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March Brown Emerger Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: March Brown Emerger
3X-long nymph hook hook (here a TMC 200R), sizes 10-12
Orange, 6/0 or 140-denier
Mayfly Brown Micro Zelon
Fawn-color rabbit-fur dubbing
Natural deer hair, cleaned and stacked
Deer-hair butts
Change colors of the body and wing to mimic any number of mayfly species
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Video Transcript:

This ultra simple March Brown Emerger pattern has proven itself over many years. Even super picky, upper Delaware trout just can’t seem to resist its charms.

Here, author, fly tier and blogger Matt Grobert is going to tie one on a TMC 200R nymph hook in a size 10. For thread, Matt has loaded a bobbin with a spool of 6/0 orange Danville, yes, orange.

Start your thread on the hook shank leaving a 2 eye-length space behind the eye and take a few wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag.

Mayfly Brown Micro Zelon is used to represent the fly’s shuck. A single strand cut from the hank and then split into 2 lengthwise, is enough to make multiple flies. Lay the Zelon against the near side of the hook and take a couple of thread wraps to loosely secure it, and then pull to the correct length. Continue taking thread wraps rearward to evenly anchor the Zelon to the top of the hook shank. End with your thread about 1/2 way between the hook point and the barb. Snip it off to form a shuck 1/2 - 1 full hook shank in length.

Fawn colored rabbit fur dubbing is used to create the body of the fly. Start with an ample pinch and build a fairly long and tapered dubbing noodle on your tying thread. Take wraps so the dubbing begins right at the base of the shuck, and then wrap forward to make a body that gradually increases in bulk. On long hook shanks like this one, you oftentimes need to go back and create a second smaller noodle in order to make the body long enough. End with your thread at the initial tie-in point.

For the wing, snip about 1/3 of a pencil diameter of natural colored deer hair free from the hide. Strip out the fuzzies and shorts from the butt ends and then insert the hair into your stacker, tips first. Give the clump a good stacking to get all the tips aligned and then carefully remove the hair by getting hold of those tips with your left hand. You can then pass the clump to your right. Measure to form a wing that extends just past the end of the body and then transfer the clump back to your left hand. While pinching the hair, take 2 loose collecting wraps with your tying thread and then pull down tight. Keep taking thread wraps to hold the wing in place. Now, pulling a few of the butts back at a time, take thread wraps down into the butts. These wraps are very important when it comes to keeping the deer hair from wanting to spin around the hook shank. Once you have everything really locked down, pull the butts back and do a 4 or 5 turn whip finish, then snip or cut your tying thread free.

Separate the butts from the wing and give your emerger a serious hair cut, leaving just a small, angled head on the fly.

Not only is this pattern a great March Brown Emerger imitation, with minor changes to the colors of the wing, body and shuck, it can be used to represent a Cream Drake, a Green Drake, a Yellow Drake or really any of the larger mayfly species.

The pattern is simple, versatile and effective, it doesn’t get much better than that.