Hywel Morgan – Five favourite rainbow trout flies

hywel_morgan_mainHywel Morgan nominates his five most indispensable fly patterns for rainbow trout, and explains why he simply couldn't live without them.

Hywel Morgan is a champion fly caster (he has had numerous successes at the British, European and World casting championships in both distance and accuracy), casting instructor, tackle consultant for Daiwa, fly fishing guide and television presenter. He has been fly fishing for trout for over 40 years and has spent countless hours fishing the UK's lakes and reservoirs for rainbows.


When I was asked to try to pick my five favourite reservoir trout patterns out of the thousands I carry with me every time I go fishing, boy, what a challenge it was! So in the end I have picked out five flies that are my go-to patterns, ones that I would always tie onto the cast at some point during a day's fishing.

Diawl Bach

hywel_morgan_diawl_bachWell, being Welsh, I had to pick this one as my top pick, and what a fly it is. There are hundreds of versions but my favourite is the red holographic ribbed variety. Although it does not represent anything in particular, it represents several things in general, including chironomids (midge larvae), blood worms (midge pupae) or even pin fry. 

The Diawl Bach can be used in a number of situations – as a team of nymphs fished slow and static, or as part of a pulling team of flies with an attractor on the top dropper to pull the fish in (if they don't take the lure then they often turn away and take the Diawl Bach on the way down). It is a great middle dropper fly when fishing the washing line method, targeting those cruising fish in the upper layers.

Cat Booby

hywel_morgan_cat_boobyNo selection would be complete without a Booby, a pattern that revolutionised reservoir fishing when it was invented in the 1950s. It was originally tied to fish deep water in reservoirs on a fast sinking line and a short leader. This allowed anglers to target fish in early part of the season without getting hooked-up on the bottom whilst keeping the fly there for a long time. 

Boobies are now fished on all types of lines from floaters all the way down to the fast sinker. On a floater, the fly can be used on the top dropper to attract fish to your flies, but it can also be used as the point-fly when fishing the washing line method where nymphs are hung out in between the line and booby to intercept feeding fish. On sinking lines, the Booby can be used as a depth controller, making sure that your flies remain at the depth you want (which will be dictated by the sink rate of the line) for most of the retrieve.     


hywel_morgan_humungusThis fly was originally tied to catch wild brown trout on Loch Leven in Scotland, but since its invention it has proven to be a great success south of the border for rainbows. 

The Humungus is fantastic in the winter as it has great movement and the flash in the tail catches the light and attracts fish from the depths. It can be used deep-down to represent a leach or fished higher in the water column to induce aggressive takes from cruising fish. It does come into its own during fry feeding time and no angler worth his salt would venture out without a good supply of these flies in the autumn and early winter months.  

Crisp Packet Buzzer

hywel_morgan_cpbThis original Buzzer, created to imitate chironomids, was invented in the 1920s by a regular Blagdon Reservoir trout fisher. But all these years later, it is still one of the most productive reservoir trout patterns in the UK. 

The Crisp Packet variety is so named because we used to use thin strips of Doritos crisp packets for the orange cheeks. I have even used four of these at the same time to cover different depths. It can be used suspended under a bung and allowed to swing around with the wind or fished on a straight line, slowly retrieved back with the occasional twitch. This fly has caught me fish throughout the year from early spring all the way into winter. As a rule of thumb, the colder it is, the deeper you fish it.

Black Hopper

hywel_morgan_hopper2No trout fly selection would be complete without a dry fly. Ordinarily, I carry hundreds of dry fly patterns, but the Black Hopper is the one that will catch more fish than most throughout the year as it has the potential to imitate a wide variety of stranded terrestrial insects. I tend to tie mine on heavier hooks so that they sit lower in the surface film. Fish tend to take them with more confidence than if they are sat bolt-upright on the surface. 

I also tend to fish this pattern on flourocarbon rather than co-polymer or mono, so that, after a while, it sinks beneath the surface, allowing me to fish it back in the subsurface layer, covering two methods in one. A quick flick and a few false casts will get it floating again, ready for the next cast. 


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