The March Brown hatch is maybe the most anticipated emergence of the year on the McKenzie, and it is certainly one of the river’s best hatches. The hatch is important to people who fish the McKenzie for a variety of reasons. It makes for some great surface fishing, but maybe more importantly, it heralds the end of winter and the beginning of the Spring trout fishing season. Before the March Browns start to show, the surface fishing is more or less limited: you will see fish rising at times on Blue-Winged Olives, but these fish will be small on average, and the surface action sporadic at best. The advent of the March Brown hatch, however, will bring the McKenzie’s biggest trout to the surface to feed.
March Browns, and mayflies in general, prefer overcast, cool and rainy weather in which to hatch. It is on these nasty days that you will typically see the biggest numbers of bugs. Yesterday we had the ideal conditions for a good hatch. By the time we put the boat in the water around lunch time, there were already a few duns riding the currents, and a number of fish rising in pursuit. The hatch is always most intense mid-day, and yesterday was no exception. By 1:30 yesterday afternoon, duns and cripples littered the surface, and there were fish rising all over the McKenzie.
We had most of our action yesterday on wet flies (emergers) fished down and across the current and swung. Various March Brown wets and attractors, like the coachman, fished very well.
The next three months offer the best trout fishing of the year on the lower McKenzie River. Now is the time to get out and enjoy what the river has to offer. I am still running the spring special on half day guided fishing trips, which is a great value. This shorter trip is the perfect way to get out and enjoy the fishing that the March Brown hatch offers, and to get instruction on the various techniques we employ this time of year.