Time to think about trout

By April 1, the brown trout season has opened on our Devon rivers and on lakes for Rainbow trout. In my coarse fishing articles, I stress the need to find the fish you wish to catch before you start fishing, writes Mike Winter.

With brown trout, in rivers like the Otter there is no need for this. Just sit and wait for a fly hatch. About 4pm by a smooth glide on an April afternoon is a good time to start. The trout will rise, telling you where they are! If you can cast accurately, with the right fly, you can pick them off!

A problem can be identifying the fly they are feeding on, in order to choose the correct artificial from your fly box. In April, flies like miniature galleons come floating down, looking black against the mirrored surface. The trout take them avidly!

These are large Dark or Spring Olives. I find a Dark Blue Upright the most effective imitation. I tie all my own dry flies during long winter evenings on light, fine wire nickel-plated hooks, size 14.

During May, smaller Olives appear and I use a Kites Imperial tied with dark tails. Later on into summer this fly works with lighter tails the same colour as the hackle, as does a Ginger Quill. If no trout are rising, a Caperer, bounced down the faster runs into deeper pools, is effective.

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On summer evenings, the Blue Winged Olives (or BWO’s) hatch. Trout love them! They frustrated me because I couldn’t find a dressing that worked. Then Geoffrey Bucknall told me I needed to incorporate a little red into the body.

Using a small plastic tea strainer, taped to my rod tip I caught some and floated them in a glass dish and viewed them from below, and yes, there was a tinge of red in their bodies. Then I knew exactly how much red to tie into the bodies. Problem solved. Overnight my BWO’s became deadly!

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On the rivers, I never stood up to cast but always sat or knelt, but aware of any tall plants behind me. I hooked a bullock on the back cast once ! On stillwaters I usually stick to just one fly – a Green Damsel nymph tied on a size 8 longshank hook. Catch one in a tea strainer, put it in a thermos cup of water and watch how it moves.

Then you learn how to make your artificial move naturally and catch more trout!

Lastly tackle. For rivers I use a slowish action 8ft split cane fly rod, a ‘Rimfly’ reel, a no.6 Green floating line and a 7ft leader consisting of 20” of 20lb, 18” of 10lb, 16” of 6lb, ending in 30” of 3lb – all monofil.

On stillwaters I use a 10ft carbon fly rod, ‘Rimfly’ reel, a brown no.6 slow sinking line and a 9ft leader consisting of 24” of 20lb, 18” of 15lb, 18” of 10lb, 18” of 8lb and ending in 30” of 6lb – all monofil.

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