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?

Trout & Salmon (UK) - - TROUT SURGERY - John Friend, by email

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.

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