must admit a few months ago I was worried as we ended 2016 on the back on
the driest July-December in more than two decades. However, the rain gods
have smiled on us since so you will find the April rivers full and
You will see no
shortage of hatches; plenty of olives of all sorts, a few grannom and the
odd rogue hawthorn.
Difficult to be
precise about timings as everything is early this year. I usually take my
cue by the Bluebells in the wood at The Parsonage on the River Test. Some
years we will not see a hint of blue until the opening May Day but this
year today (13/April) they are in bloom.
My outings thus far
have been generally successful. Plenty of fish being seen, that have
overwintered well. They do have a tendency to 'look' at flies, so
regularly changing the pattern to a curious fish will often do the trick.
HATCHING THIS MONTH
April days are always full of
excitement as the new season starts; you are straining at the leash after
months of confinement and there are new rods, lines, flies and assorted
kit to be tried out for the first time.
Large Dark Olive
It is difficult not to let your mood,
and by association your fishing tactics, be dictated by the weather that
prevails on the day.
On a sunny, spring day the river will
look alive; on a gloomy, rainy day as dead as a door nail. But it is
worth reminding ourselves that for the fish the water temperature, flow
and insect activity changes very little from day to day.
For the early season angler it is cold winds that are the killer,
especially when from the north or east. On days like this fish nymphs
well down in the water or seek out sheltered spots. On better days wait
for the temperature to rise around mid-morning and have Large Dark Olive
patterns ready for the hatch or fish a Pheasant Tail Nymph just beneath
These are the four main groups to be found hatching on the chalkstreams
Large Dark Olive
This is the predominate hatch for the month and the
default fly to fish if you are not certain what to try.
Nymph Pheasant Tail
Nymph size 14
Emerger JG Emerger 14
Dun Kite's Imperial 14 (pictured)
One of the two speciality hatches this month. This member
of the sedge family will hatch for 10-14 days in great abundance, though
the hatches may be very localised.
The second speciality hatch, usually appearing for two
weeks starting in the last week of April.
Black Gnat 16-18
These are the commonest creatures that trout eat; if you
see a trout turn on their sides and 'wriggle' along they are dislodging
shrimps from the gravel bed.
Green or Pink shrimp 12-14
Sawyer's Killer Bug 14
Not everyone approves of strike indicators but in choppy,
dark water and at the start of the season when reactions are still slow
(!) they are a great boon.
APRIL WEATHER & CLIMATE STATISTICS
There seems to be no middle ground in
April - the days are positively spring-like or as gloomy as can be, but
it is the wind that is your enemy. A cold north or east wind will kill
off any hatches as it chills down the surface film, sending any emerging nymphs
back down to wait another day.
Source: Met Office 1981-2010 averages
The close season for grayling, all coarse fish and eels is
in place until 15 June.
All game fish (brown trout, sea trout and salmon) are in