After leaving the trout to breed in peace for the last few months, in a couple of weeks we finally get to harass them again (us Victorians do anyway, Tasmanians started a little while ago and the New South Welshmen will have to wait a month or so longer). In anticipation, I’m sure many of us have been stocking up on heavy nymphs and the like over the off-season, ready for an assault on our favourite stretch of river once the season opens. Fishing nymphs deep is gonna work, but its also good to remember what has gone down while we have been away. As a fly fisherman, biology is our friend and we should use it to our advantage when we can. How can biology help you ask?
Well, it may seem obvious, but while we’ve been leaving the fish alone to breed, those fish did just that, they bred. They found themselves a nice little piece of gravel, put on some Barry White, lit some candles, poured a few nice glasses of red and then got jiggy with it and laid and fertilised some eggs (ok maybe just the last few things). Those eggs incubated in the gravel until they hatched, releasing thousands of tiny trout into the river. Since then those little trout have been busy growing as quickly as they can, growing into little minnows. Or to put it another way, growing into readily available trout lollies. So if you think about it, what has happened while we were away is that we have had a hatch. A hatch not of insects but of trout. Of small protein rich morsels. Make no bones about it, where good spawning has occurred, the resident adults are no doubt making the most of this cannibalistic bounty.
So on the opening weekend, when you hit your favourite stretch of river and there aren’t any great insect hatches, don’t despair. You can wait for those. Remember that there has been a hatch while you are away, a hatch you can take advantage of, a hatch that may help you catch more fish. Of course, like with any hatch you will have to get your timing right. Trout grow fast and the number of easily picked off young trout will quickly diminish. In nature times of bounty rarely last for long. Them streams are mean, only the smartest and fittest survive (there is a reason wild trout are held in such high esteem). But if you time it right, if you get out there early while there are still some easy pickings available, you might just be able to take advantage of the “hatch” and get into some great early season fishing.
So remember, don’t forget your streamers.