Where Trout Feed in a River

One thing beginning fly fishermen struggle with their first time on a trout stream is locating where fish are feeding. It’s not the pattern, cast, or the retrieve that gets them in trouble, it’s the presentation and figuring out how to get that fly in the strike zone. Here’s a look at the four basic feeding zones on a typical trout stream and what percentage of the time you can generally find fish there. You might be surprised to find trout feed under the surface 90 percent of the time.

On the Surface

Trout rarely feed on the surface, hitting insects in the surface film no more than 10 percent of the time. It will be evident fish are feeding on the surface when you see boils at the surface, hear fish slurping bugs off the top or even jump out of the water to haul in adult aquatic insects as they emerge. This is a common sight in the evenings when mosquitoes are prevalent at the water’s edge.

Just Below the Surface

Same goes for the immediate subsurface bite, or the first two or three inches below the surface. Trout consume about 10 percent of their diet here as well, snacking on adult insects as they make their way to the surface. Dry flies will still work at this stage, although switching to a light nymph like a pheasant tail is probably a better idea.

 

Things to Know When Choosing your Fishing Rod

Choosing a fishing rod can be a bewildering topic.  Here are our hints for choosing your new fishing rod.

Float fishing rods:  Float rods can range between 11-14 ft.  Generally, the further out from the shore you plan to go, the longer the rod should be.  Other types of coarse rods can be used for float fishing.  For example, a lightweight carp rod could be used when float fishing for carp.  An 11ft rod is perfect for short range fishing, perhaps in a canal or pond.  12-13ft rods can be used on rivers and other places where you don’t need to cast out too far, like a lake or reservoir.  14ft rods (or longer) are used to give you more control in weedy or windy weather.  If you’re only planning to buy one rod, we say that a 12-13 ft rod would be sufficient for most conditions.

 

Action:  There are two main types of rod action; tip and through.  Tip action rods usually have a carbon tip spliced in – great for playing fish on small hooks and tight lines. Through action rods usaully have a hollow unspliced tip, ideal for larger more powerful fish. Although a soft through action rod can be used for all types of float fishing.

Taking Children On Your Next Fishing Trip

If you have ever taken children on a fishing trip with you, only to find it is a complete disaster and not at all fun, this post is for you!  It is possible to keep your child’s attention and catch enough fish to make it enjoyable for the whole family.

Begin with the right fishing equipment.  There is no point in getting silly little kids fishing rods – you’ll end up spending more time untangling the thing than actually using it!  Simply go for an ultra-light rod and reel.  Get the shortest one you can, but not less than 5 feet.  A spool of good quality line and some torpedo style flotats will be good.  Get someone at your local tackle shop to spool the reel for you and attach the float so that it can slide along the line to the desired length.

Find a good pond to fish at.  It is a good idea to go for one which is quiet, kids can get quite excitable with casting and you don’t want to annoy too many others!

A Guide to the Fish within UK Waterways

There are a range of different fish which are native to the UK waterways.  Here is a guide to the different species you might find!

Carp: carp are found in the majority of UK canals and can grow to large sizes.  They are easy to spot due to their dark brown and bronze colouration.  They have a large, rounded body and strong fins.  There are three major strains.  The common carp are fully scaled, mirror carp are partially scaled and learther carp have practically no scales at all!

Roach: the roach makes up the largest numbers of fish within our canals.  Roach are a shoaling fish, silvery grey in colour.  They are often confused with Rudd.  You can be sure by counting the lateral line scales (rudd have 40-55) and check the shape of the mouth – rudd have upturned mouths.

Pike: the pike is a spectacular predator! They have large, bony heads with upward looking eyes, a broad, flat snout and large mouth.  They have a lot of sharp teeth! A torpedo shaped body allows for speedy movement!

You can find out more about fishing within our canal network over at the canal and river trust.

 

Fishing in the Spring Time: Tips for New Fishermen

The spring is a great month to get out and about on the water, so here are our top tips for making the most of the new season.

The number 1 rule in spring is to simply get out on thwe water as much as you can!  There is a wonderful saying that even the worst fishing day is better than no fishing day at all!    You should also keep a close eye on the weather report – days of unexpected warmth or sunshine are good opporunities to get out and go fishing.

Whilst out, keep looking for the sunnier spots.  The cold water will warm up quickly once the sun brightens up in spring, so more fish will be attracted to the warmer shallows.

