I was out last Sunday for the first time this winter. I tend to alternate between Czech nymphing and trotting on our wee bit water. It's not prolific - getting into double figures by either method is a good day by all accounts. However, the average size is good - a decent proportion are 2 lb plus, with the magical 3 lb mark being nudged on occasions.
It was a last minute decision to get my a
rse in gear and go down, so I didn't have any maggots and went with the bugging kit. My ageing bad knee objects to me doing this sort of thing nowadays - climbing into rivers, and climbing out of them - more and more each winter, and this time it was 2 days later before it forgave me for doing it.
I'm suspecting it might not be long before it's trotting or nothing... or I go to the doktaz and ask about a replacement knee.
Last few years, I have homed-in on a method to use on our wee river. There is no point in the 'fine and far off' approach because 'far off' would put it in the vegetation on the far bank. Also, my limited casting abilities have never adapted to French leader. So, I use an 11 ft 3-weight rod, with a 2-weight fly line, of which I have about 6 foot outside the tip ring. On this, I have a 5 ft length of heavy nylon, and on the end of that, I have one of my home-made 'coral snakes', which gives me my sighter.
Attached to that is my 3-fly leader: 4 ft to the top dropper, 2 ft 6 in to the middle and 3 ft to the tail. For the past few years, I have homed-in on a winning team that I now seldom deviate from.
Top dropper: olive shrimp, lightly-weighted underbody
Middle dropper: pink shrimp, variable weight
Tail: Goldhead hare's ear shrimp
Depending on the depth and flow of the pool, I change the middle, between a lightly-weighted fly and a bead-head.
I'm left-handed and mostly fish the right bank, so my casting tends to consist of a back-handed 'spring', using the grip of the water on the leader/flies to load the rod for me. It's very hit-miss, when you don't do it regularly, and many of the casts land in a heap. However, I find that is no bad thing. The heaped landings are often the ones that produce the fish, as it all seems to sink down, straighten out and swing round in an attractive way for them.
I find conversion rate is very iffy with this method. A lot of the takes come when everything is coming down, under your nose, under your rod tip, and when you contact the fish there is nowhere to go to set the hook... and you are on an 11 ft 3-weight - not exactly a broom handle.
However, I had a good percentage rate on Sunday morning, with about 10 schoolies and a couple of lumps, both a good 2 lb 8 oz or so, with only a couple of on-offs for the session.
The weather looks set to continue fair. I just need to persuade my right knee to give it another go...