Autumn is our favourite time of the year, the Stillwater trout become aggressive and start to hit the fry, packing on weight in anticipation of winter and here are our 5 top tips on fishing fry patterns.
About Stillwater ‘Fry’
Our Stillwaters and reservoirs are home to an abundance of food, from insects like buzzers, olives, and sedge to sticklebacks, perch and roach fry. These coarse fish provide our trout with a protein-packed food source.
We often get asked the question “What’s the best fry patterns to use?” And the answer always differs. It all depending on where you’re fishing. For example, Chew Valley reservoir of Bristol Water Fisheries sees big explosions of perch and roach fry, where many of the smaller upland venues will see an abundance of Minnows and Sticklebacks. All of which tend to congregate in the margins or around structure like jetties, buoy ropes, and weed beds.
Due to the sporadic breeding seasons of each coarse fish, it means that baitfish or fry are available to trout for most of the year, although fry-feeding activity does become more apparent at the end of the season on reservoirs. Fry provide sustenance for overwintering trout, allowing them to pack on the weight before heading into the cooler months.
1) Know what the fish are targeting
As said above, when it comes to catching trout which are fry feeding, it’s always good to know what type of ‘fry’ they are targeting. A quick look at the margins of the lakes can often give you a good idea of what fry are present. The large waters such as Rutland, Grafham, and Chew Valley have an abundance of Perch, Roach, and Rudd – All can grow relatively large so fishing fry patterns that are big in size shouldn’t be a worry.
- LiteBrite Minnow – Rainbow
- LiteBrite Minnow – Silver
- Minkie Suspender
- Perch Fry Special
- Chain Eye Humungus
2) Floating Fry V’s Sinking Fry Patterns
There are two ways to target fry feeders; fishing for them off the surface with floating fry, or beneath the surface with sinking patterns. `
When there is a lot of surface activity, trout crashing into fry and the small fish jumping clear of the water, this is a good time to use a floating fry. Cast your fly into the commotion, let it settle and simply draw the fly away. This will create a ‘V’ across the surface, indicating an injured fry is trying to escape. Quite often the fish will see this as their chance of a meal and take the fly right off the top – exciting stuff!
When there is little surface action your best bet is to fish a sunk pattern. Ensure you fish in the correct areas for this as indicated below…
3) Fishing fry patterns around Structure
It’s important to find structure when fishing for fry feeders. Boat moorings, floating jetties, buoy ropes, or weed beds will all certainly hold fry. Fry also need to eat, the structure will hold small insects, algae, and water mites which the fry will feed on, as well as giving a sense of security to hide if any predators approach.
If there is a lack of structure on the venues you fish, the margins are a great place to start. Birds such as seagulls attacking the surface will also give away any shoals of fry out from the shoreline.
4) Fishing Fry Patterns
Fishing fry patterns couldn’t be easier, both floating and intermediate lines will allow you to fish your flies in the correct zone. When fishing near structures there will always be a chance of hooking a snag, keeping your flies above these snags will ensure your hook and leader stay in good nick, there’s nothing worse than missing a fish because the point of your hook is scuffed.
When a fish comes to attack a shoal of fry, the fry will tend to rise to the surface and leap, giving away their position; a great place to cast! Beneath these leaping fry, there will be hundreds going wild below. Fishing fry patterns fast with short, jagged pulls can entice a take, or if there is no surface activity, long slow pulls can imitate a lone swimmer.
- Silver Straggle Minkie
- Black Minkie
- Stickleback Floating Fry
- Rob’s Wrapped Minkie
- Stickleback Suspender
5) Use a strong Fluorocarbon
When fish turn their attention and start to attack shoals of fry it can be pretty explosive. Casting your fly among this can be catastrophic if your tippet is too weak… Aggressive takes from resident fish will really rest your tackle, a minimum of 8lb World Class Fluorocarbon is recommended to ensure you don’t break off on that fish of a lifetime!
“This resident rainbow trout was targeting sticklebacks in the margin of this lake. It took a size 8 Brown Minkie stripped along the wall” Kieron Jenkins.