There it is again, the surface bulges, a tell tale bubble, a flash of colour, the white of a open mouth – dry fly time, or is it? Any surface activity usually has most of us scrambling for a dry fly with adrenalin pumping excitement: sometimes it works, but it doesn’t mean that we have made the right choice – what we should have done perhaps is tie on an emerger.
Emergers have become one of my favourite flies probably because there have been many times that they have rescued me from failing to match what the fish are actually feeding on. They are possibly the easiest food source for the trout, as they remain trapped often for some time in the surface film – emergers remain underutilised by flyfishers.
The tension of the surface film is a major obstacle to mayflies and other insects – making them vulnerable and an easy meal for the trout.
The Klinkhamer is one of the best known and very good emerger pattern. Originally designed by Hans Van Klinken and first fished by him on Norway’s Glomma River in 1984 – it has become the foundation for many varieties since then by fly tyers worldwide.
My version of the Klinkhamer
I used it some years ago as the inspiration for a small emerger pattern I called the Berg Emerger – intended to imitate a small mayfly nymph in the surface film struggling to release iteself from its exoskeleton (shuck). I attempted to include a number of triggers with what I believed were the three most important features – a trailing shuck (kitchen cling wrap), a translucent halo in the thorax representing the opening in the shuck where the dun slowly emergers (antron) and a deer hair wing over the eye of the hook. The profile and shape is also an important feature which can be achieved by using hooks like the TMC 212Ys or Hanak 390BL – a deep surface hanging fly.
The early Berg Emerger – dubbed body in my view is not the best for this fly because it doesn’t sink through the surface film as well as the quill bodied version – an important feature.
Being the quintessential tinkerer, I have modified the pattern and been through various versions to make it, in my mind, simple to tie and a better representation of the natural incorporating materials to achieve this – I suppose you could say it has been the slow emergance of the Berg Emerger.
The latest version has fine rubber strands to represent the trailing shuck (kitchen cling wrap is a good alternative), striped peacock quill for the abdomen, CdC thorax and deer hair wing. The CdC is the new magic – not only does it provide extra buoyancy, but translucency and movement giving the perception of a struggling insect as it tries to free itself from the shuck and burst through the surface film.
The latest Berg Emerger – does all I want it to.
Now, all that’s needed is a good flush of H2O and we can get back onto the streams.
All images and copy in this post are copyright Peter Brigg Photography © 2015. All rights reserved