After a prolonged dry spell, a lot of rain has suddenly come down in the last 36 hours or so, and the temperature has fallen markedly. I fish a small, rain fed stream, only a couple of miles from its source, so the level has come up quickly and the water coloured too.
I got into the river at just gone four, and on top of the drizzle there was a breeze coming down stream. No obvious signs of fish, and not much fly life about either. There was the ubiquitous midge, though not in numbers, and after I'd been in a few minutes, I did notice that there were a few upwings on the water, depositing eggs, but the fish weren't taking them. Sometimes, I don't think these trout read the rule books.
So, first off, went for a weighted PTN on the point, with one of my midge emerger patterns I am playing with at the moment, tied with the backing of my carpet as a pupal case, on a single dropper. 7X tippet, and the theory being that the bit of weight on the point would get the whole lot out there and give me a fighting chance of staying more or less in contact with the emerger.
As it happens, whether or not I stayed in contact with the fly didn't matter a jot, as for the first time this year, my scrap of carpet failed to bring up a fish.
I tried a couple more combinations to no effect, and I was beginning to think it was not going to be my lucky day.
But, before giving in, I decided to cheat and tie on a Gold Bead Hare's Ear. Sure enough, this started producing fish.
Working upstream, I reached a big river bend, where the flows and eddies can get really interesting. Took a couple more on the gold bead, but then fancied a change. I'd heard a couple of reckless takes, the kind where the fish splash back into the water, and on a whim, I thought I'd give a try to a crane fly pattern I was working on a couple of years ago now.
It is a parachute pattern, and I put it out and started to twitch it about. And it brought up a trout! But I missed it. Seven or eight more casts about the bend and it brought up two more, both of which I missed. But hell, it was bringing them up, and just when I was thinking how I must be accurately mimicking the struggles of a crane fly caught in the surface film with mere flicks of my fingers, I noticed a mayfly drifting downstream, then skittering about as she deposited her eggs.
Ah, change of tactic required. But, I had no mayfly patterns with me. I did have some simple sedge though, and I've heard people say that they have successfully fished these for mayfly.
So, I thought I'd give it a go. Biggest I had it in was a #14, but truncated bodies never seem to put off a trout, and so it was in this case. Skittered the fly about, and BANG! The trout hit them hard. Caught three this way, but must have missed a dozen takes. At this spot, it is essentially fishing downstream and I always find it hard to time downstream dry takes successfully.
I think what was happening with the crane fly pattern, is that it was the movement acting as the trigger, rather than the form of the fly. I suspect the simple sedge was all the more effective, because it had at least a nod towards the silhouette of the mayfly, and combined with the movement the trout duly committed.
Not totally mad with the crane fly btw - they are about very early this year here, though I didn't see any today.
Moved upstream, and on another run it was back on with the gold head, and five fish from six casts then I stopped.
Further upstream and under dense tree cover now, what looked like a likely spot didn't produce a fish. The air was thick with small midge coming off the water though, so I guessed they must be feeding off the pupa and tied on the copper head pupa pattern, again tied from a bit of my carpet, that complements the emerger pattern.
It produced another couple of bright little trout, which was nice. Jury still out on this pattern though - not really fished it that much.
It was an enjoyable couple of hours. I could easily have gone on, working my way upstream, but it was six o clock by now, and the hounds were calling me. They need their fun too.