Early season is a very busy time for stocked waters because there are plenty of fresh stock fish to be had. To make the most of this early season bonanza, go with lures. These gaudy creations tend to bring out the aggression in fish and they will often attack them with gusto, so make sure you’re prepared for the take.
Most colours have their day but early season lures tend to be either black or white, and very effective they are too.

As it’s early season, sinking lines are the order of the day, because the fish will tend to be down near the bottom. You are looking to bring out the trout’s aggressive side so your retrieve should include fast strips and long pauses. By retrieving this way, plenty of movement will be imparted to the lure, which often triggers a response. If you’re fishing a team of flies, keep them around five feet apart and make sure to get the heaviest fly on the point to aid turnover.

Go for a 10ft 7-wt rod and arm yourself with a selection of sinking lines from a sink tip to a fast sinker to get those flies down deep. Make sure your leader is strong enough to cope; 6lb to 10lb breaking strain should suffice and keep the flies spaced well apart, around five feet.


Top Dropper

Orange Blob
For some reason this pattern is associated with warmer months but it can be devastating in spring; it sticks out like sore thumb. The best place for this pattern is the top dropper; bear in mind, though, that on a sinking line this will often be the fly that fishes deepest.

This fly is a superb attractor pattern and one that can also be taken for a small fish, which is great if your water contains minnows or sticklebacks. The Sparkler works very well when there is any hint of sunshine because the light catches on the reflective material, hence the name. This is another pattern that does well in the top dropper position.

Middle Dropper

This pattern has, without a doubt, been hammering fish on reservoirs and stillwaters alike since it’s conception. It can be tied in various ways but the original – peacock herl body and a wing of black marabou tips – takes some beating. The Cormorant is one of those patterns that does particularly well on the middle dropper.

The Viva is another one of those early season flies that can work very well on the middle dropper. The simple mix of black and chartreuse seems to really grab the fish’s interest, but more so at the start of the season.


Cat’s Whisker
If there is one pattern that has caught more stillwater rainbows in this country than any other, then it has to be the legendary Cat’s Whisker. Big and bright, it seems that this pattern must threaten fish in some way, because it seems to bring out their aggressive side. Weighted ones should be fished on the point but an unweighted, smaller version is effective on the top dropper.

Black Cat’s Whisker
Black and green is a killer combination. Combine this with a little bit of weight at the head and a long tail and you have a killer pattern with loads of movement. This pattern will often work when fish are shying away from brighter patterns. Keep this fly on the point of the cast.

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