Six of the best for early season on stillwaters
1 | Blue Damsel
With the weather warming up, insects will be hatching and trout love nothing more than a damsel. This pattern has caught thousands of fish all over the UK on a wide variety of waters. I prefer to fish mine on a floating line with quite a long 15-foot leader and fish it slowly around reed beds and the banks, which have a little depth to them. Again, this fly will be on my cast throughout the year as it is a proven fish-catcher.
2 | Montana
This bridges the gap between nymph and lure so a great fly for finding fish. It’s one of the first flies I ever caught on and it’s always in my box for the spring when the tadpoles are hatching and the trout really feed hard on them. Black lures tend to be my best fish-catchers through spring, but don’t fish this fly too fast. It’ll catch fish on a floating line all the way down to a Di-7. Fish the fly all the way into the bank because the fish will be feeding in the shallow water this month and will often follow your fly in.
3 | Tequila Blob
Love them or hate them, Blobs have to be in everyone’s fly box. This is one of my all-time most successful flies on stillwaters. With plenty of fresh fish going into all the larger waters I’ll have this on my dropper for most of the month. If fishing them on small waters then don’t be afraid to fish them static or even under the bung – you’ll be amazed how many more fish you’ll catch.
4 | Straggle Cat Booby
Such a versatile pattern that works all season. This month, on those hard cold days, I’ll fish mine on a 10-foot leader as a single fly on a fast sinking line, slowly close to the bottom. But it will also fish well on the point of a washing-line set-up whereby a buoyant fly on the point keeps the flies high in the water. Always make sure that Boobies are permitted on your chosen water before using them and don’t be afraid to fish them on a floating line to keep your flies high in the water –fish will often take them off the surface!
5 | Foam Killer Shrimp
Most anglers think that Grafham is the only place to fish a Killer Shrimp pattern, but I’ve been using one on a small water for a long time and with great success. Often, when the fish have seen too many lures on the smaller lakes through the winter, they’ll only get caught on the natural patterns and there’s a shrimp or water louse in ALL waters, so this will catch you fish. I like to fish the fly on its own on light 5lb leader and on an intermediate line. Fish the fly with an erratic retrieve but the trout will also pick it up fished static. Don’t fish the fly too far out as the shrimps will be in the shallower water like a lot of the insects on the move at this time of year.
6 | Hawthorn
A true favourite now when the first warm weather arrives and fish look up as hatches get bigger and bigger through the month. Don’t be afraid to fish a couple on the same cast and also subsurface on a slow retrieve.