North Country Spiders For Irish Rivers

Classic North Country Spiders : successful patterns for Irish rivers and the fly species they imitate

Many of you will know that I love fishing spiders. I recently made this as a post for my Facebook group Fly Fishing For Trout In Irish rivers after a couple of people asked me about doing it. I thought I would put it up on here for anyone else who might like to see it.

So I thought I would share some of my knowledge of North Country Spiders with you all. To avoid any confusion please note that these style of wet flies originate in the North of England, hence the name. Here in Ireland we simply call them Spiders and in America they are known as Soft Hackle Wet Flies. Although technically a wet fly they are actually more like an emerger really in that they imitate an emerging hatching fly.

Hopefully some of you might find this useful.

So here’s a list of some of the most useful spiders there are for Irish rivers and the sizes to tie/ fish them .

It’s by no means a comprehensive list of all spiders and of course you don’t need to have this many spiders in your box to catch trout but If you had all these spiders in your box you would catch fish on any Irish river in any conditions any time of the year. Pretty much everything is covered by these.

  • Snipe and purple #14, #16, (iron blue)
  • Partridge and Yellow #14, #16 (pale wateries and other pale ephemera species)
  • Partridge and orange #12, #14, #16 (stonefly)
  • Black spider #14, #16, #18 (midge)
  • Black and silver #14, #16, #18 (midge)
  • Straddle bug #10, #12 (Mayfly)
  • Greenwells spider #14 (various olives)
  • Claret and black #14, #16 (iron blue)
  • Woodcock and green #14, #16 (various olives. Can also be taken as a sedge)
  • Snipe and Yellow #14, #16 (all pale upwinged ephemera )
  • Black quill #14, #16 (various olives)
  • Olive Partridge and olive quill #14 (various olives)
  • Endrick Spider #10, #12, #14 (march brown. Also great for sea trout and salmon and works great for loughs as well as rivers for big brown trout)
  • Hares lug and plover #12, #14, (large dark olive)
  • Dark Watchet #14, #16 (iron blue)
  • Gravel Bed #12, #14 (daddy long legs)
  • Partridge and dark olive #12, #14, #16 (various olives)
  • Poult bloa #14, #16 (spurwings, pale wateries and blue winged olive)
  • Olive bloa #12, #14 (large dark olive)
  • Waterhen bloa #14, #16 (iron blue and large dark olives)
  • Iron blue #14, #16, #18 (iron blue)
  • February Red #14, #16 (emerging baetis nymph)
  • March brown #12, #14 (march brown)
  • Partridge and hares ear #12, #14, #16 (sedge)
  • Peacock and red #12, #14 (alder and sedges)

These are all very well known famous patterns and tried and tested for generations. Obviously you can easily reduce the amount of patterns but these cover everything.

Another thing worth knowing is that all nymphs are at least a size bigger than the natural dun when fully hatched. The spiders should also be a size bigger than the natural duns you see in the air. And at the start of the season the natural flies are big then as the season goes on they decrease in size. Also early season their wings are darker and they get lighter in colour as the season goes on too. So keep this in mind: early season- larger and darker, mid season smaller and lighter and at the end of the season they are bigger and darker again. I hope this information is of use to some of you.

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