13 - Top Tips - Mayfly Hatch

Mayfly –Ephemera Danica (Green Drake)

A mayfly will get any Flyfisher’s juices flowing, and rightly so – these flies are large, plentiful and, most importantly of all, the trout love them!

The Mayfly is usually found in clear water rivers and lakes. The four main stages for a Mayfly are the Nymph, Emerger, Dun and Spent Dun. For any angler knowing and understanding how to use and fish each stage of the Mayflies development will help them make the most of any hatch with some succesful fishing.


Richard Walker


French Partridge


Brown Drake


Spent Mayfly


The Mayfly nymph lives in the silt and sand in slower moving parts of the river, and of course in lakes where they burrow down and spend up to two or even three years as nymphs. They may also be found in gravel beds and faster flowing water but in smaller numbers. The perfect imitation for the Nymph is the Richard Walker Mayfly Nymph, which has all the triggers to fool trout and has caught countless numbers of fish… is there anything better?

Mayflies begin hatching in May through into June and hatches have been known to take place right through the spring and summer months. A hatch will largely depend on the weather, with warmer temperatures a good trigger and indicator for hatches.  Expect to see adult flies on the water early in the afternoon and then on into the evenings. Hatches will occur early in the afternoon and can last for several hours.

A mayfly hatch, in rivers will generally occur in slower moving water. Once it begins the nymphs living at the bottom of the river rise through the stream into the higher surface levels and begin to emerge, with some emerging just below the surface and other right on the surface. One the fly emerges as a dun it will sit in the surface film allowing its wings to dry out before taking flight.

The French Partridge is an emerger pattern that was designed to mimic the most common of the British Mayfly family the Ephemera Danica or as it is more commonly know the ‘Green Drake’, which is found throughout the British Isles. It is designed to appeal to trout cruising for the emerging Dun making its way to the surface. Trout already stirred up and excited by the migration of the nymphs through the currents and flows will find it hard to resist this tried and tested pattern.

The French Partridge is a classic emerger pattern that uses olive and yellow tones in its dressing, mimicking the colours of the ‘Green Drake’. A dyed olive Metz hackle with its long stems and dense barbs is perfect for the body hackle. Males of the species are smaller and darker than females and as such can be tyed on size 12 hooks. The females in comparison are lighter and larger, so a size 10 hook and lighter dressing make for a deadly pattern.

The French Partridge is a classic wet fly and is one of those patterns which is easy to tie, and a dream to fish during a hatch. With the ‘Green Drake’ being so widely spread in Britain and with hatches occurring over an extended period trout are no stranger to this insect.

Watch for the emerging duns pimpling the surface of the water and change up from the Richard Walker nymph to the French Partridge and follow the hatch all the way through its cycle with the Detached bodied Drake and Spent Gnat. 

Now your are ready to match the hatch.