Summer tactics on the Chalkstreams
In late-June the spring fly hatches are tailing off and tactics change for the summer months. In the cooler mornings, especially where you have good shade, expect to see small upwings hatching in reasonable numbers. For this time in the day I like to use a size 16 Parachute Tup’s Indispensable or Parachute Adams on a 6X or even a 7X tippet. If the evenings are warm and overcast then there could be Sedge (Caddis) on the water. Look out for them. They are usually quite big flies and make a disturbance skittering around on the surface. Try a size 12 Red/Brown Sedge on a 5x tippet. During the middle part of the day, especially if its a bright warm day, you might need to use an attractor dry fly pattern – maybe a size 10 Royal Wulff, Grey Wulff or even Daddy Long Legs - to grab the fish’s attention and get them to rise. After trying the normal delicate approach to fly presentation if the fish takes no notice try landing the fly with a ‘plop’ directly over the fish. Sometimes they will react immediately and take the fly.
I also very much enjoy my summer nymph fishing. The Trout are often laid just under the surface watching for nymphs and emerging flies just under the water surface. Stalk the fish and sight cast to try to land the unweighted nymph – I particularly like a size 14 or 16 Sawyers Pheasant Tail Nymph (PTN) – about three feet upstream of the fish and very slightly to the side of it. Its exciting fishing. Watch for the fish moving slightly to the side and strike when you see it has opened its mouth and taken the fly. I’ll sometimes lightly grease the thick end of my 6X 12′ knotless tapered leader to act as a bite indicator. Its almost like dry fly fishing but with the fish taking just below the surface. Even in bright and hot conditions the Trout can usually be tempted by an unweighted PTN.
We had superb dry fly sport on the Chalkstreams in August last year. The cooler, duller weather encouraged very good fly hatches and a size 16 Tup’s Indispensable on a 6X tippet was the top combination.
So keep going to the river through the summer and just adapt your tactics to the conditions on the day.