A YEAR OF CHANGE

Trout & Salmon (UK) - - READING RIVERS -

As the sea­sons pass, fish pre­fer dif­fer­ent wa­ter types and move to take up po­si­tions in dif­fer­ent ar­eas of the tri­an­gle. Try­ing to read the river and how the sea­sons af­fect your quarry is hugely im­por­tant. I would en­cour­age you to walk the river un­der dif­fer­ent wa­ter con­di­tions as this is the eas­i­est way to find the fea­tures and po­ten­tial fish­hold­ing ar­eas within a pool. Fish can be­come much harder to spot and less vis­i­ble un­der low-wa­ter con­di­tions and time on the bank when not fish­ing is al­ways valu­able. What fol­lows is only a guide, as trout or grayling will al­ways turn up in the strangest places at un­ex­pected times.

SPRING: MARCH TO APRIL

When the sea­son starts, trout are out of con­di­tion and at their weak­est, hav­ing spent the win­ter months spawn­ing. There’s the added prob­lem of a re­duced in­sect pop­u­la­tion and there­fore less food. As such, they can­not yet take up po­si­tion in the fastest flows and bro­ken-wa­ter pock­ets. In­stead, most fish lie fur­ther back, hang­ing on the edge of the seams and creases be­tween the fast and slow wa­ter. Any in­sect life that makes an ap­pear­ance can be picked off with ease, and there is no need to fight the fastest flows.

SUM­MER: MAY TO MID-JULY

By now, trout have fed well and gained strength and con­di­tion. The rain­fed rivers start to lose their power as the flow ve­loc­ity de­creases and air and wa­ter tem­per­a­ture in­crease. Fish seek the bro­ken, faster, oxy­genated wa­ter at the very head of the pool. Trout and grayling will take up po­si­tion in very shal­low wa­ter as long as there is bro­ken wa­ter to give over­head cover. Any ar­eas with bro­ken wa­ter are worth fish­ing dur­ing the sum­mer months – look for pools stud­ded with boul­ders.

AU­TUMN: LATE-JULY TO SEPTEM­BER

The river is warm and find­ing aquatic in­sects can be a scratchy af­fair for fish. In late sum­mer and early au­tumn, they feed heav­ily on ter­res­tri­als and as such are spread through­out the pool. To­wards the end of au­tumn, aquatic in­sects – olives and stone­flies – reap­pear, but I find the fish are so dis­persed they stay that way un­til the sea­son ends.

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