The Big Sedge

thumbPhryganea Grandis is not a name many at my local loch will be familiar with as I’m probably correct in thinking that Latin is not the first language of your average angler in Lanarkshire.

This grandiose scientific sounding name belongs to the creature which is the largest of all the caddis flies in the British Isles and which starts life in the weed, stones, mud and silt on the floor of my local Loch. I’m of course referring to the Great Red Sedge or to give its colloquial name in these parts, the Big Sedge.

At my local loch we tend to be unimaginative in the naming of everything in these environs for example our topography includes the Big Moss, The Big Stane, The Big Hoos, The Big Island and of course Big Robbie. wfs-5-3-2013-11-13-15-PM-sedge

The Big Sedge life cycle starts when the larvae emerge from their eggs two weeks after they have been layed. The larvae then make a cylindrical case around their bodies from a variety of materials found on the bed of the loch such as minuscule pieces of grit and decaying weed etc.

The sedge exists in larvae form for almost a year then it emerges from its cocoon, develops into a pupae and then swims to the surface to complete its metamorphosis and hatch into adult sedge.

It’s at his stage the fun begins for the angler.

The Big Sedge makes its annual appearance at our loch in the month of June. The great abundance and hatches of these creatures at the loch has led to many memorable nights of fishing for the local anglers as the trout which inhabit this loch cannot resist this easy food source and are often fooled by our artificial flies.

The hatches of the Big Sedge occur at night and reach their peak just as it's getting dark. In the early evening you will encounter the odd sedge here and there but it’s usually late when the real action starts and the big wild brown trout leave the safety of their shady rocks and boulders and make a dash and a leap at the skittering sedges as they make their way across the surface of the loch.

wfs-5-3-2013-11-17-19-PM-woodsidefishing2There are many fly patterns that imitate the sedge; the most commonly used sedge patterns in these parts are the muddler, green peter or the famous G&H sedge. As I tie my own flies I tend to experiment and try out my own variations of patterns. For example I tie up various balloon caddis, sedge hogs, cdc sedges and many more. Of course standard wet patterns such as Invictas, Cinnamon and Gold and various dabblers can also be successful.

So far I have painted a picture of the month of June as a time when an angler cannot fail to fool the trout at the loch.

Of course this is not true. A lot is dependent on the weather conditions. On some occasions the sedge won’t even make an appearance especially if it’s cold and windy. Even when they do hatch in abundance it can often be a frustrating time as sometimes the trout will completely ignore the artificials and gorge themselves on the real insects.

Years of experience have taught me to expect the ups and downs of fishing. It’s what makes my interest of fly-fishing so compelling and what drives me to go back time after time.

Allan Hutton lives in Airdrie with his wife Val and his teenage son, Allan. He has three great passions in life. Fly fishing, hillwalking and Airdrie United FC. He also enjoys fly tying and photography. Allan is a member of Airdrie and District Angling club and fishes Hillend Loch regularly through the week, but also loves to fish the wild, small lochans in the mountains of the Highlands at the weekends. Allan also contributes to the Airdrie United FC match day programme. You can read Allan's excellent Hillend Dabbler fishing blog by clicking this link .