Let There Be Fish! Tacticks For Early Season Fishing

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Early Season Tactics
Stillwater & River advise
Safety First & Top Tips
Brown Trout Season Preperations!

With the brown Trout season beginning on March 15th in many regions, plenty of small stillwaters remain closed until this date, even where rainbows are encountered.

If we’re fortunate the worst of winter weather will be behind us though even blessed with mild weather, don’t be lulled into thinking Trout will be rising everywhere. 

Outlined here are some early season tactics to point you in the right direction.  

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Generally speaking, stillwaters can be divided into two groups for spring; large waters (lake & reservoirs) and small water (commercial fisheries and hill tarns).  We’d highly recommend beginning your season on small waters as on lakes and reservoirs where plenty of drop offs and deep water exist, Trout can remain out of reach of.

Whilst we’ll all be keen to get out, it’s generally pointless arriving at first light in March as few insects stir. The best time will definitely be between 11am and 3pm (the same can be said for rivers too – below). 

Flies we can expect to see are generally black or grey buzzers and if there’s a little sun, perhaps a cameo appearance from small beetles too.

Initial tactics should involve a floating line with a team of buzzers or nymphs (PTN/Diawl Bach) on a 14ft leader.  Ideally, look for a cross wind so these can be presented on a tensioned line.  It’s best to give the nymphs plenty of time to settle before retrieving
If these fail to produce then a small lure like a cat’s whisker, or Montana nymph fished on a an intermediate usually has the desired effect.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is a slow retrieve, as given cold water the Trout will be lethargic.  With that the figure-of-eight retrieve should become second nature. 
Pay special attention to this when using lures as it’s all too easy to start stripping them back at Mach2 after 10 minutes!
Don’t panic too much if you haven’t quite mastered the figure-of-eight as inch long tweaks can be just as effective.
In terms of fly life, rivers tend to be much more diverse than stillwaters.
Early spring on rivers is an exciting time, principally due to the appearance of March Browns and Large Dark Olives. Both species belong to the group ephemeroptera (upwing flies). During the warmer part of the day the nymphs of these species swim to the surface to emerge and are easy pickings for Trout, even at the surface.

We can expect to encounter both these flies usually from 11am onwards.

Once you see adults duns drifting down there’s everything likelihood of rising fish, some make sure you’re prepared with a dry fly.

A 9ft tapered leader will be fine in breezy conditions though if the wind eases, think of adding an extra couple of feet of level 4lb tippet.

Blessed with rising fish, it’s a matter of landing your fly in front (upstream) of them so your fly drifts into their window of vision and they have time to react. 
Just because a Trout doesn’t take first time round, doesn’t mean your fly has been refused. 
So long as the fish continues rising there’s always hope.

As there’s only March Browns, or Large Dark Olives present the best imitations will a #12 Jingler, or #14 CdC Olive. 

That said, small CdC patterns will just be as popular

With regards to nymphs, heavy flies get down quickly. Patterns like beadhead hare’s ear, PTN and cased caddis will put you in the ball park!
Faced with high water then nymphing is a much better method to employ.  Euro-nymphing (short line) tactics mean your nymphs/bugs sink quickly in the fast water.
Where flood water stirs up sediment making the streambed tricky to see, please be sure to use a wading staff as the river’s substrate is often altered during winter floods, where potholes and drop-offs might be invisible to you.
The Vision Carbon Wading Staff is made from a mixture of an aluminium bottom, a tungsten tip for good grip and with soft shrink tubing to eliminate noise while wading so you don't spook your prey.
Be sure to wrap up warm, even on apparent sunny days as spring weather is notoriously fickle and can change from sun to snow in the blink of an eye... Don't get ill fishing!

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