I am writing this blog post just over a week into a new trout season and, like the early swallows I saw over the Windrush on Thursday, I’m wondering what has happened to spring. We have swung from a balmy March to a first week of April dominated by northerly winds and rudely interrupted by snow showers.
Many will have reached for a box of heavy nymphs in these conditions but in between the icy blasts and flurries of snowflakes the large dark olives continue to trickle off. The numbers are never too big but the wild trout on the Leach and the Sherborne Brook are canny enough to make the most of every opportunity for an early meal.
Fishing dry CDC olive emergers and quill-bodied klinkhamers produced good sport on the surface on the Leach in particular, where Luke Stevens caught a lovely fish of around 12 inches. The secret to success with the dry at this time of the year is reading the stream and then making the first cast count. The wild browns are wary as anything, especially before the weed growth has really kicked off, and a stealthy approach and a good cast are essential.
Next week promises more cold nights but perhaps a bit more warmth during the day. I’ve seen a few hawthorn flies already and I would hope we might see some grannom hatching on the Coln. One of the signs of spring is the first hatch of orange tip butterflies and I was pleased to see them on the wing on Friday.
Next Friday, I’m looking forward to a first visit of the season to the River Wye where I’m hoping to guide a salmon novice to his first fish. Wish us luck.