I was sent this very informative piece by local fisherman, Will Willet, after his fishing trip on 28th March. What he says about times and flies rings very true with what we expect at this time of the year.
Fishing update – for info:-
I rang the hotel this morning and found you only had one guest on the water so took an opportunity to fish the Top Beat. I was on the water from 11:30 – 14:30 (no real need to be out any longer than this so early in the year with the main rise typically around lunchtime). I got back to the hotel totally drenched after the rain had set in, so I haven’t gone inside to fill out the Fishing Log. I will come back and do this at the next opportunity. Six fish were landed (all returned) and four others were hooked and lost (I suspect barbless hooks falling in their favour).
It was quite hard fishing but the sport was excellent and the river is in rude health. The fish are slim and still showing the signs of a hard winter as we’d expect, but there are plenty of them about. It’s a case of managing the drag and getting the presentation right. There were sporadic olive hatches from about 12:30 until 14:00 and there were short spells where the river was truly alive. I saw one fish move to a fly in a small hole between some rough water and by the size of its tail I’d estimate it to be comfortably over 2lbs. I couldn’t get a fly to it without dragging in the fast flow and it wasn’t tempted… But others were: I landed six of around 10oz to a 1lb and all were returned. Fish and fly patterns as follows (weights approximate):-
1 – 10oz – ‘Early Brown’ (stonefly imitation tied with a long spider hackle) in the surface.
2 – 12oz – Pheasant Tail Nymph.
3 – 1lb – Pheasant Tail Nymph.
4 – 10oz – Dry klinhammer.
5 – 1lb – Dry klinkhammer.
6 – 12oz – Pheasant Tail Nymph.
Worth noting that all of the lost fish were hooked on a dry fly. There was a short period where they were throwing themselves at olives. I guess I’m a little rusty still and striking too early. Also notable that either side of the hatch fish were nymphing and then moving up in the water as the hatch came on. Really important to keep changing with the conditions and the rise.
I think your guests can look forward to good sport this spring but make no mistake it was quite hard work. The presentation and preventing drag is critical and very difficult to achieve. This is more important than fly pattern (if you can’t present the fly naturally with zero drag in moving water it doesn’t matter what it looks like) and I was using short casts, covering lots of water with a long leader – focussing on staying in contact with the flies without any drag, dropping nymphs into the holes and glides, and once on the surface using a small klinkhammer.
I have attached a short clip showing the trout going back. I took lots of photographs too. Be interested to hear your thoughts and if the photos are of interest please let me know.