Hatches Made Easy:

American March Brown - Emergers


The American March Brown nymphs rise from the bottom to the surface skim to
hatch. The problem you face is recognizing a hatch. As we have previously said,
normally you will not see many of the duns at any one time during a hatch. It may
be just one or two every once in a while. The hatch can last for a couple of
months and there is no particular time of day that they hatch. They may come off
anytime from mid-morning to dark. It depends on the weather which varies
considerably during the long  hatch period. If you see one March Brown hatch
you can safely assume there are more nymphs ready to hatch in that same area
or at least there will be at some time in the near future. Another thing to consider
is that almost any area of fast water has March Brown nymphs so choosing one
area over another is usually not the answer. If you are fairly sure that you are
fishing an area of the stream where they hatch and you have spotted a dun or
two then it may be wise to try fishing an imitation of the emerging nymph.

You want to position yourself in the best possible position to fish the area where
they should hatch. It is easy to spook the trout in the smooth type of water the
March Browns hatch in, so you should use the best type of cast you can make to
reach the area. You will want the emerger imitation weighted just enough to get it
down to the bottom in the calm to moderately flowing water. It should be allowed
to drift slowly along the bottom for a few feet and then (by raising your rod) rise
back to the surface. You may want to use a fairly light and long leader and tippet.
If you use a trailing shuck imitation of the emerging dun (and we suggest you
do), you should fish it unweighted and just allow it to drift drag free in the
margins or current seams of the slow to moderately moving water. We have
experienced some great fishing using a trailing shuck imitation. Even if the
March Brown nymphs are not hatching at that particular place and time, the fly
may work, especially if it is the latter part of the hatch period. I doubt that there
will ever be enough of the March Browns hatching for the trout to feed
selectively on them but I do think the trout may see enough of them to be fooled
with a fly. Remember, that the slower the water, the more difficult it is to fool the
trout, so I suggest you use a good imitation of the emerging nymph.  

Day in and day out, you will probably find the action slow when you are trying to
fish this hatch. As I said, if you notice a few March Browns coming off (hatching),
then we suggest you try fishing the emerger (or dun which we will cover next) in
the area they are hatching. By a few, we mean at least two or three within a few
minutes time span. If you are only seeing a dun every hour or two, you may be
better off imitating another insect. There are several other mayflies,caddisflies
and stoneflies that hatch during the same long period of time the March Brown
hatch occurs. You may be wise to choose another strategy.
It may seem like we are downplaying the March Brown hatch and we don't want
to do that. At the right time and place, you could be very successful fishing the
hatch. The results varies considerably and there may be other insects that are
more important to imitate during the long hatch period.

Coming Up Next:
The March Brown Duns

Copyright 2008 James Marsh