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  #1  
Old 21-04-2017, 06:54 AM
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Default Why are lots of rivers slow early season

A few of my friends are still reporting that their rivers are still fishing slow , luckily a few rivers close by seem to respond as soon as the trout season kicks off .

The rivers close by do hold good numbers of trout , but I don't think the fly life is great , LDO and Midges are what I see most of . Could be lots of trout competing for less food .


Maybe trout on other rivers can wait longer to go on the feed , I have seen more fly life on rivers I only fish on a less frequent basis .

It would be nice to hear what your thoughts are , maybe those anglers that fish lots of different rivers can give more insight on how different rivers fish early on in the trout season .
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Old 21-04-2017, 08:05 AM
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Default Re: Why are lots of rivers slow early season

Mostly small rivers have been mostly good for me at the moment... although i'm yet to have a chance to fish anything bigger since I've been back.

I guess that's as general as you can get.
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Old 21-04-2017, 08:32 AM
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Default Re: Why are lots of rivers slow early season

Quote:
Originally Posted by rough diamond View Post
A few of my friends are still reporting that their rivers are still fishing slow , luckily a few rivers close by seem to respond as soon as the trout season kicks off .

The rivers close by do hold good numbers of trout , but I don't think the fly life is great , LDO and Midges are what I see most of . Could be lots of trout competing for less food .


Maybe trout on other rivers can wait longer to go on the feed , I have seen more fly life on rivers I only fish on a less frequent basis .

It would be nice to hear what your thoughts are , maybe those anglers that fish lots of different rivers can give more insight on how different rivers fish early on in the trout season .
Much could depend on how far north you are.

Jim
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Old 21-04-2017, 10:37 AM
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Default Re: Why are lots of rivers slow early season

We were having this discussion in relation to Southern Chalkstreams at one of my working parties this month after a new member had asked about fly life. The response from the WTT and our own club experts is that the 40% reduction reported in the millennium survey ( http://www.environmentdata.org/fedor...J/19001627.pdf ) has not improved and matters have got worse with run off containing biocides and poor river management thought to be important factors.

If that's the case, then logically at times of year when less would naturally be hatching such as spring, the impact will be seen to a greater extent for if one species that could be expected to hatch no longer does or does so in much reduced numbers, there is no other expected hatch to take its place. Iron Blue's for example are reported to have declined by as much as 80% ( https://www.buglife.org.uk/sites/def...20Scotland.pdf ). In summer when other things are hatching the lack of Iron Blue Dun's may not be noticed in comparison to spring where it is noted as no flies hatching/no rise/lack of fly life etc.

That lack of rising, emerging nymphs and flies on the wing will lead to less fish hunting for rising nymphs, emergers and adults in favour of grubbing around on the bottom or in weedbeds . As a result the fishing is harder in spring despite the fact that chalkstreams maintain a pretty regular temperature throughout the year compared to other rivers. For rivers reliant on surface water drainage, the colder dirtier feed over winter is likely to combine that effect as trout may be harder to spot or less willing to move far or come up for a fly.

Finally, the lack of fishing pressure may result in spookier trout until they adjust to lots of summer bank side activity. I can't remember where, but I do recall reading an article where it was reported that on a regularly fished river a fish would return to 'normal' behaviour within 20-30 minutes of being spooked compared to an infrequently fished or virgin water where it could take more than a day!

Now I'm no expert and so all that I've just spouted stands to be argued against! However, it is food for thought.

Having said that I did get out on a quiet, narrow, overgrown wee stretch of chalkstream on opening day and found two rising fish both of which I caught including a 'monster' of 9" !! Sadly the biggest fish I've ever seen there of around 1lb resolutely refused every offering at whatever depth it was offered until I gave up and went to give it a prod in case what I though was a fish was a funnily mottled bit of wood. Even then he didn't shoot off to hide until I literally stood over him!
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Last edited by iainmortimer; 21-04-2017 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 21-04-2017, 03:03 PM
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Default Re: Why are lots of rivers slow early season

Quote:
Originally Posted by iainmortimer View Post
We were having this discussion in relation to Southern Chalkstreams at one of my working parties this month after a new member had asked about fly life. The response from the WTT and our own club experts is that the 40% reduction reported in the millennium survey ( http://www.environmentdata.org/fedor...J/19001627.pdf ) has not improved and matters have got worse with run off containing biocides and poor river management thought to be important factors.

If that's the case, then logically at times of year when less would naturally be hatching such as spring, the impact will be seen to a greater extent for if one species that could be expected to hatch no longer does or does so in much reduced numbers, there is no other expected hatch to take its place. Iron Blue's for example are reported to have declined by as much as 80% ( https://www.buglife.org.uk/sites/def...20Scotland.pdf ). In summer when other things are hatching the lack of Iron Blue Dun's may not be noticed in comparison to spring where it is noted as no flies hatching/no rise/lack of fly life etc.

