The freshwater shrimp, gammarus shrimp, or scuds, as they are commonly known, are a native freshwater crustacean found in rivers, lakes, small streams, and ponds. These little creatures play a vital role in freshwater ecosystems as they are detritivores and may also consume algae, mainly diatoms. In addition, scuds are considered an indicator species for the overall health and stability of the ecosystem. They reproduce throughout the year, making them a great natural food source for fish. Interestingly, the larger male carries the female underneath him for up to a few weeks during breeding, which may explain why gammarus insects live in colonies. However, despite their importance in freshwater ecosystems, gammarus are preyed upon by birds, fishes, and some insects, and serve as an intermediate host for several parasite species. In this article, we will explore how fly fishing with gammarus can be a powerful weapon in your fly fishing box. Not only is it a great natural food source for fish, but it is also an indicator of the health and stability of the ecosystem.
But how do we use scuds to our advantage when fishing? Here are some tips and techniques to help you get started:
- 1. Identify if gammarus live in the river: Gammarus can indicate if a river is polluted or not. If you find these insects in abundance, it is a good sign that the river is healthy.
- 2. Fish short, under the tip of the rod: When fishing with scuds, it is important to fish close to the bottom of the river where the fish are feeding. Use a heavy fly to ensure it reaches the feeding zone.
- 3. Fish at the edges of the current: Gammarus typically inhabit areas where there is a medium speed current. Look for stones covered in grass and algae, which provide perfect hiding spots for these crustaceans.
- 4. Use a tandem of two scuds in different colors: This technique can be especially effective in slow-moving water. The different colors can mimic variations of the natural insect, which can increase your chances of success.
- 5. Jig slowly and delicately: Mimic the natural movement of the gammarus by slowly and delicately jigging your fly. This will entice fish to take the bait.
- 6. Use the dead drift technique: Allow your fly to drift naturally with the current. This technique can be very effective in tricking fish into thinking the fly is a real insect.
History about using gammarus flies:
Fishing with scuds was brought to the level of art by Czech and Polish fishermen. It is considered the basis of the inventory of Czech-style fishing. After winning many international competitions, the Czechs and Poles propelled the nymph fishing style worldwide. Unfortunately, the gammarus imitations did not have the same success. But if you know how to use and choose the appropriate model, you will catch a lot of fish, as Czech fishermen do today. With these tips and techniques in mind, you can use this fly to your advantage and add a powerful weapon to your fly fishing box. Happy fishing!