>>>Return to Hatches Print Article   

Hatches - Leeches

Multi-coloured leech



Leeches are a common inhabitant of productive stillwaters. They are a long-lived member of the Annelid family and thus are a readily available food source for trout at all times of the year. Leeches are more nocturnally active and during daylight hours will often seek cover under logs, rocks or benthic debris. They are scavengers, feeding on both plant and animal matter. Some species, when fully extended, can reach in excess of 20 cm in length. They are found in a wide range of colours with black, brown, reddish brown, maroon, and green being quite common. Many leeches are multi-coloured with black and brown and shades of green and brown being common. Prime leech habitat is the bottom or benthic areas of the shoal or littoral zone of the lake or basically water up to about 25 feet in depth.



Leech flies patterns



Trout and char prey on leeches at all times of the open water season but seem to prefer them in the early spring and late in the fall when there are less food items available. Leech patterns can be fished with floating lines and long leaders, floating lines with strike indicators, and all densities of sinking lines. Regardless of fly line selection, it is important to fish leech patterns close to the bottom where they are most often found.






Ruby-eyed leech pattern


Marabou, soft dubbings, rabbit strips or fox hair are all good materials to create life-like leech patterns. The wooly bugger is a great leech imitation and one of the best searching patterns to try in our lakes. Leeches swim in an up and down sinusoidal motion which is effectively imitated with a bead-headed pattern tied on with a non-slip loop knot.