Photograph by Steve Barnett

Sunday 1 August 2010

Aphid Anatomy

Well one or two of you wanted to know about catching trout eating aphids.  A typical day could be one of blazing hot sun in the Dog Days of summer.  Nothing is happening to interest the dry fly angler but...

Under the trees the occasional, lazy rise is spotted.  Crawling carefully to peer over the bank, through the stems of marginal vegetation, you spy a quite decent size trout calmly circulating in the slower water and every so often, up it tilts to sip down one of the aphids that have fallen from the undersides of the leaves above.

You crawl back out and change your tippet for something pretty fine, (in the past, before modern Co-Polymer lines I used to risk putting on a yard or so of Bayer Perlon 2.4lbs or even 1.1lbs breaking strain nylon).  Then you carefully grinner knot on an aphid fly in an appropriate colour, mine are usually green.

If you can solve the problem of casting to the awkwardly located fish, and - when the rise comes - controlling your strike to just such a minimum as is necessary only to set the hook without alarming the fish, if you keep calm, low and out of sight and coax it to swim over your sunken landing net, circling just long enough for you to raise the net... well you might land the fish!

It is nerve wracking, exciting fishing and better than giving up on a blazing hot day.

The Aphid is a simple fly to tie:

Put your size 20 hook in the vice masking the point

Make a short bed of green fluorescent thread by the eye

Take the thread forward

Prepare the hackle stem by snipping not stripping to preserve its strength
Tie in the hackle
Use the thread to make the body
Wind one or two turns of hackle, tie it in, trim it and whip finish the head with a little drop of clear nail lacquer
You can use this anatomy for any colour of aphid you want just keep the hackle turns to a minimum.  Even though it has no tail it floats very well because it is so light and delicate.

Strike carefully!

Regular Rod


  1. Thank you Loopy. The trout agree with you... sometimes.

  2. Very enjoyable article in the recent Watterlog issue, RR. Lovely story about your guest on the Lathkill and I could feel the cold in yours and John Nevilles' hands. Silly buggers! :)