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Opening Day Sunday 15th March 2009

Posted by OwdTrout , 24 March 2009 · 163 views

As always on the first day of the new season, I set off to wet a line. Since the close of last season I've moved, new job new home. My new place is only 5 minutes from the Irwell, on foot. That means new season and a new river to explore. Local knowledge I had gleaned yesterday in the toy shop gave me a starting place. I'm beginning to fear the local toy shop. They have started offering me coffee when I enter. Itís not good to be that relaxed around tackle for sale.

This morning it was bright and warm, if a little windy, when I went to clear the last bits of coarse tackle from the car. Those odds and ends that seem to live in the boot. "Well a good day to wet a line, but probably in vain", I was thinking. Still, opening day has to be marked.

About 11:30 I set out in my waders, stick in hand. The Irwell here is quite large. Standing on the bank watching I couldn't see any sign of a fish. I could however, see large dark olives (baetis rhodani) hatching off. Maybe there is hope of a fish to start the season. About 12:15, having moved twenty yards downstream I spotted a rise. Worked out the best casting position and waded into place to cover the rise. I hoped it wasn't an early season "oncer" that doesn't rise again. By the time I was in place that one rise had turned into 5 or six fish rising frequently. My hopes soared. A feeding fish is a fish that can be caught.

My first cast landed nicely upstream of a rising fish and the fly disappeared in a swirl. In my excitement I struck too soon, missing the fish. Calm down, these are trout not grayling. Three casts later another swirl and I was into a fish, a good one too. Then I wasn't. Soon I had missed 2 and lost 3. Despite this a lot of fish were now rising, time to stop and think.

I changed fly. When I had arrived I had set up a duo of a size 18 Klinkhammer (a big fly even in that size) with a size 18 bead head nymph a yard below it. They came off and on went one of the all time best dry flies, a CdC and Elk. Either the change of fly, or the pause to relax a little, worked. Minutes later I was playing a hard fighting brownie of about a pound. It took a good couple of minutes to land that fish.

During the close season I have been very lax in my fly tying. After loosing another fish I didn't have a similar sized CdC and Elk to replace my now drowned fly. In its place I tied my own stuck shuck emerger. Today that was a better fly than the CdC and Elk. As I worked up the pool it accounted for two more fish, one larger and one smaller than the first, both good hard fighting brownies.

At this time of the season dry fly will often out score the nymph. There is usually a short window in the middle of the day when the fish will rise. Sure enough at 1:45 the fish switched off. As I walked away there wasn't a rise anywhere. There is no use fishing a nymph; the trout haven't switched to the nymph, they have stopped feeding.

That is the best opening day I've ever had, and bodes well for the season to come. Now it is time to play catch up with my fly tying. I have a feeling I'm going to need a lot this year.



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