is (and has been for the last few months!) literally crawling with insect life – some of which will find itself falling onto the surface, directed down the food lanes and ends up as a decent meal for a stationed trout. Here are a few of the patterns that sit in my terrestrial fly box and have found me some success:The Hawthorn Fly 
Whilst used as a Hawthorn fly imitation early in the year, this imitation continues to bring success right through the summer (and Autumn) months. It’s a simple tying with Pheasant tail fibres knotted for legs and a folded CDC wing. I prefer a curved hook – with my preference being for the Varivas 2200BL.
The Procter Beetle 
A brilliant, simple pattern that I picked up from Paul Procter. Whilst we usually aim for our artificials to land on the surface gently, this foam backed beetle lands under the leafy bows with a resounding ‘plop’ – and this can be part of the attraction. The fish respond well to its dark outline and silhouette. My preference is for a pink or orange tag so it is clearly visible on the water.
This has become a favourite pattern of mine when rains brings the water levels up and the river is carrying some colour.

As you can see from the above, tapered poly leaders or fly lines with a heavier rating or a steeper tapper allows casting some of these beasts much easier. Some of the Beatles which end upon the water are huge so a size 10 foam backed fly needs to be pushed harder on the cast, something like an Airflo Supple Technical fly line can haul these flies to your desired trouts!
The Klinkhamer 
OK, this works in most hatches, but a small, black version can take some beating if the fish are feeding on terrestrial patterns. I prefer it tied in a #22 with an orange wing post. Again, the Varivas 22ooBL takes some beating for this small offering.

Part 2 now available – Terrestrial flies
Post written by ~Dave Wiltshire  of DW Fly fishing & Tying