A video about our popular Klink & Dink fly. Great for fly fishing New Zealand style.
Match The Hatch! - our weekly hatch report will help.
I have been out on some local urban streams with the Go-Pro. These wild river barbless nymphs are doing so well with the wild brown trout. Check out our selection of barbless flies here >> http://shop.peaksflyfishing.com/barbless-wild-river-flies-409-c.asp
STUBBORN EARLY SEASON TROUT
We are in a transition period at the minute, increased daylight and a slight rise in water temperature always stirs a few fish but it’s mainly the anglers that are stirred up for the first few weeks of the season.
At this time of year, I will get calls and emails from anglers who have had their early enthusiasm truncated by stubborn fish. Blank days without a touch and not a fish to been seen are not uncommon at this time of year, especially for those just starting out.
This is largely down to two factors. Firstly, the water temperature is still cool and our cold-blooded quarry is more lethargic in cold water.
Secondly, the flies and bugs that the fish feed on are still quite thin on the ground. We are having some hatches of Grannom and Large Dark Olive on the river yet in many cases these are not sufficient to force a rise out of a Trout. In these situations, you need to be able to prospect the river in front of you with nymphs and wet flies and understand where the fish will be.
Fish are still lying low and if they refuse to rise, you must be able to take your fy down to them. Trout will hugging the bottom around the gravel and boulders looking for caddis larvae and shrimp. Prospecting an upstream nymph or Czech nymphing the likely areas has been very successful for me over the last week or two.
The good news is that if you can drift a fly over a fishes nose then they should be hungry enough to make a grab for it. Finding the fish is often more important than the choice of fly at this time of year. Make sure your nymph is getting down to the bottom feeding zone. Use tungsten putty or a split shot if you have to.
That said, you can still have some good days and the fish are feeding. Picking your time to go fishing is important, the warmer hours around the afternoon will often trigger a hatch and a feed.
An old angler I know doesn’t bother to wet a line until he see’s leaves on the tree’s and he won’t be fishing for a good few weeks yet.
In this episode David discovers some beautiful water close to home. Fly fishing using traditional spiders and nymphs on the river Loxley in Sheffield. The season has just opened and insect life is still sparse so prospecting the stream, looking for the likely lies is the order of the day.
Fly fishing for pike is becoming increasingly popular. Fly fishing for pike provides opportunities to catch large wild fish on a fly rod and is exhilarating fly fishing. Most anglers who start to fly fish for pike come from a trout fishing background and although the casting is similar your flies, tackle and leader setup are likely to be different.
Pike can be present in Rivers, Lakes & Canals throughout the UK. Firstly you need to find a venue that contains pike where you can obtain permission to fish. It is also important to ask permission to fly fish at the venue. Whilst day ticket fisheries will be used to people spinning and bait fishing for pike they may not be used to people fly fishing for pike. Sometimes venues will not allow it due to waterside paths where the public can be in danger of being hit by flies on your back cast.
I’m afraid if you are coming from a trout fishing background then new tackle may be required, especially if you are going to be casting big pike flies on reservoirs and lakes. You may get away with casting smaller pike flies on canals with your 8 weight reservoir gear.
Most serious pike fly anglers use a 9 or a 10 weight rod. This generates enough line speed to cast your large pike fly and wire trace.
A reel capable of holding a 9 or 10 weight fly line plus backing line is required. A good reliable drag for fighting those big predators is also a must.
Here’s where you want to really get it right. Go for a short taper type line similar in profile to a shooting head fly line. Saltwater fly lines designed to turn over big flies will also work well. A standard weight forward line will not really generate the line speed you need to cast big pike flies.
Use tuff fluorocarbon for the leader with a length of wire trace tied on the end. There are many different wire traces available and anglers have their own preference as to what they enjoy using.
Use a leader of between 3 foot and 5 feet depending on how well you are turning over your fly. The shorter the leader, the easier it will be to cast however the longer the leader the less likely to spook the fish
You will also need an unhooking mat, a large landing net suitable for pike and some long nose pliers to remove hooks.
You need a selection of natural pike fly patterns that imitate baitfish such as roach & perch as well as some bright loud patterns.
When the water is clear and the pike are feeding more aggressively I like to use natural pike fly patterns. When the water is colder or coloured I often opt for the brighter attractor pike fly patterns.
We have a brilliant selection of pike flies. Here are my personal favourites:
Pike are often ambush predators, they like to sit still and wait for prey fish to come into range before attacking. You should pay particular attention to weed beds, snags and underwater features and drop offs. These are locations where pike will be able to hide to ambush their prey.
Pike can be caught near the bottom, midwater in and around snags or weed beds and off the surface. A selection of pike flies to cover these likely scenarios will suffice. Much of the battle with pike fishing is actually finding the fish. Spend your time learning about the water and it’s features. Try and gain the advice of other experienced pike anglers or the fishery bailiff as to where the pike frequent.
Double haul casting
To cast big pike flies you will need to learn to double haul. Book a lesson with a good fly fishing coach (www.peaksflyfishing.com) or spend some time watching videos online and practice. Double haul casting is essential to be able to cast big heavy pike flies, especially if you are also battling the wind.
