Pimped Shrimps - The forgotten Grayling pattern

Pimped Shrimps

This week we are turning our attention to one of the most overlooked fly patterns - the humble shrimp (or Gammarus to give it its correct genus). We've quite a few for you to peruse (including some more stunning French ones - from Stan) - at all different price ranges - read the full email for loads of tips for fishing shrimps at this time of year.

Gammarus (or the freshwater shrimp) forms the basis of the Trout & Grayling's diet. They may not be the main food source every day but they do make up over 70% of the annual diet of both the trout and grayling.

The freshwater shrimp is usually found in all our UK rivers throughout the full year, making a shrimp/gammarus/scud pattern one of the first to try when the going gets tough - especially at this time of year.

Freshwater shrimp are much more abundant in waters with higher pH values (for this read - chalk and limestone streams).

As a part of the Riverfly Partnership's Monitoring Scheme on a local North Yorkshire beck, it's not uncommon for thousands of freshwater shrimp to be captured in a short 3-minute kick sample. These shrimp are a fantastic indicator of how healthy the river is - as they are very sensitive to pollution.

One of the most popular fly selections we do is the Gammarus Selection - because they work everywhere, and at all times of the year ...

Why Use Gammarus shrimps?

Simply because they are the most common invertebrates in the water at all points of the year, wild trout and grayling diets will consist mainly of shrimps. Therefore it makes sense to at least have a few in your box, especially during the months of high weed growth (Spring & Summer). These scuds work equally well on both rivers and stillwaters.

During the Grayling season and once the river trout season opensit is essential that you have a selection of shrimps in your armoury - these are the most common invertebrates in the water at all points of the year - especially at this time.

What Tactics Do I Use?

These patterns should be fished close to the river bed (hence the integrated bead to weight the fly), and dead drifted (shrimps do not swim against the flow of the river). These are ideal patterns to use in shallow water, heads of pools, drop offs and close to weed beds. See below in this email for many more hints and tips on fishing with Shrimp patterns.

Gammarus shrimps are found in virtually every river in the UK (and Europe) and are present all year round - just turn over the nearest rock when you are next on the water and take a look. They make up about 70% of the trout and graylings annual diet.

We've just received lots more of our Gammarus Selections, so there's plenty to go around!

Our Gammarus Selection contains 16 flies supplied in our eco-friendly. packaging. All of these flies are hand tied using barbless hooks, in sizes 14 and 18. These shrimps are only available as a selection (4 patterns, 4 of each pattern) for only £20, click any button or image to view the selection in more detail.

Go on, you know you want to!

Or, what about some Translucent French Fancies ...

As well as sending us some Tooty Fruitie Shrimps (see update below), Stan also sent us a batch of Translucent Shrimps tied on a size 14 barbless hook (images above and below) - they are always a popular fly with us, and we always sell out quickly on these - we never have many of them due to the time it takes to tie them (and the associated cost).

We have these Translucent Shrimps in 3 different colours: Olive, Dark Grey and Brown - they are all available individually for £2.25 each by clicking here or any button below.

Tooty Fruitie Update ...

We had a great response to our email last Saturday regarding Stan's Tooty Fruitie Shrimps - the majority of responses were asking if we could either sell them individually or as smaller packs - to bring the prices down. Your wish is our command, we've now re-jigged them so they are available either individually, as a pack of 9 or as a pack of 15:

Go on, you know you want to!

Gammarus Shrimps Behaviour:

  • Shrimps do not like really bright daylight - the become docile when it's really bright.
  • Fish with them during lower light levels - when it's overcast, dawn or dusk, this is when they will be more effective.
  • Shrimps are very good swimmers (but their sense of direction is appalling), they swim in really short bursts (often around in circles), so there's no need to worry too much about presentation, just make sure you fish them on the river bed.
  • Shrimps need to be fished as close to the river bed as possible - in deeper rivers try a sinking line with a short (4ft) leader. On shallower rivers use a floating line and longer leader.

How to fish Gammarus Shrimps:

  • Try casting around gaps in any weed beds and to the heads of pools which are just below the weed
  • Gammarus shrimp love weed, rocks and silt
  • Try using 2 x Gammarus shrimps of different colours (one bright & one dark) on droppers spaced 2ft apart
  • Cast these above the target area, let them sink and then track them back downstream
  • Keep in touch with the shrimp at all times by raising your rod tip as the fly comes back towards you

I usually fish these using an indicator (as my nymphing skills still need a bit of work!).

 Typical Nymphing Leader Setup

Shrimps are fished as you would any other nymph - just remember the golden rule "if you're not getting snagged on the bottom, you're not fishing deep enough". A normal nymph leader setup would be to add a short (12") indicator tippet section to your fly line, to this add 1.5 x the depth of the water you are fishing of tippet (4x or 5x), then the shrimp (or a team of 2 or 3).

Tight lines & have fun.