EARLY SEASON WILD BROWN TROUT FISHING ON THE RESERVOIRS – CERI THOMAS
March 20th is a special date in the Welsh fly-fishing calendar – it heralds the opening of the brown trout season on stillwater. After many months of waiting and counting down the days, the wild brown trout fishing can finally begin on the reservoirs of the Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association.
March and April can be tough, cold and brutal months on our lakes, but the brownies are still there to be caught. Hit it right, and you can have a really good day.
Should you be lucky enough to be fishing on a calm, mild day you will often find a nice afternoon hatch of small black buzzer on Talybont and Cantref. This invariably brings the trout to the top, hungry as they are after a long cold winter. So make sure you have some imitative black buzzer patterns, small black CDC dries and some wets such as black pennel and blae and black in your box for such occurrences.
Most of the time though, early season is cold and very blowy. In these typical conditions it’s best to get your flies down a foot or two as the trout more reluctant to go near the surface. Best line is a fast intermediate with a sink rate of 1.5 inches per second. Airflo do some good intermediate lines, including the clear Velocity and Sixth Sense – both great lines for our reservoirs.
With an intermediate line I like to fish a long leader about 15 foot length, with two flies, typically a black mini lure on the point such as a woolly bugger, ace of spades, viva or black tadpole. With a traditional wet on the dropper such as coch y bonddu, bibio, zulu, or mallard and claret you have a very effective early season combination.
Covering water really is the key to early season wild brown trout. You will need to find the fish as they will not be active and cruising round the lake like they are in the warm times. A great method is to ‘step and cast’ – get a nice cast out of about 20 yards then step a yard or two down the bank. Give the flies 10 seconds or so to sink then start the retrieve. That step you made also imparts a nice curve into your retrieve that the trout often find very attractive. Step and cast your way down a whole length of bank until you find a few fish.
Finally don’t ignore the shallows – with even thick snow on the hills I have caught fish at the neck ends of Talybont and Canfref, reason being these are the first areas to warm up and they hold a lot of cased caddis and snails in the decayed weedbeds that provide easy food for early season trout. Also the larger Talybont brownies are known to eat spawning frogs and toads tight in the margins – so late March can be a great time to catch a bigger specimen there. But bear in mind the fish may be out of condition, so try to spare the priest as they are not the best eating at this time of year.