So with just a few weeks to go until the river season begins we have a look at 5 ideas to get your season off to a flying start!
1> Be aware of the water temperature.
Early season fishing can mean fishing with snow melt and cold air temperatures. Statistically we are more likely to have snow at Easter than Christmas. Trout are cold blooded and their body temperature is dependant on their environment. In cold water, their metabolism slows down which means they are less energetic and will not be chasing around after their food. You may need to search deep and slow and put your fly in front of the trout’s nose.
2> Have some hawthorns ready.
Often the first explosive rises of the season come to the hawthorn fly. This terrestrial insect normally hatches from mid April. It is easily identified as a large black fly with two long gangley legs. The Hawthorn fly is a pretty poor flier and they can end up on the water in large number where trout rise enthusistically to them. An imitation fished dry on the surface when the fish are rising to hawthorns can catch large numbers of early season trout. Other key flies for the early season are the large dark olive and shrimp.
3> Terrestrials are important.
Many fly boxes we see are big on imitation of unpwing flies such as olives and mayflies but are very much lacking in the terrestrial department. In many studies, terrestrial insects and flies can make up a surprisingly large part of the trout’s diet and in some cases a majority. Important terrestrials include – black knats, beetles, caterpillars, green fly, and ants.
4> Get to know the insects in your stream.
If you know the food in your stream you will shorten the odds for catching the fish. Is your stream full of caddis, shrimp or baetis? You do not need a degree in entomology to work this out. Oliver Edwards uses a piece of net curtain fixed between two broom handles to catch the nymphs and insects he kicks up from the stream bed. I have tried this myself and it works a treat. A few reference books and a magnifier and you are away. Even if you don’t take it this far, matching the size and colour of the nymphs in your stream will make a difference.
5> Check your waders.
Now is the time to check your waders for leaks, the last thing you want is a wellie full of water on the first outing of the season. It’s really important that all anglers are aware of the spread of invasive species in the UK. You can find details of how to clean your equipment and waders here: http://www.anglingtrust.net/page.asp?section=699§ionTitle=Stop+the+Spread+of+aquatic+invasive+non-native+species