The Orvis Fly Fishing Report: Paul Procter reports on current fly fishing conditions in UK and abroad.

No. 49 Orvis Blog

April 2014
Written by: Paul Procter

Flies fared well
The mild winter we experienced seems to have benefited our aquatic invertebrates to no end. Those waters that opened their season on March 15th reported good numbers of Large Dark Olives, closely followed by flurries of March Browns, too. There were even a few of those large, prehistoric looking stoneflies to be found crawling along the banks. Unbelievably, whispers of Grannom hatches occurring in parts of Wales have reached us and, although from a very reliable source, I hasten to add this is an exception rather than the rule! Fingers crossed then, these early signs suggest a bumper season with regards to fly hatches.

Large Dark Olive

Hopefully the opening weeks will be dominated by Large Dark Olives.

Stonefly

Attaining nearly 2 inches in length, large stoneflies represent a decent mouthful for spring trout.

March Brown

The March Brown is perhaps our most iconic upwinged species.

Fly Surveys
The March brown—Rhithrogena germanica—is probably our most iconic British mayfly. It is sacred to anglers across the UK and has been studiously imitated by them to tempt fish for some 500 years now. However, numbers of this species are in decline across Europe. It’s thought that some of the healthiest March brown populations in Europe exist in UK rivers. The Ephemeroptera Recording Scheme is collecting records of this insect, so that they can understand its distribution in the UK and to see how important the populations here are. Given this, if you’ve seen a March brown we urge you to please enter the details on iRecord at www.brc.ac.uk/irecord or send your sighting (including grid reference, location, date, and photos if available) to Craig Macadam at craig.macadam@buglife.org.uk.

Trout

Fish like this stunner were in the offing for those prepared to brace icy easterly breezes.

It’s kicking off
What with our bugs getting off to a flying start, not surprisingly the trout population wintered well, too. Admittedly, squally conditions might have scuppered our best-laid plans concerning dry flies, but spider patterns or nymphs presented dead drift have accounted for some spanking trout during the opening weeks. Even those biting easterlies didn’t deter fish when I stumbled on some quality trout holding in shallow streamy water. As fat as butter they fought extremely well, despite near-freezing water temperatures.

Inside or out?
Traditionally, a Waterhen Bloa calls for an under covert feather taken close to the knuckle on the inside of a moorhen wing. Sticking to the letter, this remained my choice too, until one day a number of years ago when I’d stripped my coveted moorhen wings of this precious bounty. Some might call me a heathen, others would say I was being frugal, but desperate for a handful of flies, I turned to the marginal coverts (outside shoulder) of a wing. What fell from my vice that day was a bundle of spiders with a certain va va voom. Whether you agree or not, these days I neglect the inside hackles of moorhen wings and instead instinctively reached for those outer feathers. Why? Because they’re a desirable spoon shape with nice webby fibres that catch the light to give off a lovely olive sheen. In my eyes, the finished fly is nothing short of stunning.

Underwing

Traditionally, hackles are sought on the underside of a moorhen wing.

Overwing

My money is on the more webby marginal covert feathers.

Spider

Hackles taken from the outside knuckle make exquisite spiders.

On the Chew
Colin Burbedge from our Bath retail store braved the elements to spend opening day afloat on Chew Valley Reservoir. Taking a boat out in the opening weeks might give you the chance to roam, but there’s little in the way of shelter, especially when a howling wind gets up. Numbing hands might have been the order of the day, but perseverance eventually paid off for Colin. Interestingly, trout preferred the shallower areas, calling for un-weighted flies trundled back with a steady figure-of-eight retrieve. Colin’s top patterns included a black cormorant and hare’s ear nymph.

The River Test

The Kimbridge beat is looking promising.

Chalkstreams looking rosy
Colin Burbedge from our Bath retail store braved the elements to spend opening day afloat on Chew Valley Reservoir. Taking a boat out in the opening weeks might give you the chance to roam, but there’s little in the way of shelter, especially when a howling wind gets up. Numbing hands might have been the order of the day, but perseverance eventually paid off for Colin. Interestingly, trout preferred the shallower areas, calling for un-weighted flies trundled back with a steady figure-of-eight retrieve. Colin’s top patterns included a black cormorant and hare’s ear nymph.

Email: SportingTraditions@Orvis.co.uk
Contact Steve at: steve@goflyfishinguk.com
Find Dave at: dave@goflyfishinguk.com

2014 Schools and Courses
Orvis have a great range of Schools and Courses lined up for 2014 which cover all aspects of fly fishing and this year look to include the Tenkara style of fishing. So whether you’re a beginner or more seasoned rod, chances are there’ll be something for you. As well as appearing in their catalogue, dates and venues can be found on the website here.

Orvis Courses
For further information and bookings, contact Orvis Sporting Adventures at Orvis.
Tel: 01264-349515
E-mail:
SportingAdventures@Orvis.co.uk

Earlier Reports