Wild brown trout dry fly bonus

July 27, 2015 at 6:18 pm

Feeling disenchanted with my local syndicate trout stream, due to the dearth of rising trout, I had found other waters to explore. Reports from a friend, who fishes a syndicated part of the river Meon, only a mile from his house and has been catching rising brown trout on his home tied dry flies, reactivated my desire to give the river another go.

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It was five weeks since my last visit, and I was not encouraged by the sight of the river, gin clear and barely covering the stones, but I stared in near disbelief at the sight of a fish rising, then another in a tree lined pool, not needing long to wait to snap this shot. I circled away from the river and waded into the shallows downstream of the pool. I didn’t want to disturb whatever was feeding on the surface, even if it was only dace.

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I keep my rod made up and an unweighted Hares Ear nymph was already on the line, into which I squeezed some Mucilin, then wiped my fingers up the leader 6 inches from the fly to aid buoyancy. There is a deep run to the right of the pool, where most of the rises were and moments after the ring from the nymph’s entry had begun to spread, a boil indicated a confident take, tumbling a small dace out of it’s complacency.

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The dace continued to swirl at the half sunk nymph and I hooked another, but was puzzled, as to why they were rising so freely, when no apparent surface flies were visible. On recent visits, there had been many types and sizes lifting off, but no fish chasing them, now it was the opposite. An Elk Hair Emerger was tied on, only to be nudged and sunk by the curious dace, while it was completely ignored by an obvious trout, feeding steadily further up among the trees. Rooting through my dry fly box, I found an old Cul de Canard, one of many tied by a long passed friend and squeezed in more Mucilin, knowing that this would survive the knocks of the dace, while remaining attractive to better fish. First cast it disappeared in a splashy take by another dace. Time to move down river.

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The club usually have a Himalayan Balsam pulling session each year in June, but for some reason this season, it was missed off the calendar and this is the result, 6 ft high invasive plants buzzing with bees, ready to send their seeds downstream. In the past, clumps of alders and willow have sheltered some big trout on this 50 yard stretch, but on their removal by the farmer, so went the trout. There are still a few left in the deeper pools, along with some chub, but today it was more dace, this being the smallest yet.

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Time was getting on and I walked back upstream, six dace did not compensate for one trout and I was already feeling disillusioned, remembering what a good fishery this had been, when I joined the syndicate four years earlier, my mood sinking deeper at the sight of a mink chasing a fish round the small weir pool on my approach, seizing it’s prey in a burst of bubbles and mud.

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Winter floods have pushed many of the stones of the weir from their places, robbing the pool of much of it’s character, while reducing the level above, but it can still provide a few surprises and on cue, a decent fish rose under the trees upstream. With the levels reduced, it was safe to wade up between the stones to cover the rise, with my back to the bank, making side casts, as I inched my way upstream.  The Cul de Canard was hit in a savage take, bending the rod double in an instant, before springing back. I knew without checking, that my fly was gone, inspecting the slight curl in the line, where the knot had been, in stunned silence.

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Looking in my box, what next? A size 14 sedge was tied on, one of my most successful summer dry flies on this river, being prospected along the roots, the slow pace of the stream creating little drag. I missed a smooth take along the opposite bank, snatching the fly away too soon in my eagerness make up for the lost trout. Curses. A fish rose at the head of the pool and I edged my way up towards it, the overhanging canopy reducing my casting range. At last the line curved round and fell with the minimum of fuss, the sedge settling down in the surface film and drifting a few inches before it was silently sucked down. A pause and side strike changed all that, as a brownie burst into life, dashing about the confines of the pool, bucking and crashing around on the surface. Stay down. At last a decent trout, all I needed was to keep my cool, stay in contact and wait for it to tire, landing net in hand, as it brushed my legs. The barbless hook held and I slipped the net under the pound trout, lifting it clear with relief.

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The light was reduced under the trees, this being the only picture that was not blurred, the camera going into automatic flash mode. A beautiful wild brown trout, that made up for all my anguish and disappointment earlier. The trout needed little revival, dropping down to swim among the roots. Job done, I climbed out of the river heading home, but could not pass the earlier pool without a few casts, as the surface was ringed with rising fish. The trout was still coming up at intervals between the trees and I ignored the assumed dace to quietly wade within casting range. Again under a fly snatching canopy of leaves, a side cast is the only way to approach this pool and I measured my casts a yard at a time, until the sedge dropped bang on target. Up he came and a determined lift set the hook, as the trout crash dived, powering up toward a welcoming root, taking line in a spurt, then turning across to the opposite bank. This seemed a much bigger fish, too energetic to be a chub, as it zig-zagged about the pool, eventually breaking the surface to be swept into the net.

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What a scrapper this trout turned out to be, slightly shorter, but barrel shaped and an unexpected bonus fish, that had hatched out and grown quickly on this tiny chalk stream. In half an hour I had changed my mind about the quality of the fishing and will return with a more positive mindset next time.

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Swimming free, this pristine brown trout needed little recovery time, swimming back to the pool a little wiser.