5 Must Have Reservoir Dry Flies fo Fly fishing in the UK

There is nothing better than watching a trout work its way up a wind lane, sipping dry flies off the surface. You know full well that if you can skilfully place your dry fly delicately on the water a few inches in front of the hungry fish, an exhilarating take is almost inevitable (providing you have the correct pattern to match the hatch…).

In this post I present 5 excellent reservoir dry flies fishing in the UK. I wouldn’t go as far as saying these are the 5 best or the 5 most important dry flies, but I have had some wonderful sport on these patterns in recent seasons and would recommend that you tie a few up.

Reservoir Fishing Dry Fies
Dry Flies

My standard setup for dry fly fishing is to use two flies equally spaced on a 16 – 18 ft leader. However, it does depend on the particular hatch/ conditions, sometimes it can be better to hedge your bets and fish three flies, equally it is sometimes better just to fish a single fly.

I personally always use fluorocarbon leaders. I tend to use Sightfree Generation 3 for my general pleasure fishing, but use Riverge Grand Max for competitions. I prefer the Riverge line, but it is expensive, so I tend to save it for special occasions. Generally, I will use between 5lb and 7lb fluorocarbon for dry fly fishing. I prefer to use lighter lines around 5lb most of the time, but it is a bit of a risk when you are hooking into the big resident fish. See my ‘Best Fluorocarbon Leader post’ for a full fluorocabon leader comparison. Many people don’t realise, but you can actually get your fishing tackle on Amazon now. Check out: Discount Fluorocarbon Leaders for sale on Amazon

Reservoir fishing leaders
Fluorocarbon Leaders

It is important to always use some kind of degreaser on your leader. I use fullers earth. It is imperative to take the shine off you line and to get your leader sub-surface. Trout will always be reluctant to take if your leader is floating on the surface.

fullers earth for dry fly fishing
Fullers Earth

Reservoir Dry Flies:

1) Black shuttlecock

Shuttlecock Dry Fly Rainbow trout
Black Shuttlecock

This is a staple dry fly that every still water angler should have in their box. The exact pattern is not that important. More important are the proportions. This fly is an imitation of an emerging chironomid, therefore the body is essentially a slim buzzer pattern, and the tuft of cul de canard (cdc) has a dual purpose. The CDC represents the hatching/ opening wings and also makes the fly sit attractively within the surface film.

2) Ginger CDC hopper

Ginger Hopper Trout Fly
Ginger Hopper

This fly is excellent general suggestive dry fly that can be used to roughly imitate many species including Buzzers, Daddy’s and dung fly. Well worth having in your box!

3) Black Beetle

Black Beatle Trout Fly
Black Beetle

I believe that this fly will catch trout on just about any water in the country (still or running). It obviously represents natural beetles very well, but this fly also catches when there are no beetles on the water at all. I think this is because foam backed flies like this one, sit low in the water’s surface film, just as natural insects do. The silhouette of the pattern from underneath is very suggestive, it doesn’t actually look like a beetle form underneath as the foam back is not visible. The key to this fly is having the correct weight of hook in relation to the amount of foam used, so that the fly sits naturally in the surface film.

4). Coch-y-Bonddu Beetle

Coch-y-bonddu reservoir fly

Another beetle pattern. This one is for the upland lakes and reservoirs in June and July, particularly in wales. The trout go crazy for coch-y-bonddu beetles on many upland fern flanked waters. When these beetles are on the water, fish the margins as close in as possible. I have landed some huge brown trout within feet of the bank on this pattern.

5). CDC Dung Fly

Dung Fly Rainbow Trout Pattern
Dung Fly

This is a general dung fly pattern, which uses CDC on the body and in the wing. There are loads of dung fly patterns out there, but this is one of my favourites. Trout love the dung fly and sport can be prolific.


The reservoir dry flies illustrated here have served me well and I sincerely hope they help you catch a fish or two.

Tight Lines!


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