No. 8 – Fishing Tips

31 August 2015 | Paul Procter

It’s all about timing, as trout rarely rise all day…
A question that often pops up in conversation when guiding or instructing is, “Why aren’t there any fish rising?”  Invariably, my reply is something like, “Trout don’t rise to fresh air!” Generally, at some point or other during the day, both aquatic and/or terrestrial insects will be available to trout at the surface. In most circumstances, the fish will be quick to respond.  Mind you, the key words here are “at some point,” as outside of this window, little stirs.

Take a raw day in early spring. Depending on prevailing conditions, optimum temperatures might occur for an hour or two and that’s usually around 1 pm.  Now, we can expect Large Dark Olives and, to a lesser extent, March Browns to put in an appearance. Almost instantly, a few dimples can be seen, as trout lock on to struggling duns and emergers. If you’re a dry-fly enthusiast, then make hay, as once any hatch peters out, gone too are those rising fish. Of course, you may still pick fish up using nymphs, but this surely comes as a poor second to what you have just sampled at the surface. 

Now, let’s consider a stinking hot day in August (not this August, of course...) With water temperatures climbing into the high teens, trout tend to be that bit more lethargic. More so than ever, they hold off until hatches or spinner falls peak before venturing out to take advantage. With flies blanketing the surface, trout don’t have to exert themselves, thus keeping their oxygen consumption low and remaining comfortable into the bargain.

With many other instances just like these, it’s blindingly obvious that those who eagerly arrive way too early or fish the water hard might well be bored, or worn out come the prime time. Maybe then there’s value in that mindset of little and often approach? After all, come high summer in my neck of the woods, we anticipate an hour or so of action that usually begins after 10 pm. Granted, sport only spans an hour or so, yet it’s the best 60 minutes of a day!    

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March Browns represent an honest mouthful for spring trout, which are quick to take advantage when the duns like this appear.

Blue-Winged Olive spinners littering the surface on warm summer evenings is a sure sign a rise of trout will be imminent.