Early Season River Trout Tactics - Darryl Mooney of Partridge

Early season Trout on the rivers is usually a mixture of opportunism, putting in the miles to be at the right place at the right time. The fish are gonna be feeding at some point and hopefully the conditions are there for you to take advantage. At this time of year March Browns and Large Dark Olives (LDOs) are the main source of a fish's diet – Many of these insects hatch in the faster water, ascending through the water column where awaiting fish mop them up. You might well start the cooler part of the day fishing nymphs in the shallow riffled water moving on to the glides as fly activity increases and fish spread out. This is where your emergers and dry flies will come into their own.

Rene Harro’s CDC Biot Thorax Dun

It's important to be aware of what's hatching so you can align your tactics and make sure you have the right flies in your fly box. The March Brown and LDO are synonymous with the new season and will be the most important patterns to have in your fly box. 

Darryl Mooney from Partridge Hooks swears by Rene Harro’s CDC Biot Thorax Dun for early season LDO hatches, try that one alongside  Split Wing Duns, Jingler March Browns, Deer Hair Emergers and Olive Paraduns.
For nymphs, if it’s a day with a Y in it then you can’t go wrong with Pheasant Tail or Hare’s Ear Nymph!

March Brown
This member of the mayfly family starts hatching in the middle of the month, with duns fluttering  off the water in short bursts over a few hours. These bursts are pretty short, the hatch might only be 20 minutes so you should have an imitation ready.

March Brown Flies have been used for early season trout since the 1600’s imitating  including the March Brown (Rhithrogena germanica), the False March brown (Ecdyonurus venosus) and possibly even the Large Brook Dun (Ecdyonurus torrentis).

Hatches continue through to mid-April, after which they won’t be seen for the remainder of the year so now’s the time to get your early upwing imitations on.

Large Dark Olive (Baetis Rhodani)

Large Dark Olive 
Of all the upwing species found on rivers, Large Dark Olives (Baetis Rhodani) are perhaps the commonest and most predictable when it comes to pinning down a hatch. Often referred to as a ‘foul weather fly,’ they’re happiest emerging in miserable conditions too.

Although March, April and early May see Large Dark Olives at their most prolific, a second brood can be expected in Autumn with September and October considered prime months.

Tactics are similar to March Browns, fish will target the ascending nymphs early on, making subsurface tactics worthwhile. However, hatches of LDOs tend to be denser and more prolonged feeding activity is more often at the surface.


Dry Fly
There’s nothing like fishing a single dry fly on a long tapered leader, cast with good accuracy and delicate presentation to a wild brown trout. Once you’ve spotted a fish rising, get into a good position to make the cast, keep low, tread lightly and wait as long as you can before making your fish cast… Wait, what? Allow the fish to gain its confidence and then make your first cast, this will certainly enhance your chances of getting it to take your fly.

Darryl Mooney - Partridge Hooks

Darryl's Tackle List:
Hunts Original Floatant & Sinkant HERE
Varivas Tapered Leaders HERE
Marryat LX Fly Rods HERE

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