Twelve days ago, I saw my first March Brown hatch of the season. It was more of a trickle than a hatch and the fish weren't showing any interest. By the middle of last week they were hatching in good numbers; numbers that I hadn't seen for years and the fish were on to them.
My midweek visit didn't start until lunchtime, there was no point, if there was going to be a hatch it would be early afternoon. I could have started earlier, I'm sure that there'd have been enough pre-hatch activity below the surface to justify a search with the nymph. But I decided to wait for the hatch, and hopefully, a few rising fish.
Large Dark Olives were the first to make an appearance and the CDC Olive Dun scored well - the one below is a touch ragged, but it was the only one I had left and it's been chewed by a few trout !
Next to show were the March Browns , they were popping up all over the place and the fish turned on to them. In my rush to get my 'string pulled', I made the mistake of assuming that the fish were on the duns - but they weren't - they wouldn't look at my imitation. I stopped and watched, which is what I should have done initially.
It's not that easy to distinguish between fish taking the surface fly and the emerger just by looking at rise-forms, as both stages can often produce similar rise-forms. In this case, after a short spell of careful observation, it was obvious that nothing was being taken from the surface, the fish had to be on the emerger.
A quick change to a March Brown emerger produced results straight away.
I can't say I had a field day, as the hatch was starting to taper off and I had to wander in search of risers. But, every rising fish I came across and got the emerger over, took it without hesitation, and most really wanted it, forceps were needed to recover the fly on all, apart from the one below.
The weather seems to be taking a turn for the better. We seem to have lost that cold easterly wind and milder fronts are coming in from the west albeit bringing some of the wet stuff (rain), but that won't do any harm at the moment. The rivers are very low and could do with a touch of fresh water, and the rain has washed the snow off the hills, so once the run-off has washed through we should see a lift in water temperatures and the season getting into full swing. Invertibrate activity should increase, fish will be on the feed and sport will be good - wishful thinking ? I hope not.
It will be interesting to see how far we are behind this year, they say five weeks. The Sand Martins are arriving, four weeks later than last year, and in a normal year, the Grannom would be appearing any time now.
Nature is an amazing thing though and, as in the past, as soon as the conditions are right, I'm sure we'll see a rapid acceleration and all will be back to the seasonal norm in no time, so we'll see....