Earlier this month I had my first trip out in the new trout season, on 4th April. Last year almost to the day we had a bonanza on the Ribble when grannom started to emerge so I tied up lots of Hoyles GEM’s in anticipation and some LDO patterns, hoping to catch the LDO hatch and the grannom. The weather forecast looked a bit bleak but dry at least so I put on plenty of layers and made a nice flask of hot coffee.
Arriving at the river we were met with an icy East wind that managed to cut through all my layers of clothing, my dry fly only agenda for the season didn’t give me much hope at this point but I showed willing casting an olive Klinkhåmer into the teeth of the gale, at least my companion was catching lots of big fish on his nymphs.
Eventually we decided to head further upstream and try and find a more sheltered spot, sitting on a bench on the edge of some woodland, the sun came out as we sipped our coffee and had a bite to eat. In the lee of the trees, bathed in lovely spring sunshine my optimism began to blossom. Once the LDO’s start to hatch I’ll be into a few fish for sure I thought.
Back on the water, the wind had picked up again but now some large dark olives were starting to emerge. I collected a few with my Torrentis net and put them into a sample container, it’s wonderful to see your first good hatch of the season and surely these beautiful creatures would herald the start of the dry fly action. Casting an olive emerger across the breeze, not quite back in the rhythm after a winter of nymphing I did manage to get some nice drifts down the most likely spots but there was still no sign of any rising fish. I tried to flick the fly a little further up the run, a gust caught it, a definite feeling as the fly hit its target the line tightened and yes, the fly was properly lodged in my cheek ! Well it was a bit of adrenaline for me and some light relief for my Jonathan, I’m glad I fish barbless, a bit of a tug and the fly was free again.
On went the hatch, hundreds of olives in the air but still not a rise in sight in all the most likely spots. Fish were still coming to my companions nymphs all right on the bottom on the point fly. Finally the hatch petered out and I had my first blank day in a long time, strangely still a very enjoyable day.
In a sense there was still some benefit to my sticking to the dry fly, most of the fish caught on nymphs had been grayling and this being grayling closed season at least it gave them a rest, it gave the trout a rest too !