As we’re nearing the end of the trout season here in the UK, there is no better time to get out on the river bank in search of some late season gold… Here are 3 tips on catching specimen trout.

With little over a month of the trout season left, many anglers focus their efforts towards our Grayling, preparing flies and tactics in readiness for the lady of the stream… but I for one prefer to make the most of what precious time we have left and pursue specimen brown trout.

specimen trout

Don’t underestimate a specimen trout.

One thing I have noticed over the years is that many anglers (myself included) underestimate large trout. If a fish is rising in a pool to seemingly ‘nothing’, it’s more than likely fixated on a tiny food source that is nigh on impossible to replicate. For many years anglers have spent hours and hours targeting certain fish with almost every fly in their box, only to be snubbed at right at the last second.

My advice; try something BIG – A dry fly, a nymph, or a streamer – Something that may knock the fish on its feeding habits. Some of my best river brown trout have come from giving them something totally different – I even witnessed a 4lb+ wild brown trout take a size 10 orange blob fished deep in a back eddy on the River Wye!

Fish in the right areas for specimen trout…

River trout, just like those in lakes, are extremely territorial. If a smaller fish encroaches on a bigger fish’s lay, quite often the bigger fish will attack the smaller fish to ‘shoe’ it off and show its authority, almost as if they’re saying “This is my patch, move on”.

In a normal pool, the bigger fish usually hang out at the heads of the run; getting the first pick of any food that may be tumbling down. As you head down the pool, the size of the fish tend to get smaller. You can see this ‘chain of authority’ quite clearly in weir pools near town centers or alike.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

When targeting specimen trout you need to up your game and there is no truer quote than this; fail to prepare, prepare to fail. The usual river outfits of 2 and 3 weights certainly work, but they simply don’t have enough back bone to be in control of a large trout for long periods of time. A 4 or 5 weight rod is ideal, they tend to have enough power to cast large flies as well as enough back bone to bully a fish from obstacles.

Ensure your fly selection is up to scratch; Zonker & Sculpin streamer patterns fished deep and fast can aggravate large trout, encouraging them to attack.

During a hatch, large dry flies such as the August Dun and late season Olive imitations can provoke specimen trout to rise – just make sure you’ve beefed up your tippet size!

specimen trout

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