Before we start, there is no such thing as "Duffer's Fortnight"! Fly fishing for trout is difficult all year round and it can be particularly problematic in the Mayfly season if one is not careful. Whether stocked or wild, the trout are experiencing a great deal of change and this affects their feeding habits. Wild trout have just come through the winter and will be keen to fatten themselves up. Stocked fish will have just been moved from a stock pond where they had as much food as they could eat. The Mayfly season is also the most popular and you can guarantee the waters have been thrashed to death by other fishermen so the trout will be wary and easily spooked. They may not run for cover, but they will certainly stop feeding. So, what are the top tips? Here are my Top Ten Tips for Catching Early Season Trout:
1. Select a fly that matches the conditions. Mayfly have two adult stages, the dun and the spinner, so make sure you use the right type – they are very different.
2. Add floatant to the fly but make sure you do not get it on the last 12 inches of your tippet. Use Fuller's Earth to degrease the last 12 inches of the tippet. This will ensure that the tippet does not sit visibly on the surface and frighten the fish.
3. Use the lightest tippet possible. For most trout fishing 4lb breaking strain is fine but on chalk streams you may need to go lighter.
4. Always test your knots or the first fish you hook will do it for you!
5. Never cast beyond your abilities. All this does is frighten all the fish in the immediate area. If you can only cast delicately at short distances then only cast short distances!
6. Use stealth at all times. Always try to get close to the fish without them seeing you. If fish see you they will stop feeding even if they do not bolt for cover.
7. Try to use the minimum number of false casts. Every cast risks thrashing the fish and increases the chances of you getting caught in a tree. Remember that casting is just a means of delivering the fly to the right place at the right time. Perfect casting technique and 60 foot casts do not catch fish!
8. When you hook a fish remain hidden and stealthy. The trout does not know what has happened and will play more easily if it remains confused. If you stand up and show yourself the trout will run from you as hard as possible as it will associate you with the danger it is in.
9. Keep control of the trout at all times so it does not frighten other fish or bolt into weed.
10. Once you have safely landed your first fish of the day, take some of the fish slime and rub it into the last 12 inches of the tippet. Fish slime is a natural whetting agent and will help mask the unnatural smell of your fishing tackle.
There are more tips and advice at the links within the resource box below.