Sunday, 25 March 2012

Spring - blink and you'll miss it!

Well the season has finally arrived in these parts. Opening day dawned cold and foggy, one of those days that numbs the fingers and produces that bead of dew that is impossible to remove from the end of the nose. Needless to say fishing was slow, the tactics deep and slow and the fish playing hard to get.

Things change quickly at this time of year and the Westcountry brown trout being opportunistic feeders quickly respond to these changes. High pressure and rising temperatures over the last few days and the river feels like a completely different fishery. The wild flowers of spring line the riverbank, insects are hatching and water that looked dull and lifeless just 7 days ago seems to now sparkle with vibrancy.

A week ago I was plumbing the depths with tungsten beaded nymphs, scarcely a fin moving. Now, with the warmth of the spring sunshine occasional fish can be seen rising, not in the numbers to suggest that its time for the dryfly but certainly sufficient to raise the anticipation.

The duo rig, a lightweight nymph suspended below a dry, produces a steady trickle of fish. Some fish showed the signs of a long winter, lean and a little tarnished, it shouldn't take too long to recover condition. Also I encounter salmon smolts, young salmon making their way downstream to their saltwater feeding grounds, a really encouraging sign for the future.

Salmon smolt, already adopting the silver jacket.

A succession of fish in the 6-8 inch range succumb to a pheasant tail nymph with the odd fish to the dry and then whilst searching out a deep run I strike to a twitch of the dry, the 2 weight flexes deeply to a strong, more substantial fish. At 13 inches its no monster, but a decent enough fish for these parts and in cracking nick.

And this is how springtime fishing goes, conditions are quick to change with the fish quick to respond. It is all about being sensitive to these changes and of course enjoying just being back on the river after a long closed season.