A bitterly cold northerly wind and wintry showers made an afternoon session with a client on the Eamont a bit uncomfortable at times - Ullswater is still pretty full so the river was at a good level and carrying a touch of colour.
We hit the water at 12.30 just as the wind eased and a trickle of Large Dark Olives (Baetis Rhodani) came sailing down the river - enough to encourage a rise, you would think, but not today, apart from two oncers the fish were keeping their heads down. Nevertheless a few speculative casts with the dry was worth a go but it was soon obvious that the dry wasn't going to produce so a nymph was added - 'The duo' can be a good searching method giving the fish the option of dry or nymph.
We had just started to work our way up a really fishy looking riffle when we were interrupted by eight canoeists so there was no point in carrying on and we moved upstream to another run where I hoped the fish would have had time to settle after the canoes had been through.
A change to two nymphs and a BB splitshot (a nymph fisher should never be without his splitshot) to help them reach the required depth produced a take but it was off in seconds.
The rest of the afternoon was slow - the river seemed dead and I began to think that the conditions had beaten us, but a change to a pair of nymphs fished upstream produced the goods.
A lovely Brown Trout weighing 2 lbs 4 ozs. came to a weighted Pheasant Tail nymph on what was literally the last cast of the day.
I always think that if you have the methods you will always have a chance - no matter when you go to the river and whatever the conditions - we tried a variety of techniques throughout the afternoon - dry fly, duo, north country spiders (down and across), czech nymph or as I prefer to call it, short line nymph, upstream nymph and were eventually rewarded with a good fish in very difficult conditions.
So, you may ask, why so many changes in such a short session ?
- Dry Fly - our arrival coincided with a hatch of olives, two trout rose and the amount of olive duns on the water was increasing so there was a chance that more fish may be looking to the surface
- Duo - no more fish rose so maybe the fish were on the emerging nymph, so the combination of a nymph and a dry gives the fish two options as the hatch increases
- Czech or short line nymph - we moved to another area, a fastish run, the fish were very unlikely to be in the head at this time of year but could be in the deeper mid section, so we had to look at depth required and water velocity. To fish this area effectively required two weighted nymphs plus a BB splitshot fished on a short line to minimise drag and to fish at the right depth and speed - one fish hooked and lost
- North country spiders, down and across - We moved to an area of water that could best be described as 'flats', a relatively broad expanse of water with even pace and depth - the fish could be anywhere on the flats at this time and a good way to search the area is with a team of flies consisting of a pair of spiders on the droppers and a nymph on the point fished down and across or maybe across and down would be a more appropriate term
- Upstream nymph - after fishing the spider/nymph combination down the flats with no response from the fish but still convinced that there had to be fish in the area we had to conclude that the fish may be lying deeper and as this area of flats did not really lend itself to short line nymph then the right method would be to work our way back upstream fishing an area of what seemed to be a slightly deeper channel with a pair of weighted nymphs - result: a 2lb 4ozs. Brown Trout
So in my opinion, to be consistently successful Trout hunters we have to be prepared to change methods depending on water types and changing conditions encountered throughout our fishing sessions.