Saturday, April 16, 2011

Opening the 2011 Trout Fishing Season

The April 16th - the trout season opening day - is a big day for Czech fishermen. By tradition it is a social occasion; a day to share a glass with your friends and bring home a few stocked rainbow trout if so inclined. The places known to be recently stocked are usually full of spin fishermen; I avoided these and headed north to Jizera, where my friend Kuba has a summer cottage.

The water was still relatively cold - 8°C - but some fly life was apparent; not only this lovely stonefly, but also many smallish Baetis mayflies. Nature was only slowly awakening after the long winter, but some fish seemed to be active. A pleasant surprise was that the recent rains had no impact on the water level.

My friends decided - correctly - that this early in the season the surest way to connect with a fish was by heavy nymphing, and proceeded in a mix of Czech and French style nymphing techniques. I took encouragement from the few solitary rises and proceeded with a dry fly.

As was to be expected the nymph was the more productive technique, but I persevered and was rewarded by a fine grayling - this little fellow had the honor of being my first river caught fish this season. He surprised me a little - I was expecting the grayling to be busy with amorous adventures and was looking for brown trout. I allowed myself a quick picture and released him.

The fly that scored was my Hare's Mask Emerger - my favorite and most productive imitation of the smallish mayflies of Baetis genus.

The tie:
#18 Hanák 130 BL Hook
14/0 Sheer thread Gray
three strands of orange Krystal flash
scruffy hare dubbing
ribbing of #16 UNI gold tinsel
2 smallish CDC feathers
more hare for thorax, well teased out to suggest leggs