many can you catch?
Fly-fishing-trout at this time of year (early spring) sees water temperatures of around 3 degrees celcius. At this temperature there is very little insect activity and the further you are from the shore the colder it gets. So for a hungry trout the most popular spot is close to the bank where it is a little warmer and food is more plentiful.
To find the fish study the geography of the bank for clues as to where they maybe hiding. A steep bank, for example, usually has deep water in front of it and in summer when the water temp is high this is a good place to fish. The water between small islands and the bank is normally shallow and is a placewhere they like to congregate and is ideal for fly-fishing-trout.
Another favourite spot is are drop-offs (where the lake bed drops sharply away into deeper waters). The trout feel safe because they can feed in the warmer shallows but if their security is threatened they can plunge into the relative safety of the deeper water.
Old weed beds are popular too as they are often chock-a-block with insects.
Finding The Fish
If you are to succeed at fly-fishing-trout from a position on the bank you need to be confident that the fish are feeding in the margins. If they are all that i need do is cast a decent length of line from the bank and wait, confident that my patience will be rewarded.
My set-up consisted of a 10ft 7 wt rod and a floating line, a leader roughly the same length as my rod and a bright Pink Nomad.
Unfortunately no set-up guarantees success especially if you are fishing in the wrong spot. And i was!
Having no luck from the bank i decided to put my waders on and go in search of the fish.
I thought a large tree with branches trailing in the water would provide the perfect conditions for fly-fishing-trout.It was a spot i was sure the trout would like and just such a tree was positioned close by. Immediately to the right of this tree a small group of anglers appeared to be having some success.
To be successful in my fly-fishing-trout endeavours I decided that some flexibility in my approach was needed. To this end i decided a change of line was called for and switched to a slow sinking intermediate. As the breeze was blowing directly into my face i decided against using a floater. However, i persevered with the long leader and my Pink Nomad.
Casting towards the trees i let the fly sink for a few seconds before starting my stop-go retrieve. Before long i felt something knock against my hook.
This knocking told me that the fish were present but the empty hook meant that they weren't taking the bait. To try and find out why i examined my fly. The trout had taken a look at it and being somewhat wary of long tailed flies (possibly from encountering similar flies in the past) had nipped the tail rather than swallowing the fly whole.
To counter this i cut back the maribou tail reducing its length by about 50% and then recast into the same stretch of water.
By bringing my fly back through the water on a level plane using a figure eight retrieve i hoped to tempt the trout into taking a bite but alas the fly was ignored. I then tried a 2 inch strip causing the fly to flutter in the water but again nothinghappened and finally a lift, pull and pause approach which, once again, failed to trouble the fish.
Then, just as i was preparing to recast i saw the line from rod to water tighten and knew something had taken the fly. I lifted the rod to set the hook and then reeled it in. It thrashed about on the surface for a while and made a dash for the trees but it wasn't the biggest of fish and its strength soon faded, allowing me to net it.
I returned it to the water and continued fishing. Now that i had found the correct technique and discovered where the fish had gathered i was confident of catching more trout, which is exactly what happened.
However, after an hour or so the fish stopped biting so i changed my fly to a Cat's Whisker and hoped for better luck. This time i cast a few feet closer to the trees and within seconds i had a bite. And bigger than before! Being larger and stronger this trout put up quite a fight and proved difficult to reel in, but eventually i had it safely in my net.
This fish was of a reasonable size, about five pounds and had probably been in the lake for around 18 months.
So what had i learned from my days fishing? Simply that when fly-casting-trout you don't have to hurl your hook vast distances into the depths of the lake or reservoir you are fishing to land a catch. The fish are often much closer than you think.