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River Fishing for Wild Brown Trout

Published: 23rd June 2021 | Author: Phillippa Hake

Here in the UK, we are truly blessed with some outstanding rivers. So, we set out in the summer months to test our skills on tempting some of the wild brown trout that live in our stunning waterways. 

For me the trout season really starts to kick off once the temperatures begin to climb. Come May/June it really starts to get interesting. My favorite is sitting on the bank as the sun is going down waiting for the evening rise to tempt that one fish that’s sat on the far bank making them subtle rises munching on spinners. That is my favourite time of year. 

A gorgeous wild brown trout.

Tackle

To enjoy this yourself, we’ll take a look at what tackle you might need on your river adventures!

Fly Rod

This might depend on the type of river you’re planning on fishing. If it’s a small river or stream that’s alive with over hanging trees/bushes you’d want to opt for a smaller fly rod such as a 6Ft 2/3wt. If you’re fishing a bigger river then I’d opt for a 10ft 4/5wt. 

A lovely wild brown caught using a 10ft 4wt.

Leader & Tippet

For the last few seasons I’ve been using the Fulling Mill range of Masterclass tapered leaders and tippet with huge success. I’ve mostly been fishing the 12ft 6X 3lb tip and 7X 2lb tip for the smaller fish on the little streams. I usually add a little more tippet material on the end. This not only prolongs the life of the leader but also gives you that slight upper hand if you’re casting at a technical fish!

Copolymer tapered leaders.

Matching the Hatch

It’s vital to know what the fish are feeding on. If they are feeding on nymphs, it could be a good idea to turn a few stones over to see what invertebrates are under them. If there’s some surface action and the trout are actively feeding on hatching flies taking your cap off and trying to catch one to identify it is a good start! All these factors can make all the difference in a trout refusing your fly. They can be really picky eaters! 

Wild brown trout can be picky eaters. Take the time to figure out what they’re eating!
Some of my favorite wild brown trout flies.

During the summer months in the UK, we often experience low water levels. Certainly, the start of this season we saw summer time levels in April as well as the cold temperatures which meant everything happened a little later than usual.

Approaching The River

When the temperatures do start to climb and the rivers are low, approaching the river in the right manner is a game changer. The fish can be more technical than normal. A slow and stealthy approach can make all the difference, especially on pressured waters. On the hot and bright sunny days, the less shadows on the water the better. Sometimes it means getting on your hands and knees and slowly crawling on the bank to get yourself into position. If you find yourself fishing a river with gin clear water or a small stream with technical fish, it might be a good idea to make casts such as bow and arrow and roll casts. Using these may prove more successful than overhead casts. Especially when you’re in that ultimate stealth mode and the less surface disruption, the better! 

Reading The Water

When I take anyone out on my local river one of the first questions I’m asked when we get on the water is “how do I know where the trout are going to be” or “how do you know that that fish was in there!” It’s important to read the water in-front of you. One of the big clues is looking for well oxygenated water, especially on them tougher days. This is the part of the river that’s got a nice flow, bubbles and foam line. This all means food! And trout love a none stop all you can eat buffet on their day.

 You’ll also find that trout love sitting right under over hanging bushes & trees, they’ll sit there waiting patiently for bugs and insects dropping off branches.  it’s always worth just stopping, waiting and looking on at different spots to try get your fly in. 

Timing is Everything

The time of day you fish the river can determine your catch rate. Fishing early on and late on in the day can prove more successful than fishing at the hight or hottest part of the day. Fishing in the morning and evenings will give you much better fishing conditions. You generally get more frequent fly hatches in the evening too! You get them throughout the day obviously, but I do tend to find that when that sun goes down, the river comes alive!

I hope some of these hints and tips might help you if you’re new or looking to improve on your river fly fishing for trout! I hope you’re all having a great season! Until next time, Tight Lines! 

To read more from Phillippa, have a look at some of her other articles on the blog!

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