It’s only a couple of weeks now before the brown trout season opens in the Yorkshire Dales, it will be interesting to see how the fish have fared over the winter and how the rivers have changed with the winter floods on top of the huge amount of water we had last summer and autumn.

Early spring trouting is obviously somewhat weather dependant and the water this year is still extremely cold, low and gin clear for the middle of March.  What’s required are a couple of weeks of milder weather, not much chance of that this week but the following week looks better, a lift in the river levels will also do no harm.

Trout fishing end March/early April is all about taking your chances which are usually limited and the best opportunity of a fish or two is normally between around 11.30 to 2.00 or thereabouts.  Our old friend the Large Dark Olive often puts in an appearance but hatches can be sporadic and often short lived, the window of opportunity is sometimes only 10 to 20 minutes so it’s important to take your chances whilst you can. LDO’s often hatch in cold, wet and windy conditions so don’t be put off if conditions seem less than ideal, it’s not known as a “foul weather fly” for nothing.  Large Dark Olives can hatch in any month of the year and I once saw grayling taking them avidly on the River Ure during a snowstorm in the middle of January.

River In Good Spring Fettle

Last spring the hatches of LDO’s were as good as I have seen in many years and perhaps ever, I witnessed two large hatches on the River Aire whilst I was grayling fishing in mid February and again in early March 2012, nothing taking them the first day but trout were really caning them the second day.  I again saw a half decent hatch on the 14th February this year but did not see one fly taken.  In my experience if you do see a fish move and you can cover it quickly there’s a pretty good chance it will have a go.

As regards flies all the usual suspects will work, spiders such as the Waterhen Bloa and Hares Lug and Plover plus suitable emerger and dry patterns but most importantly remember to react quickly and take the opportunity whilst you can.

Let’s hope this coming season the weather and water conditions are kinder to us than they were last year which was by far the worst season I have known in the 45 plus years I have fly fished the Dales Rivers.  In my experience nature usually has a way of balancing things out.