Sunday, November 3, 2013

Strange October

This autumn the weather has been even more unpredictable than usual. A cold and wet September was followed by a warm and dry October, with the temperature rising to the levels my Scottish friends normally associate with high summer.

It is my habit to visit the river Úpa around October 28th. These two photos were taken a year apart, and I hope you notice the one big difference between the two (and I don't mean my friend Standa, who joined me for the last years's trip). I have to admit though that the last year's snowstorm was also unusual, and the snow melted in a couple of days.

With no insect activity I had to settle for a nymphing approach. This was not helped by the low and clear water, and the "normal" Czech style short nymphing style was not feasible. I had to approach the fishy spots carefully and fish at a distance, using a modified "French" style with an indicator and a long leader.

I was fishing a team of two flies - a heavier beadhead at the point to help me with the casting and sinking the team down to the fish level and another "catching" fly. I experimented for a while with the catching fly, trying initially a couple of smallish nymphs normally associated with the Grayling. The smallish flies did not work so well though, and the best results I got from a rather substantial Czech style Blešoun.

I suppose I should not be too surprised by the fact: the river has a substantial Caddis population, and various caddis larvae are a staple on the local grayling menu. The fish are used to see them drifting by and know how to handle them. The meaty looking nymph promised more nutrition than an anorectic mayfly. The fact that I added a little violet attractor to the thorax of the fly likely did not hurt either.

Later during the afternoon a light hatch of brown olives started, and the fish became active at surface. I swapped the nymphing rig for a dry fly setup and proceeded to fish a BWO emerger. I had some success with it, but while the sight of a fish striking the dry fly at surface was surely rewarding the fish seemed to be smaller than their brothers who fell for the Czech nymph earlier in the day.

Even though the stretch of water I was fishing is not considered a good trout water I proceeded to catch a few out of season brownies. Due to the strange weather they were not in the full spawning mindset - the river temperature was still above 10 °C - and they were still feeding actively, but their color already showed the approaching season of procreation.