Urban river trout rise to evening mayfly

May 26, 2014 at 3:06 pm

With the hope that the mayfly had begun to hatch on my urban trout river, I made the journey against the main flow of rush hour traffic, for an evening of action with free rising trout along the roadside. Heavy rain during the day had given way to a blue sky and a golden sun was already low in the sky, as I made my way through a housing estate to the river.

The local council maintain the banks here and the upper section is lawn down to the water’s edge allowing easy fishing, although back casts have to be watched for pedestrians and passing cyclists. Mayfly were still lifting off and the trout were sucking them in with confidence, when I targeted my first fish, which obliged first cast, leaping clear of the water, when hooked.

This was the first of three from one gap between the trees, as I made my way up towards the boundary bridge, where a larger brown was rising steadily close to the opposite bank under the cover of overhanging trees. I got into the water to allow a side cast to place my fly, the apparently shallow water coming halfway up my thighs, the clear water pushing hard against the waders.

This was not an easy cast, avoiding a willow behind me, while shooting the line between the branches, constantly falling short. Once I had the range right, the line skated and the fly was ignored, while the trout continued to take the naturals that drifted over it’s head. A change of tack was needed and I took off the Shadow Mayfly, replacing it with a large Elk Emerger pattern, which being more aerodynamic, cast with ease and dropped onto the surface just ahead, to be taken in a swirl, with a flick of the tail as it headed back down.

Pulling hard against my seven foot rod, there were several heart stopping jumps, following rapid runs that lead me to think the silver sided fish was a rainbow trout escapee, it being a relief to finally persuade it into the net. Not wishing to hammer this upper section, I backtracked downstream, peering over the riverside greenery looking for feeding trout.

The light was now fading, but a few fish were still dimpling the surface, as they took spent mayflies, the urgent splashing rises of earlier gone. The emerger was replaced by a bodied mayfly, which was soon engulfed by another fiesty brown, that boiled it’s way to the net from the middle of the river.

Another awkward cast to a fish feeding behind a tree close to my bank, resulted in my sixth trout on the bank in the 90 minute session. I’d hoped for some bigger fish, but I was happy to catch and release all I caught, while I know that others have no qualms at taking these home for the pot, using whatever methods available.

I rang the changes on flies used, all on size 12 and 10 hooks, the most realistic rising the fewest and catching no fish, while the scruffiest caught the most. Some flies catch more anglers than fish.