Stories From The River With Phillippa Hake

Stories From The River Bank

Phillippa Hake went out to explore a local urban river and was greeted with some great dry fly sport! It was great to arrive at the banks of the river to see good numbers of olives hatching off and the fish going bonkers for them as they fluttered down stream! It was the first time this season I‘ve arrived at the river and thought, oh we’re in for a treat today! This particular river I was fishing on this day is only small but is home to some of the most stunning wild brown trout! I feel very lucky to have such great wild trout fishing on my door step. With typical sized brown trout and the odd surprise thrown in, Keep reading for a small insight to my most recent outing!

My Set Up - 

My typical set up for this session was my trusty 9ft 3wt which I use for dry fly fishing on this river. On bigger rivers I do opt for a longer 10ft rod but as I'm on a smaller river the smaller rod is much more obliging when it comes to navigating around tree branches on these smaller rivers. I use a 3/4wt reel with a floating 3wt floating line which I add a 12ft tapered leader with a couple of feet of tippet to make my leader a total of around 14ft.

Check out our recommended river outfit below!


As I mentioned above I have a leader length of around 14ft made up of a tapered leader to aid presentation and turn over. I degrease my leader with a little bit of mud to take the shine off new leaders and helps it dip just under the surface to make it a a little more invisible to the fish.


Shop Tapered Leaders Here!

As I was surrounded by olives hatching off it was a no brainer to tie on a hackled olive dry fly. Pre treated with some dry fly dust to keep it floating, I was ready to make the first cast!

Three Olives For Your Box!

I don’t tend to carry lots of different styles of flies, I’ve slimmed down the amount I take on my fishing days and simplified things a little, carrying 2 or three variations of a pattern. From there I have them in different sizes. See three patterns below that have cemented their place in my box!


Get Into Position

For the first time in what seems weeks, the river was a perfect hight. When it comes to presenting dry flies to fish that are freely rising here are a few tips to give you the best chance at fooling a trout to take your fly! It’s always worth studying the rise form of the fish you’re targeting. You don’t need to rush in and start casting. Take a little bit of time and see how frequently it is coming up to take flies.

Prepare yourself and get into position. A top tip here is to take a moment to become aware of your surroundings, especially on smaller rivers where tree branches are excellent at catching stray flies! Once you’re happy, make your cast at the fish. Casting your fly upstream of the fish so as is comes down the river it comes into the trout’s vision where hopefully it will come up and take your fly

! Dry & Dropper Method Small stream fly fishing is one of my favourite things to do! On the slower days one of my favourite methods to search out fish is the duo/dry dropper. It’s great for when the hatches slow down! giving you the best of both worlds with a dry fly and a nymph suspended below it. Many anglers will opt for a Klinkhammer for the dry but I prefer to use a sedge which I use on the dropper. Some prefer to knot around the bend of the hook, this comes down to personal preference. 



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