Thursday, June 12, 2014

Gammarus - the original and the imitation

The Gammarus is an amphipod close to the heart of most fly fishermen, scorned only by a small - though vocal and influential - group of dry fly purists.

And for a good reason, for it is the pork & beans equivalent of the trout and grayling diet. The Danica or Baetis mayflies are seasonal insects, one week appearing in huge numbers, the next week gone for the year. The humble gammarus stays on the menu all year long.

This little guy is Gammarus roeseli, one of the many species of the genus that inhabits fresh waters of Central Europe. It is interesting to note its main features: curved shape, nondescript grayish color with hues of green and accents of a more bright color + large number of legs.

Given the popularity of gammarus it is not surprising that there are many fly patterns around, plus a number of very life like imitations by fly dressers from the extreme imitation school.

I have found that the most simple imitation often works the best, and with this idea in mind I tied the simple woolen imitation shown above. It is nothing more than a size #8 scud hook, lightly weighted and wrapped in Shetland Spindrift Wool.

The nondescript color and shaggy look with lots of movement make it attractive to Grayling - and the ease with which it is replaced is very welcome to a lazy fly dresser.