Saint Mark's fly 


A wonderful warm day in April, just a bit gusty. The air carries the stingy scent of the blooming Canola fields. Yet I don't know it, but the wind will play a positive role today. Some fishes are rising with noisy takes, eating insects that are floundering on the water surface . I soon realise that the blowing breeze is sweeping clusters of black Hawthorn fly over the stream.

The wind blows some of the black flies into the water. Some re-gain airborn after few efforts, others remain trapped in the surface film. After mounting a passable imitation I catch 3 nice brown trout in a row. They all have the distinct signs of recently entered stocked fish. I then move downstream, trying to find out how the fall of Hawthorn is affecting the wild fish.

Downstream, farther from the road, like the trout earlier, indigenous fishes show to be in the same frenzy feeding mode: bold takes on the surface pop on the water in front of me. Big chub are feeding greedily on the diptera, it is turning up like one of those good days.

The Hawthorn fly (Bibio marci) is an insect of the order Diptera. It is also known as Saint Mark's fly as the flying insect hatches from the larva around St. Mark's Day, on the 25th April. It is not a aquatic insect, the larvae live in the ground and feed on vegetation and plant roots.

The fish's take of the fly is often voraceous, an aggresive attack on a easy prey that is struggling half plunged in the surface film. Even if, at times, the fattest and smartest chub manage to take bulky imitations with a very delicate sip.

On days when fish show lots of activity on the surface, an exact imitation may be of relative importance. Although the size and the posture of the fly on the water matter to certain degree, it is key to be careful in approaching the river, as the biggest fish is the first to become spooky.