March often seems like a rehearsal for the months to come. A chance to have a few casts and meet up with old friends last seen at the close of the previous season. Now we are ready for the real deal! April should bring warmer weather and the fly life and fish will start to respond.
The trout, who’s head has been down for months, will start to look up and tentatively rise at surface food however rises may still be intermittent and frustrating as surface borne food is ignored.
On the bank side wild garlic will set the back drop for our endeavors with a pungent perfume hanging in the air. The trees will be budding and showing signs of spring but there will be no leafy canopy for fish to lie under just yet.
For me, one of the most exciting events in April is the arrival of the Hawthorn fly. This black leggy fly will hatch from the surrounding countryside in large numbers, often crash landing in the river or lake where it’s desperate twitches attract hungry trout.
You can almost set your watch by this fly as it often hatches on or around the 25th April, continuing to emerge until around the middle of May. The Hawthorn hatch can sometimes be the first frantic dry fly action of the year so make sure you have a few patterns at hand!