The promise of this new season is even more special than usual after lockdown and the miserable winter, so it’s well worth investing some time to make sure that the night before the big day we’re not rummaging through the mess that we left our tackle in at the end of last year (or is it just me that’s guilty of this?!)
Here are our suggestions for the first few weeks – and you can find the flies we’re talking about further down.
Stillwater trout are unlikely to be feeding on the surface yet and there are two major approaches to focus on at this time:
The first is using either a sinking line or a weighted fly to get down to where the fish are holding. Flies for this approach tend to be on the larger side and often in strong colours such as black, white and orange. Black and green is the classic early season colour combination and many successful patterns use it. However, even this early in the year it’s worth fishing a smaller more subtle dropper such as a Diawl Bach, Muskins or Cruncher to pick up fish which are attracted by the lure but prefer to take the less showy nymph. Blobs of all colours can also be deadly – as indeed they are throughout the year.
The other main method is fishing buzzers, either ‘straight lining’ them or under the deadly bung. Where it’s allowed fish two or three flies, usually with the biggest and heaviest on the point, to get everything down to fishing depth quickly. The three flies, maybe three feet apart, cover a range of depths. Very often most of the fish will be found in quite a narrow depth zone – we just need to work out where it is! The best retrieve for the buzzers is usually ultra slow, or none at all. Takes can be alarmingly fast and savage!
On the rivers fly life may be a bit slow to get going, although March Browns and Dark Olives are early onto the scene. If the trout aren’t taking these off the surface a nymph or wet fly may be the best approach, and Klink n Dink covers both the angles. Fish imitating lures have become much more popular in recent years and can work very well when there’s not much evidence of insect based action. They also appeal to the bigger residents!
For the salmon fishers it’s usually a case of getting the fly down a bit using one of the plethora of spey lines and tips available to us these days. Flies tend to be on the bigger side, often brass or conehead tubes, with classics like the gold bodied Willie Gunn and the more sinuous Dee Monkey being long standing top performers. Don’t be afraid to tie on something big and bold in high, coloured water and don’t fish too deep if fish are running rather than resting.
Please remember, whatever you're hoping to target we're here to help so if you need more advice don't hesitate to call on 01753 883366.