Good fishing reports again this past week on sheelin – The May fly now in its 6th day has shown some promising results with large trout up to the 7lb mark being taken by the well respected angler John Murphy – Mount Nugent Cavan.
The Mayfly emerges from the water, goes through the transformation from nymph to fly, swarms, mates, and then lays its eggs and dies, all in the course of little more than an evening.In the 1600s both Charles Cotton and Issac Walton wrote on the subject promoting the use of Mayfly imitations. These insects have a technical name, (Ephemeridae), which translates into the phase, “lives but a day.” They emerge from their underwater world without mouthparts and therefore can’t eat. This is why they live only for a day. The May Flies eggs are deposited on or in water differently depending on the species. In some species the female will skim across the surface of the water in order to dislodge the eggs from her abdomen. Another species will fly across the waters surface and drop yellow or orange egg masses onto the waters surface. Once the egg lying has taken place the exhausted insect will often times fall onto the surface of the water only to be taken by fish that have observed it from below the waters surface. At a glance the Majority of Mayfly Species has three tails but there are some that only have two. These tails are visible throughout most of the developmental stages.
All will have six legs with one sharp claw on each foot. In the adult the tail can be as long as the insect itself. There are generally 10 abdominal segments with moving gills along the sides of the insect. The Mayflies Life Cycle starts with adult female depositing her eggs in or on the water.The eggs then fall slowly onto the lake or river bottom and in time will develop into an aquatic insect called an immature nymph. These nymphs are classified into four basic groups: Burrowing, free-swimming, clinging and crawling. The Burrowing nymphs like areas that have a either slow or very calm current with a soft bottom made up of rich silt, fine sand, decayed organic debris and marl bottoms of pools, and quiet stretches of river and streams, as well as, the firm bottom of some lakes. The free-swimming nymphs will inhabit areas where there is plenty of natural structure such as, aquatic vegetation and heavy aggregate bottom areas. The Crawling nymphs will inhabit areas of moderate to fast current. Most species have weak legs and are very poor swimmers. They will inhabit the moderate currents among vegetation, gravel bottoms of the water. These Mayfly Nymphs can spend as much as two years Borrowing, Crawling, Clinging, and Swimming around the bottom of the water feeding on algae, organic matter and microscopic organisms.
In order to continue to grow this insect must from time to time, shed or molt the hard exoskeleton. Once the hard shell has been removed the insect will secrete a fluid from its epidermal cuticular membrane, which will harden into another exoskeleton in which the nymph can grow. The mayfly nymph will spend nearly 95% of its entire lifespan below the waters surface. When the Nymph reaches maturity it will transform into a ’sub-imago’. The sub-imago is what we see emerge or hatch from the Nymphs. They are not an adult but are fully winged. This insect is called a Dun and must go through one more molt before becoming fully fledged. When water reaches a temperature of 50 degrees F and maintains that temperature range for three consecutive days, there will be a Mayfly hatch. The Mayfly which is the holy grail of fly fishing makes its appearance in mid May and continues for approximately 4 to 6 weeks. It pays to have a skilled guide direction-finding you to the best drifts and sheltered bays. Local knowledge is invaluable in determining day to day timing and location of hatches, which in turn leads to locating the prime areas for spent gnat and murrough fishing in the late evening. A Book by Cavan man Patsy Deery called Irish Mayflies is available from most good book stores and will give you a very good idea of the many imitations of this Holy Grail of insect.
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Damien Willis + 353(0) 868012546