Trout need a good supply of running, oxygenated water. The trout fishing season runs from 1 April to 30 September.
Brown trout breed from October to January in water temperatures between 3-4°C, with well conditioned females able to produce up to 2,000 eggs/kg of bodyweight. To survive to maturity there needs to be a gravelly or stony bed, known as a ‘redd’, where eggs can lie concealed until they hatch. During this stage of their life they live on their yolk sacs for about a month. They then move downstream a little way before they begin feeding.
The fish will reach maturity after two-three years and, by then, they will have reached a length of 15-20 centimetres (6-8 inches). Their size and weight will depend on the food supply and environment. Many good trout lies are located below trees and bushes where terrestrial insects accidentally fall into the water.
Regular surveys of the river carried out by the Environment Agency confirm the good health of the river. This is also endorsed by catch records made by members of the trout section.
The river contains around 16 species of fish including perch, dace, grayling and chub all of which will take a fly. It also supports a small population of wild trout. With the support of the Environment Agency and the Wild Trout Trust, the river is also undergoing long-term regeneration of the riverine environment with the objective of increasing the wild fish population.
Fly fishing is not a static pursuit and the tackle used on FAS’s trout water is lightweight – an 8-9 foot carbon fibre rod weighing about 2 oz, a reel containing fly line and backing, and a 9 ft tapered leader/tippet with a breaking strain of about 3 lbs, creel or bag containing a selection of artificial flies, lightweight folding landing net, and a priest to knock the catch on the head if it is to be retained.
The art of casting a fly is quite different to techniques used for coarse fishing. It is worth investing in a few lessons from a professional instructor from the outset. If you develop poor casting habits while starting on your own it is almost impossible to get rid of them later on.
Nymph fishing is practiced at the beginning of the season when there are few hatches of flies. Imitations of invertebrates such as water shrimp are also used. Different insects and invertebrates form part of the trout’s diet and the fly-fisherman’s skills lie in identifying what is hatching at the moment and choosing a suitable artificial fly. Trout are not averse to taking small fish such as minnows and bullheads.
Upstream and downstream fishing with a dry or wet fly are permitted although members are encouraged to fish upstream with a dry fly. The best results are obtained by endeavouring to match a natural insect with a hook dressed to look like the real thing.
Fly-fishing differs from coarse fishing in that the weight of the fly line projects the fly and leader to where a fish might be located. A trout will probably feed near the river bed when flies are in the nymph stage. This is when a wet fly and a wet line are used to allow the artificial fly to sink to where the trout is stationed. A knowledge of the river bed and where trout lie is essential.
When aquatic flies hatch they leave the safety of their location among water weeds and other hiding places and make their way to the surface. They undergo a metamorphosis and become winged insects. When a trout takes an insect on the surface it causes a rise. The fly-fisherman will then endeavour to cast his fly a short distance upstream of the rise and induce the fish to take an artificial fly.
Obviously a fish will want to occupy a location where there is a steady supply of food. If a fish is caught there is a good chance that another fish will take over the lie within a short period of time. It is the knowledge of such lies that will increase the chances of catching a fish.
Silent observation is crucial and the use of Polaroid glasses will make it easier to see through the surface film. Initially it may seem that there are no fish in the river but sitting down quietly for around 10 minutes or so and scanning likely lies reveals where fish are. Imagine you are a fish and consider where you might lie while expending the least amount of energy in finding food.
Fly Fishing for Brown Trout is permitted on the Society’s section of the River Wey at Frensham. This starts just downstream of Frensham Mill and opposite Pitt Farm. Trout tend to have lies where a steady supply of food is available.
The fly-fisherman needs to be stealthy since a clumsy approach easily scares the intended quarry.
The FAS has compiled a map of the Trout Section that identifies named pools. The river contours change every year as a consequence of bank erosion during the winter high water levels.
The FAS stretches of the River Wey and River Loddon each contain a mixture of wild and escaped farmed Brown Trout and can run to over 2lb+ whilst the Society also has a fly only section, fishable only if you purchase a separate annual ticket. The Trout Section’s fly only fishing’s stretch of the River Wey at Frensham is stocked regularly with Brown Trout.
|Lock Awe, Argyle, Scotland
|Dever Springs Trout Fishery, Hampshire
|Stanford End, River Loddon