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Top Tips for the 2014 Stillwater Trout Season!

2014 Tackle For Trout
Three months of endless rain has made for a disastrous winter season. Flooded fisheries, sodden banks and dampened spirits have prevented fisherman from getting out and pushed many into an enforced winter fly tying frenzy. This is great news for fly boxes but there’s even better news ahead – it looks like the winter is nearly over! There is a beautiful blue sky over Pall Mall today, the sun is rising earlier and setting later and all over the country thoughts are turning to early season trout.

Early season Stillwater trout fishing is a time of opportunity. The colder water temperatures are far more agreeable to freshly stocked fish which will chase flies with abandon. The larger over-wintered fish will stir from their winter stupor and present the hardy early season angler with the chance of a big, fit and fin perfect specimen.

Trout at Rutland An over-wintered beauty from Rutland Water

Of course with such opportunity there comes risk and for the first two months the risk is that winter could re-appear at any moment. Before discussing tackle and tactics the most vital part of an anglers’ kit at this time of the year is what you wear. During March and April there is every likelihood that you will experience four seasons’ worth of weather in an afternoon and it is vital that the angler is prepared for this. Cold, wet and miserable fishermen catch fewer fish. Utilise all three clothing layers, starting with a good quality base layer close to the skin. Over this us a layer of synthetic fleece, maybe two if the day is particularly cold. Over this wear a fully waterproof, windproof and breathable outer layer which will protect from the foulest of elements. If the sun does shine down on you then you have the opportunity to remove the fleece and/or the outer layer. A polar Buff will keep your neck and face warm, Simms Windstopper half finger gloves will protect your hands from the cold – we’ve all tried to tie flies on with frozen fingers… As always a good set of polarised shades is vital - for this low-light time of year try Costa del Mar lenses in Amber or Sunrise which enhance the available light.

Boat Fishing for Trout Why not get out on the water in a boat?

Tactically early season can be as diverse as the weather and as such it pays to be prepared. With few definite hatches or consistent food sources this is a time of year for “hedged bet” fishing and the angler with a broader skill set and a tactical mind will really shine.

Sub-surface entomology will make the greatest portion of a trout’s food source so unless there are obviously fish rising the floating line can be pushed to the back of the box. A slow intermediate or a longer intermediate tip enables the angler to fish a variety of depths without the need for constant switching of lines and this is very important. As the water temperature changes through the water column trout move with it. Don’t get too stuck on one line at one depth, keep changing your fishing depth to find the fish. A selection of lines on quick change cassette spools comes in to its own during this part of the season.

Trout Fly Selection Get your fly selection correct!

Fly selection is more simple at this time of year. Change between generic imitative patterns like crunchers and diawl bach with a beaded damsel or mini lure on the point. Don’t forget the buzzer box either, just because you can’t see them on the surface doesn’t mean they won’t take chironomids fished slowly on an intermediate. Try larger buzzer patterns and beaded options as well as the Okey Doke which is particularly effective if there is colour in the water.

In summary, get out there, keep warm, keep active and search the water column. Fishery managers will run high stocks at this time of year as early catch reports reflect on a fishery’s reputation for the whole season -there are trout to be caught. If it isn’t working ring the changes and keep thinking depth, depth, depth!

Tight Lines! Andy @ Farlows
2014-02-27 16:00:36
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