Hardy Fin & Fly

Stevie Munn's Fly of the Issue

At last my fishing season has begun! I have endured the long cold winter whose monotony has only been broken by a few angling shows I have worked at. Now once again I am out fishing for wild Brown Trout in my local streams and rivers and the world is good again. The early part of the season is often hard but if you are very lucky you will get a hatch of Baetis Rhodani - the Large Dark Olive (LDO's) and if this happens the sport can be very good for a few hours. This is an insect of flowing water and it can live in steep stony streams as well as in weed-rich chalk streams; the adults can be seen during the cold months of late autumn winter and early spring when few other flies are about.

Be There At The Right Time

Try and time yourself to be on the river at the warmest part of the day. I normally aim to get to the river about 11am as I know that my best time for a hatch should be from 12 until about 2.30pm maybe 3.30pm on a milder day. I sometimes call this time "the Trout's opening hours" so you would think that it's easy just to turn up at the right time and bingo you're in. One problem can be that LDO's can at times be slightly unpredictable and often localised. So from an angler's perspective do you stick with a place you know has worked in the past hoping it's going to happen or do you go looking on other stretches of the river which can be time consuming in your short window although maybe there's a hatch and Trout are feeding on them. Normally I try about three hot spots I know and hope that one of them pays dividends and if one is going ok I stay there.

The dry fly is my favourite way to fish at this time of year but if you don't get a hatch of LDO's it can be very hard and you may be better using the wet fly a streamer or probably even more productive nymphs depending on your water conditions of course. A good nymph for imitating LDO's is a Pheasant Tail Nymph. However sometimes at this time of year you need to get down deep as the Trout can be hard on the bottom. This is when nymphing with heavy flies can produce and in the last few years tungsten-beaded flies have become a revelation in getting you down to the fish when they're not feeding on the top. These heavy flies in different sizes can work very well fished on a dead drift in Czech or French nymphing style or in smaller rivers with less flow cast upstream. Additionally always try and keep in touch with your fly line.

The picture above shows my first wild Brown Trout of the season - not the biggest Trout I've ever had but it's great to get your first Trout of the year no matter what size it is. This one was taken on a dry Dark Olive. It's a great fly and one I use when Trout are eating Large Dark Olives. I hope you dress some and they work for you.

The Dressing
Silk: Nano silk copper
Hook: Partridge dry fly Supreme size 16-14
Tail: Fibre fibbets olive brown
Wing: CDC
Body: Veniard synthetic quill olive
Hackle: Dark olive (sometimes I use natural red that works well on my local river)

Hardy ProTeam member Stevie Munn works full time as a fishing guide writer and qualified game angling instructor in fly casting and fly tying he has also appeared in many angling books and DVDs and gives demonstrations at angling events all over the world. He has also fished many places in the world and grew up fishing on rivers and loughs of Ireland where he often guides. He runs teaching courses in Ireland and host groups to fish in BC Canada Iceland Argentina and other parts of the world. You can contact him via email anglingclassics@aol.com and for more information visit www.irishflyfair.com.