Leeches are a staple food source in a trout’s diet, they are readily available and fish don’t have to eat many of them to get a good meal.
Though you will often see big leeches, sometimes over 6 inches long at the boat launch or undulating under your boat, it’s often the smaller variety deemed “micro” leeches that fish will feed on more consistently. Certain times and seasons more than others, but leeches can prove effective at any given time during the open water season.
Here are my 3 favourite ways to fish leeches:
Under the Indicator – Leeches will sometimes suspend themselves or move very slowly through the water. Especially early or late in the season, fishing leeches under a strike indicator can be deadly. If there’s no breeze, letting your micro (or balanced) leech hang static in between intermittent strips or twitches works great. When you have a bit of wind, you can cast on a 45 to 90-degree angle from the boat (even into the breeze if it’s light) and allow your fly to drift naturally without allowing too much slack to enter the line.
Naked Floating Line – This is an exciting way to fish leeches, especially sight fishing in shallow water. Adjust the length of your leader according to the depth of the water, along with the speed of your retrieve. If you find fish are following your fly a long way but won’t commit, experiment with slower or faster strips. Adding a significant pause and allowing the fly to sink can be the difference between a fish committing or turning away.
Slime Line – Intermediate lines that sink anywhere from 0.5″ per second to 2″ per second become very useful when fishing micro leeches. The biggest advantage in very shallow or clear water is that there is no wake being created on the surface film by the line. The same retrieve can be made as the naked floating line, but allow a shorter time period for the fly to sink.
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