Friday, 28 February 2014

Touching Distance - February 2014

Winter of Discontent 

During the wettest winter on record the local grayling fisheries were flooded for long periods, and I only managed four sessions in total. Hugely disappointing. 

Another winter pastime also suffered as I didn't do much ferreting. To make matters worse Nel, my lurcher, has a severely damaged back leg and will be permanently lame. I think a lot of the bitch and this is a bitter blow.

Long netting an orchard

Early Season Patterns

After time spent indoors my river trout fly boxes are somewhere near where I would like them.

Winter evenings
Over the last few years, there have been significant hatches of Large Brook Duns (LBDs) on the Usk and Taff, and improving hatches of March Browns on the Usk. While they are believed to emerge differently the nymphs, like the duns, looks similar and I have tied the following (size 12) pattern to imitate them.
LBD / MB Nymph

I have had success with the emerger pattern below on the Usk, Monnow and Taff. On the Monnow and Usk, fish have taken the fly during the sporadic hatches of March Browns. On the Taff they have taken this fly during large hatches of LBDs.

Reading John Goddard's Waterside Guide as a boy, I learnt that the stone clinging LBD nymphs don't hatch in open water and that an emerger pattern is of little value. I am no great entomologist, but what I know (now) is that increasing numbers of LBDs find their way onto the surface of the Taff and Usk, trout feed on them and the size 12 emerger below is successful at these times.
LBD / MB Emerger
We all know early season fish feed on Large Dark Olives and I have included a few of the patterns used to imitate the nymph and dun. I also catch fish on olive coloured CDC emerger patterns (similar to the one above) and olive jinglers.

UV Back PTN Jig
Olive Quill Paraduns
LDO Quill CDC Dun

The Red River

The season cannot come quickly enough. As all my thoughts turn to Usk trout, I know the river will be different this year. The high water has not only eroded banks but washed away natural features, fishermens' seats and even bridges. The pictures below were taken in the same spot, and at the same elevation, six months apart.

Summer low - Bryn Derwen, Usk, August 2013

The Red River - Bryn Derwen, Usk, February 2014
I have recently joined a syndicate to fish the Bryn Derwen beat, Usk (pictured above). This beat starts less than 200m from the house and is known for a couple of named salmon pools. It is lightly fished, especially for trout, and I hope to spend many happy hours becoming acquainted with the water and its inhabitants. I am also allowed to take a guest...

We need a dry week before the river drops to the desired level and, with unsettled weather forecast and the season commencing on Monday, it doesn't look good for the Usk.

As Elvis once sang - so close, yet so far.

Usk LDO dun feeder