That lack of rising, emerging nymphs and flies on the wing will lead to less fish hunting for rising nymphs, emergers and adults in favour of grubbing around on the bottom or in weedbeds . As a result the fishing is harder in spring despite the fact that chalkstreams maintain a pretty regular temperature throughout the year compared to other rivers. For rivers reliant on surface water drainage, the colder dirtier feed over winter is likely to combine that effect as trout may be harder to spot or less willing to move far or come up for a fly.

Finally, the lack of fishing pressure may result in spookier trout until they adjust to lots of summer bank side activity. I can't remember where, but I do recall reading an article where it was reported that on a regularly fished river a fish would return to 'normal' behaviour within 20-30 minutes of being spooked compared to an infrequently fished or virgin water where it could take more than a day!

Now I'm no expert and so all that I've just spouted stands to be argued against! However, it is food for thought.

Having said that I did get out on a quiet, narrow, overgrown wee stretch of chalkstream on opening day and found two rising fish both of which I caught including a 'monster' of 9" !! Sadly the biggest fish I've ever seen there of around 1lb resolutely refused every offering at whatever depth it was offered until I gave up and went to give it a prod in case what I though was a fish was a funnily mottled bit of wood. Even then he didn't shoot off to hide until I literally stood over him!
A lot of constructive food for thought on an important thread reflecting the frustrations many of us feel in the early season, especially when temperatures rarely venture deeply into the teens (at least in north west England to date this season).
Mick
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Old 21-04-2017, 04:10 PM
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Default Re: Why are lots of rivers slow early season

Early season is all temperature and increasing day length related, hatches are generally shorter lived and it's easy to hit the river and see nothing moving.

I've fished the same stretch twice this week... first time 7 fish out of one run in under 30 mins with a further 5 coming out the next 50m of river... then the northeasterly picked up slightly and the river went quiet. Same stretch today, felt like it was going to be a struggle, just felt dead. Picked up two in the end, but hard going.
I generally find it's about being on the river at exactly the right time, perhaps if I'd arrived an hour earlier or later it would have been firing today.

It's always going to be like that early season, as you head into late April things pick up and by May the insect life is swinging into full action... exactly the same reason why insect eating birds time their young for May / June... it's when it all starts to happen
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Old 21-04-2017, 09:29 PM
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Default Re: Why are lots of rivers slow early season

The bottom line is that after what seems an interminable closed season we are anxious to get out and catch fish and in our naive haste we forget that spring can be a very slow awakening. Of course this can vary (as suggested above) from hour to hour, from day to day and between different rivers across the UK. As also suggested the decline of insect life can greatly compound the difficulties affecting our chances. Being near to a river can help greatly. Anticipating a long journey after a very disappointing day can put us off another hasty (and probably fruitless) foray.

Yet (in the longer term) we persevere and ultimately nature rewards us but not before much deflation and frustration.

Mick
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Old 21-04-2017, 10:45 PM
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Default Re: Why are lots of rivers slow early season

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Originally Posted by boisker View Post
... exactly the same reason why insect eating birds time their young for May / June... it's when it all starts to happen
I do agree with the general content of your post, however, this piece accounts for air borne insects, the river itself is still supporting aquatic life, nymphs etc.
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Old 22-04-2017, 05:32 AM
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Default Re: Why are lots of rivers slow early season

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Originally Posted by taffy1 View Post
I do agree with the general content of your post, however, this piece accounts for air borne insects, the river itself is still supporting aquatic life, nymphs etc.
. . . .

and what do Wagtails, Dippers etc eat?

Insects, whether aquatic or terrestrial are, like fish, cold blooded. Their metabolism and activity levels are directly related to the temperature of their environment. Whereas mammals strive to maintain a constant core temperature cold blooded creatures can and do experience / endure core temperature much lower and much hotter than mammals.

Some aquatic insects, including ephemerids, seem able and prepared to respond to even minor changes in temperature etc and hatch - witness grayling responding to short lived hatches in the depths of winter with snow in the air and rising to dry flies.
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Old 22-04-2017, 06:28 AM
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Default Re: Why are lots of rivers slow early season

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Originally Posted by boisker View Post
Early season is all temperature and increasing day length related, hatches are generally shorter lived and it's easy to hit the river and see nothing moving.
I'd go along with this. For a river to be early (compared to others close by) it needs to be warmer. To be warmer it needs to be sheltered from cold winds and open to direct sunlight (these two don't always go together!).
For example on Exmoor & Dartmoor if you fish in the deeply wooded valleys where the sun can't get in during early season it is often pretty poor, particularly on the bigger streams. But if you head up onto little tribs on the open moors, right up to 1000 feet, you can often catch from day one as long as there is some sun and no cold wind. Small shallow streams quickly respond to warming from the sun.
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