Saturday, 25 November 2017

Dry Fly & the Feeding Habits of Irish River Brown Trout

Written by Simon Toussifar

Its November and freezing cold outside whilst I write this piece. The days are short and the evenings dark and so I have the perfect opportunity to get back to some blogging. 

Catch, Photo & Released 
My thoughts look back over the summer of 2017. Bright mornings, warm evenings, t-shirt weather and most importantly hatches of fly life and the sight of brown trout feeding on the conveyer belt of flys going down river. Perfect!

I had put aside the salmon fishing this year due to the Bandon River dredging works and focused solely on dry fly fishing for brown trout. Having mostly targeted brown trout in the past on wet flys and czech nymphing techniques, I quickly realised I had actually missed out and underestimated the power of consistently catching trout on dry fly.

Tree's and bushes can offer great cover and feeding locations for trout
Throughout the season of 2017 I consistently caught brown trout on the dry fly and this was mainly due to observation of their feeding positions, recognising what they were feeding on and delicate presentation of the dry fly upstream of their position.

The fly always had to land upstream of the trout and dead drift past them without any movement or drag. The moment they sensed an artificial fly all went quiet and they stopped coming up!

I think alot of anglers make the mistake of rushing in and not seeing what is actually happening on the surface before they cast. They tie a fly on the end and hope to catch but fail to catch. The reward is in waiting and observing the river to see where the fish are before presenting the fly of choice.

I learned quickly myself that selecting the right fly can be tricky as there might be several different hatches on the river at the same time and the trout will nearly always feed on one particular fly during these hatches!

The Hardy Shadow 5wt Fly Rod, perfect for trout fishing
A bit of guess work is whats needed to match the flys from your box to what you see on the river. The bigger trout are not shy of taking very small flys either and I've found them taking size 16's and 18's. 

The best way I can describe the feeding positions of trout along the river is to visualise and break down the river into feeding lanes. The smaller trout will most often rest along the shallow areas while the bigger trout can be found under or beside tree's or bushes that offer them better security and cover. They stay in the same position all day, actively looking up at what food is floating down the lines of river current and if their feeding on top you'll see the tell tale rings, nips and nudges on the surface. River foam is also an indication of a feeding area as insects/flys will often become trapped in foam.

Its amazing when you think about it that these trout will obtain their daily calories from feeding on over 60, 70, 80 tiny flies per session. I've noticed morning and evenings to be the most favourable times for catching trout on the dry fly with afternoons being the most difficult. 

Rubber meshed landing net is an ideal catch & release net