Sunday, November 24, 2013

Some good Sedge's and how to fish them.

Sedge's are one of the most important species of fly for fly fishermen who chase wild brown trout. There is nothing like seeing a sedge fluttering across or floating on the surface of a river or lake, especially when we see that great wake or hear the big 'sloop' as it is swallowed down by a greedy trout. There are actually over 200 species of sedge flies identified in Ireland and the UK but generally only 20 are of major interest or concern for the fly fishermen.

There are many great sedge fly dressings out there, particularly the Goddard's Caddis and Elk Hair Caddis patterns that have provided deadly

sport on both rivers and lakes for decades. Another great fly imitating the caddis is the stimulator, various patterns of these imitations have evolved to be very productive on our Irish western lakes during the summer windy days. The natural behavior of a sedge is to skate across the surface of the water leaving a wake and making noise which in turn attracts hungry fish. This makes our tied imitations of these flies not only good lake flies in windy days when trout are looking up but also good to suspend buzzers or nymphs below on rivers, lakes and not only act as an indicator for the angler but tweaked across the surface will attract trout up to the sedge or take the nymphs below. 
When on the river and your set up is drifting down stream try stopping the sedge which forces the suspended nymph to rise and then drop again when the sedge is released on to continue its dead drift down stream this can be very effective for grayling as-well as trout.

Also on lakes and reservoirs, a team of flies with some buzzers or nymphs along with a good sized sedge suspending them, is best positioned in the feeding zone, which can commonly be only 18" to 2 feet down during that time of the year when sedge's are about. Simple slow retrieves of the sedge fly, about 12 to 18 inches at a time with a pause between retrieves, causes the sedge to ripple across the lake, simultaneously lifting the buzzer which then drops

back down into the feeding zone. This technique looks both like a natural sedge moving across the water and the buzzer lifts and drops like the natural buzzer emerging in the water. Fishing with Stimulator's in this manner is a deadly summer technique, especially early in the evening as the sedge's are more prevalent on the lake. Also this method on stocked lakes with blood worms as the tail fly can be irresistible to rainbow trout.

Do not be afraid of using two sedge's on a dry fly set up. This can be highly productive on rivers fishing fast water and keeping your dries as close to you as you can with very little line or tippet on the water, doing this you can maximize your catch very quickly. Even pull the sedge's across the current at the same time pulling them under the ripples and they in turn will pop back up as you lift your rod tip up this disturbance and movement in the runs will most definitely attract the trouts attention; thus increasing your rise rates.
I have found that fishing sedge hogs, which are generally associated with lough style, can be very very productive on rivers fishing this method. 

In the European Championships in Poland some years ago fishing a large Olive sedge hog proved to be very productive when a rise began in one session and left me in a positive fifth place for that session. Also I regularly fish these sedge's in the small tributaries of the River Nore, pulling them across the current in the evenings have given me some cracking fishing.  Deer hair is a very common factor in most sedge patterns and is vital to the success of the dressing and the flies presentation to the trout.

When I am on or heading to the river for a session knowing that sedge's are on the menu, I will always tie patterns that can be trimmed, if I don't already know the correct size of the natural sedge. I have found that having the correct length and size of the tied fly is crucial to be exactly the same as the natural one. 

I do think we should be more adventurous with sedge fishing and look to our techniques of fishing them especially in rivers and on fast water, keep your flies close to you and using stealth to hide your position from the trout, skate your flies across the runs, almost like our methodology of nymphing. Being experimental with your tying and getting your sedge's to sit in the water in different ways is also an important factor in trying to get the trout to take your fly over the natural sedge that is beside it on the water. I have found over the last number of seasons that I get better results with much simpler tied flies than complex patterns that seem to catch more anglers than fish, so concentrate on your sizes and profiles and you won't go too far off matching the natural. These are my two most reliable sedge dressings:

Hook: Dohiku Barbless Dry fly hook  size 14
Thread: Olive Twist tying thread
Rib: Clear 1.5lb mono
Dubbing: Tag is Spectra no 96 and body is no 46 spectra dubbing
Body Hackle: Grizzle Cock
Wing: natural deer hair firstly then CDC lightly over the deer hair.

Hook: Hends Barbless Dry fly hook 404 size 14
Thread: Black Twist tying thread
Tag: Glo- brite no 12 
Dubbing: Hares ear mixed with a small bit of UV ice dubbing then brushed out really well.
Wing: natural deer hair firstly then 2 CDC  feathers tied over the deer hair.

The first fly is one I use commonly on the fast water it sits up quite well and is a hard dry to sink, I would fish two of these on the white water of a run and drag them across to get a fishes attention. The second sedge dressing is more for the calmer water and I tend to tie the wing a bit longer and pluck off some of the length from the CDC to match the length of the natural on the water, this sedge sits well into the water and by brushing out the body give it a very attractive and fishy look. You can play around with the tag on the second fly and try out some different colours.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and if you have any comments or questions just drop me a line below, also if you would like to see whats coming next on this blog just sign in and follow me. Thanks for reading and if you are looking for any of the materials used just follow the links to irishflytying.com where you will find all you need. 


  1. I love Sedgehogs. There is another pattern that has worked for me the International Hopper.

  2. On your second fly for calmer eater you have achates ear body mixed with if ice dub....what color ice dub ate you using?