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Fly Fishing On The River Usk In March

A Slow Start To The Brown Trout Season

The 2010 fishing season has been open for a month now and I would  be lying if I said that it had got off to a good start. The very late spring and the cold weather through out most of March seems to have delayed the hatches of Olives and Grannoms and in late March the ever dwindling March Browns, for which the Usk has a great reputation.
The very cold water has kept activity to a minimum and with little fly life showing fishing deep has provided the only sparse activity. As the water warmed towards the end of the month rain put its oar in and levels rose into the ‘no fishing’ bracket.

Despite everything contriving against fishermen, there have been some notable successes. The key ingredient has been the help and advice of ghillie, Jimmy Devoy. His years of experience of fishing the Usk and his knowledge of local fly life shows even when he takes out relative beginners. About 10 days ago he took Tony & Shona Prosser out in difficult and cold conditions but they caught two lovely wild Usk brownies on a Gold Head Phesant Tail Nymph (deep).

Then two days ago Jimmy was out with Stefan Krasz and all of sudden at around 1pm on our Top Beat there was a significant hatch of dark olives for about 40 minutes so typical of this time of year. Fishing to the rise with an Usk Nailer Stefan caught two trout and missed a further four. Jimmy recommends fishing all levels of the river at this time of the year and will always use a dropper and sometimes two but fishing dry when they are rising. He stresses the need for something bright for fishing the bottom; a copper john or a pheasant tail pattern with a gold head and a spider pattern for just under the surface. Fingers crossed for warmer weather which can only improve the fishing.
I have included the latest news (31st March 2010) from the Wye and Usk Foundation below;
Back to winter again and, to the disappointment of many upstream salmon anglers, there has been no proper rise in the river while to the disappointment of many trout anglers, there have been several small coloured rises of cold water. Snow is now back on the hills and tomorrow is 1st April!
Trout fishing had been gradually improving although we are still waiting for the main olive hatches of the season. Good reports have been coming in from the Monnow system with some decent catches also being made on the Usk. With water levels rising, trout fishing early next week is likely to be best in the rockier, faster-clearing tributary streams such as the Escley, Honddu (both Monnow) Cilieni (Usk) and Edw (upper Wye).
What will Easter weekend bring? The best hope is that the forecasters have got it wrong and after all there will be some sunshine and warmer days or it pours with rain and washes out the rivers for the week after.  However, we fear that they might break with tradition and get it right, ie cold, snow, wind, rain etc. Suggest you keep a watch on gauges and forecast. The online booking service is available if a late opportunity arises.
For the Foundation, it is a very busy time of year. Today is the last day of coppicing before the teams start fencing and re -liming the headwaters.  We have fish passes to design, consent and build in the Arrow (4), Gavenny, and Llwyd and projects that will redress some of the damage done by diffuse pollution. ISAC, our EU life+ Irfon restoration project has started with a survey and consenting of works which includes restoration of sections of the Irfon forest to manage pH and flows.