Well, there is no doubt it’s been an interesting start to the season. Very cold weather and large amounts of snow have kept the water temperatures low. Recent milder weather has caused snow melt to run through the system keeping the water cool. Fly hatches are not yet kicking off with very few up wing flies on the water. Hatches here are mainly early Caddis and Midges.
Fishing has been slow on both the local still waters and on the river with the odd take here or there. I have not seen what I would call a hatch yet and very few fish rising to speak of.
When the water is cold the fishes metabolism will be slower meaning it will be less active and certainly less inclined to chase it’s food. When watching an active feeding trout you can see it darting from it’s lie to take nymphs and flies as they come down stream. I suspect than many of the trout are currently taking food that require little or no effort and may still be tucked away in and around their bolt holes or hanging low in depressions on the stream bed.
Spring is a very productive time of year for fly fishing as the environment is the least challenging for the fish. The water has warmed enough to get them feeding but is still cool enough to hold a high level of oxygen, this means that the fish will start to chase and feed. If you couple this with the sudden abundance of food as nymphs start ascending to hatch then we can see some fantastic fly fishing at this time of year.
The great thing about this slow start is the anticipation that it is all just about to happen! I have been taking the water temperature regularly since the start of the season and this has doubled over the past two weeks to just under 10 degrees. Just a few more degrees and we will hopefully see some fish starting to move! One big positive is the long spell of cooler water may have improved the spawning season so we may see a higher than average yield of wild trout hatching this year.
With the conditions as they are, you could try a few different techniques to winkle some fish out of the river. Fish have been caught fish already by switching to bright lairy wet flies, the idea being to provoke a take through aggression or curiosity. As the fish are not darting around intercepting food traveling downstream, dangling the fly downstream in a similar fashion to Salmon fishing gives fish plenty of time to move up and investigate the fly. This has accounted for a fair number of good takes so far. Czech Nymphing with a heavily weighted shrimp pattern has accounted for a few Trout who were tucked down deep in the rocks. With mild weather just round the corner, it looks like everything is just bout to kick off! Good luck!