An American friend is visiting in September. He’s a keen river angler, but I worry September is too late in the year to fish a river. What do you think?
ANot a bit of it. The only thing wrong with September is that it’s too close to winter and dreams of trout rising to drifting large dark olives will take six months to become reality. After the dog days of August, the cooler nights and a return to daytime hatches in September will lead trout and grayling to feed on a wide variety of flies and they’ll fall to many different methods. Most of the bigger trout will have spawning on their minds and be heading upstream. On the middle and lower sections of many rivers this means that 8in-11in trout and grayling will provide the bulk of sport. In sunny conditions, deep nymphing is most likely to take grayling, but given nice conditions this is the best time of year to have sport with trout and grayling on small, sometimes tiny, nymphs suspended below a buoyant dry-fly, such as a Klinkhamer. Your American friend may know this as bobber
fishing – do get him to try a Klinkhamer. The best nymphs are small Pheasant-tails and Hare’s Ears with either fluorescent collars or flash in the thorax or tail. It was when fishing small dry-flies in September during hatches of blue-winged olives and pale wateries that I developed the skills and confidence I needed to try dry-flies throughout the season. Good BWO imitations are difficult to tie (Fulling Mill has a Paul Procter Olive Paradun) but I’ve caught many fish with a simple Blue Dun Spider. Dressed using yellow thread dubbed lightly with mole, and a tail and head hackle of dark-blue dun cock, it’s one of the few fully wound flies to be successful for me. Today, I’d use a small F-fly tied with the same materials and a CDC wing, with fibres below the shank cut flush to the body.
Dark beauty: smaller fish are the mainstay of September river sport.
Fish it under a dry-fly: Pheasant-tail nymph with a bright collar.