Just like fly fishing for trout, the speed of your pike fly retrieve will dictate the depth at which you fly fishes. As with the trout, the colder the water the more docile the pike will be, this means that slow deep retrieves may be needed through the winter months but as the pike become more active you can speed up your fishing as they will chase and attack your fly.
Despite being aggressive predators, pike are very delicate and need to be handled with care. First time round it’s best going fly fishing for pike with an experienced angler who can help and show you how to handle the pike. I highly recommend that you crush down the barbs on your pike flies to make unhooking quick and easy.
Here’s a useful video I found on you tube:
We are delighted to be stocking a range of barbless river flies designed by Chris Ogbourne. These barbless flies are specifically for UK catch and release anglers fishing for spooky wild brown trout and grayling on UK rivers and streams. The selection are tied using natural colours and are designed to sit lower in the surface film where fish are looking to feed. There is a complete range of barbless flies here from dries through to emergers and nymphs.
If you are thinking of venturing out on to the rivers with your fly rod for the first time then this short primer should help answer some river fly fishing basics!
Not all rivers contain trout and grayling so your first challenge is to find a river. You should have permission to fly fish and you need to make sure it contains a good head of trout and/or grayling.
You may want to join a club or buy a day ticket to access the fishing depending on what best suits your needs & budget.
There are basically 2 types of river:
Here the river is fed directly by the rainfall when it hits the ground. Small streams converge to make larger streams and rivers. These rivers are drastically affected by the weather and will rise and color up quickly during periods of heavy rainfall. They can also suffer from very low water in the summer months when rainfall is scarce.
Here the river is fed from a spring that oozes up through the ground. Although the water will originally have fell as rain it can take a long time for it to filter through the ground before emerging as a spring. Often these rivers are referred to as chalk streams due to to the layers of chalk the water filters through. The chalk acts as a buffer so the rivers don’t rise and fall as dramatically as rain-fed rivers.
Most anglers fly fishing for trout and grayling on the river would use rods between weights 1 & 5. The most common weights are 3,4 & 5. You should choose a weight you are comfortable with and which is suitable for the size of fish you a likely to encounter. Also consider the likely amount of the wind & the size of flies you will be casting as these will both be a factor in your choice (the bigger they are, the bigger your line weight needs to be.) Rods with a slightly softer action as opposed to stiff and fast reservoir rods are often preffered. This helps to present a cast at shorter ranges and cushions the fight of hard scrapping brownies!
A very important consideration in your rod selection for river fly fishing is the rod length. If you have room then I think a 9 foot rod is probably best. However, if your river has lots of overhanging trees, you will need to invest in a shorter rod. A 6 foot rod is normally the shortest you can buy.
For much of the time when river fishing the reel will act as a line holder. However, invest in a reel that has a good, reliable drag as this will be very useful in playing fish, especially in strong current.
On a river where you will be undertaking lots of roll casting, a double taper fly line may be beneficial. Otherwise, a simple weight forward fly line that matches the weight of your rod will be fine.
Tippets & leaders
You should gauge your leader and tippet by the size of the fish you are likely to catch as well as the snags you are likely to encounter. The last thing you want is to lose you fly every time you clip a tree.
I often fish with around 2.5lbs tippets which have always worked well for me for smaller wild fish. A 3.5lbs or 4lbs tippet has been more than enough for any other encounter on UK rivers.
Use fluorocarbon for nymph and wet fly and mono-filament for dry fly fishing.
Dry fly fishing on rivers
A dry fly floats. 99% of the time a dry fly is cast upstream or upstream and across. The dry fly then floats down back towards the angler who gathers the slack line as it moves back down the river towards them. Precise turnover (the way your line and leader unfurl) is required in order to make the best presentation of the fly to the fish. Dry fly fishing is a visual method as the angler will wait to see a fish rise up to take the fly before striking into the fish.
Wet fly fishing on rivers
Wet flies sink. They are often slow sinking flies designed to be fished not too far beneath the surface. Wet flies can be fished upstream in a similar manner to the dry fly mentioned above. They can also be fished across or downstream. A take on a wet fly can be both a visual method and a blind method of fishing. When fishing upstream the angler will be alerted to a take by a movement in the fly line or leader. When fishing downstream the angler often detects a take by feeling a pull.
Nymph fishing on rivers
Nymphs are wet flies designed to sink more quickly. They imitate the bugs and creatures that live towards the bottom of the stream bed or around the weeds. Nymph fishing is mostly done upstream of the angler. This allows the nymph to sink as it trundles back down river towards them. The angler gathers the slack line just in the same way as dry fly fishing. Nymph fishing is a visual method as the angler is waiting for a movement in the fly line or leader to indicate a fish has taken the fly.
Which fly should I choose? This is the million dollar question!
There are however, some very common flies that hatch throughout the UK that trout and grayling will be used to taking.
Here’s a great list of simple flies that will catch fish to start you off, they will all catch fish.
Observe the water and the air. Look for flies buzzing about. Match their size and colour to one of these and you won’t go far wrong!