Use smaller, more brightly coloured lures during spring, when the water can be muddier or murky.  This helps the fish to see them better, and the smaller lures will seem like less of an effort to chase around.

What exactly is spey fishing?

One of the most fun and interesting developments in fly-fishing in recent years has been the rise of fishing with two-handed rods – widely known as Spey fishing.

Most fly-fishing, of course, is done with a rod designed to be casted with just one hand. And most of the time, that single-hand rod is used for “overhead” casting – flinging the line back behind the caster to flex the rod, then flinging it forward over the water to deliver the fly.

The trouble is, there isn’t always room for a back cast. And salmon and steelhead rivers tend to be big, requiring long casts to seek out the fish.

Spey casting makes it possible to throw a long line with very little room behind the caster, because there’s no back cast. Instead, the caster flips the line into position on the water in front of him, then swings the rod back and makes a simple forward cast. It’s not as easy as it sounds – there’s a learning curve – but once you get the hang, you can send 100 feet of line sailing smoothly out over the river.

Fly Fishing for Bass – a Guide

Dry flies, wet flies, nymphs, streamers: almost all of them were devised to catch trout.

Thankfully, almost all of them catch bass, too.

Most fly-fishing is conducted in pursuit of trout in streams, where fly-fishing gear is perfect for tossing feather-light imitations of aquatic insects, crustaceans or baitfish onto or into the currents. In many places, this activity peaks in the spring and declines during the heat of summer. Trout are cold-water fish and just don’t bite very well when the water gets up around 70 degrees.

Once the water warms, many trout anglers switch to bass, which don’t mind 70-degree water a bit.

Despite their status as Plan B fish – something to fish for when the trout fishing’s no good – bass are great fish for fly-fishing.

It’s not unusual for a trout fisher to think he or she has hooked a large trout, only to find out the fish is a small bass.

They are accessible. Many streams that are trout fisheries in their cooler, upper reaches are great bass fisheries downstream. So the same river where you fished the Hendrickson hatch in May might provide exciting bass fishing in July. Smallmouth and largemouth bass are widely distributed across the U.S., and almost everyone has good bass water nearby. Bass generally don’t prefer truly cold water, but in places with water temperatures in the 60s, they often coexist with trout.

Finding a Good Fishing Spot – Why It Isn’t An Easy Quest…

If you’ve ever asked fellow fishermen where a great local fishing spot is, you might not have gotten a clear answer from them.  There’s good reason for this.  Firstly, they don’t want to give away their best spot!  Also they don’t want their favourite area to become overrun with other fishermen…

A good start to finding a great fishing spot is to use a topographical map of the area.  You can even check on Google to find one.  On this map, look for places where a topographic line crosses a river, a stream, or a brook. This will often indicate a potential sudden drop in elevation, signalling the beginning of a rapid and a likely pool at the end of the rapid (a “pool” is a depression caused by eyons of erosion).  Find this particular spot on Google Earth and locate the co-ordinates (usually in the bottom corner).  Pop these into a GPS system and there you go!

The next step is to pack up all your gear and go fishing!  When you move to a new area it can be tricky finding somewhere good to fish, especially if the locals are a bit shady about where to go.  This method above is a great way to find excellent fishing spots wherever you are in the world.  It does take a bit of practice, but practice does make perfect as they say!

Must Have Accessories for Fly Fishermen

It’s every angler’s goal: catching a fish so big you need to use a net to make sure it doesn’t get away.

But landing nets aren’t just for lunkers. A good case can be made that every fish should be netted – to ensure a successful catch, and for the well-being of the fish itself.

A caught fish struggles most violently just as it is being brought to hand. This is, after all, the moment when the fish realizes a very large, wader-clad creature is about to pluck it out of the water. Fighting for its life, or so it believes, the wriggling, flipping fish may well get off the hook, and there goes your photos or fillets.

Losing a fish is bad enough; abusing one is even worse. A hooked fish in the final moments of capture tends to thrash violently against mid-stream or shoreline rocks or the boat deck. If you’re planning to release your fish – and most fly-fishers do, most of the time – an out-of-control fish often experiences serious and unnecessary injury.

A landing net solves both problems. Scoop up the fish as you’re pulling it in, and the worst it can do is twist and turn harmlessly inside the soft fabric of the net bag. Once its initial panic subsides after a few moments, you can reach in (wet your hand first to avoid damaging the trout’s protective slime), left out the fish, take its picture, unhook it and send it on its way.