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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.