Fabulous flies for the Usk
Paul Slaney offers four flies that might save your bacon this summer
Paul Slaney offers four patterns for summer trout
WHEN WE made the decision to move close to the River Usk, I had visions of endless fishing, fantastic hatches of brook duns, March browns and olives of all sorts. The truth is somewhat different. Even though my favourite beat is a short walk from home, work and family weekend commitments nearly always get in the way. As those famous daytime earlyseason Usk hatches and free-rising fish pass me by, I experience them through others more able to take the opportunity. The occasional foray scratches the itch but leaves me wanting more, the rows of brook dun, March brown, large dark olive and grannom patterns in my box go largely untouched from season to season. I’ll save them for retirement. However, it’s rare that a day goes by without me walking the banks, always at dawn or late evening, with my dogs. I watch the river change from month to month and as spring slips into summer and right through to September, the early-morning river can come alive with opportunities. It’s a surreal place at that time of day, seemingly untouched by humans, sometimes swathed in mist; quiet, warm and cosy. By this time of year, my four-weight rod is permanently made up by the back door beside a small box of patterns on which I’ve come to rely. Walk softly, listen and watch the margins, particularly back eddies or the quieter water around the neck of a pool, where the remnants of the previous evening’s hatch collect. These spent bugs – caddis, mainly – are the trout’s breakfast. The fish will take a well-presented pattern in the most leisurely and confident manner imaginable.
Remnants of the previous evening's caddis hatch provide the trout's first meal of the day.