Although the winter seems to be endless and the rivers have been slow to start showing their true potential, there are still fish to be caught at this time of year. It’s all about choosing the right time, place and method. Today, while helping a beginner to start his journey as a fly angler, I timed the lesson so we hit the water at 1pm. Just as we arrived there was the first fluttering of a hatch of Large Dark Olives which grew to a steady stream. The fish, hungry from their winter starvation, were quick to take advantage of the bounty on offer. Within fifteen minutes of the hatch beginning we could see four or five fish rising at the head of a pool, just below a riffle.
Often at this time of year the fish are looking for an easy meal and are not always willing to take a true dry fly, especially if it is riding high on the surface. More success can be had fishing with a small traditional wet fly in the top 10 cm of the water column and today was no exception. My choice of fly in these conditions is a Waterhen Bloa although any of the traditional North Country Spider patterns can be effective, and the best method is to fish them “across and down” traditional wet fly style.
My advice then is to skip lunch and be sure to be on the water between 12.30 and 2pm to take advantage of this small window of what can be frenetic feeding activity by the trout.