As the season swings past spring and leaves on the trees grow ever larger and greener my thoughts turn towards one of the most glorious times of the season. May, and the start of the mayfly hatch.

Typically shy trout throw away their cautious inhibition to become wide eyed and hungry predators. They know they must make the most of this short period for they can grow quickly on this protein rich diet. I could think of few better ways to spend an evening than watching mayfly dance and trout rise with reckless intent.

Westfair, River Anton, Aardvark McLeod

Whether fishing on local chalkstreams or large Irish lochs the mayfly period has always held special meaning to me. Over the years this once in a season hatch has produced so many memorable days and experiences. When I was young and my etymology was far from polished it was easier to decide which fly to choose, this often led to my best days of the season.

As the years have progressed the mayfly period has come to mean something slightly different. Rather than only looking for great fishing this is the time of the season that I hope to catch large fish on dries. A protein rich morsel can be too tempting for even the most wary and wise of big fish, luring them from their layer. More often than not it is during the mayfly period that I catch my best fish on the small and wild chalkstreams I fish.  

River Kennet Chalkstream fly fishing, Dry Fly Fishing, Alex Jardine, Aardvark McLeod Dry Fly Fishing

For small rural communities that are fortunate to be surround by great mayfly fishing there is a real buzz around this period. For some time, I have travelled to the West Coast of Ireland to fish the mayfly on Loch Derg with a friend and fellow guide. I am convinced that none of the locals work for several weeks to make the most of this dry fly bonanza. My friend stays in a camper van to cut down on the commute time to the water. He lives half an hour away! The oily slicks that run across parts of the Loch Derg are often thick with fly. Unfortunately, such an abundance does not always mean the fish are so willing to take your carefully presented pattern.

So, it is with great relief, that I know that I am able to head down to the river come Wednesday to make the most of this rather special time of the season. Who knows maybe a big fish might be on the cards?

Westfair, River Anton, Aardvark McLeod

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