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article by Ron Newman

  • colours run from black and brown to maroon; solid or mottled.
  • average size is up to 50 mm, but some have reached up to 150 mm when fully extended.
  • flattened body, segmented like an earthworm.
Life Cycle:
  • reproduction is on an "individual" basis; all leeches are capable of producing egg masses which they attach to an object under the water surface.
  • leeches are scavengers who feed on decaying or dead organic matter but will also hunt insect larvae, snails and shrimp.


  • leeches like to live in shallow areas with a good covering of vegetation or woody debris which provides both food and cover.
  • will also be found in dark lakes with abundant cover of lilly pads.


  • they have sucking discs on each end of the body which enables them to "inch" along an object or the lake bottom'.
  • they swim with an undulating up and down motion.
Fishing Techniques:
  • fish seem to find leeches more appealing in spring and again in mid to late summer.
  • fish close to the bottom in shallow waters.
  • retrieve with continuous hand twists or long slow strips.
  • can use trolling to imitate the leeches swimming, as they cause considerable movement with their undulating motion; boat speed and direction should be varied.
  • the evening is often a good time as it is thought that leeches do most of their travelling and food search at night.
  • fish prefer the young small leeches up to 1 1/2 inches.
  • in deeper waters use a sinking line and a weighted fly; retrieving using a pull, rest, sink movement.

Recommended Fly Patterns:
  • Little Fort Leech
  • Upside Down Leech
  • Blood Leech
  • Weighted Marabou
  • Black Wooly Bugger
  • Olive Wooly Bugger
  • Maroon Wooly Bugger

Be sure to read other articles by Ron Newman

Study Other Insects | Tip & Techniques | Study Fly Patterns

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