How to tie the March Brown Winged Wet with Davie McPhail

Even though the March Brown hatches finish at the end of April, it's still worthwhile learning about the lifecycle of this very important fly.  And from a fly tying point of view, the techniques involved are common to a lot of winged wet flies and duns, therefore time spent at the vice mastering these techniques will stand you in good stead for tying a wide variety of winged wets.

In this episode, Davie McPhail ties a wet March Brown and demonstrates all the key skills, especially how to select, pair, and tie in wings, a must have skill for any fly tier.

All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help.

Materials Used:
Hook: Kamasan B170 Sz12
Thread: Uni - 8/0 Orange
Tail: Bronze Mallard
Rib: Oval Gold Tinsel
Body: Natural Fur - Fox Squirrel Dubbing
Hackle: Brown Partridge
Wing: Hen Pheasant

Davie's preferred type of whip finish tool can be found HERE!

The Winged Wet March Brown is the classic wet fly tied in an extremely traditional style, bringing a more symmetrical appearance designed to imitate a freshly hatched fly that has progressed from its early Nymph state into the first of two steps of adulthood as a March Brown Dun.

Nymph of the March Brown

This European species of mayfly is well-known for the potency of the imitation flies used in fly fishing named Rhitrogena germanica, not to be confused with the 'American' March Brown, which is actually a different species which goes by the scientific classification of Rhithrogena Morrisoni. The Nymph form is well imitated by a Copper John or Hare's Ear.

Male March Brown dun
Then in late March/early April, the nymph hatches into the dun form. These hatches normally consist of bursts of activity that last anywhere from ten minutes to half an hour.

As a dun, the March Brown fly to the bank, then up to a tree where they will rest for anything up to four days before they molt which is an unusually long dun lifetime. You can identify the March Brown mayfly by a dark spot that is visible on the femur of each leg.