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Preparing for the Early Brown Trout Fishing Season

Posted by John MacLennan on

Fin and Game’s confessed trout bum, John MacLennan, gives us the low down on how to prepare for the upcoming trout season. We even convinced him to share his fly box collection with us. John’s latest fishing adventure was to Colorado, visiting his favourite river - The Roaring Fork. 

With the brown trout season now open, early season fly fishing can bring great rewards if you are prepared. After the long winter months, it is always advisable to check your tackle before you venture out on your first fishing trip. If you are like me, at the end of a season you will put your fishing tackle away and forget about it until spring arrives.

Preparing Tackle for Brown Trout Season

A good start is to remove the line and backing from your reels and check that all knots and joints are ok, it’s easier to repair or replace defects in the comfort of your house than on the riverbank. Some tippet material can deteriorate so make sure that you check the spools that you have, if they have been kept in a dark dry place, then usually, they should be ok but it is always best to check and replace if necessary.

Pre-season is a good chance to tidy up your fly boxes. If you are anything like me, come the end of September my boxes are a complete mess and lots of empty spaces where I have either lost or given flies away.

Wild Brown Trout Fly Boxes

Look over the rest of your tackle and make sure you have everything you will need for your first outing, there is nothing more frustrating when you are out fishing and you can’t find what you you need. I always take way too much tackle on the water. My waistcoat is heavy but very seldom, I find I don’t have what I need.

Take warm clothing, spring weather can change very quickly and pack a good waterproof jacket.

Finding Wild Brown Trout

It is a good idea to keep moving while fishing for brown trout early season and search the water, fish don’t always hold in the water you normally find them later in the year like the faster riffles and streams. Instead they tend to be in the slower parts of the river and while insects hatch they can move into these areas to feed. Generally, fish like to have deeper water close by for a bit of security so the best times to be on the water are around 10am to 3pm as this is the warmest part of the day but as always fish don’t live by our clocks. 

Preparing for the Early Brown Trout Fishing Season

My normal set up for early season would be a two rod set up, 9ft #4 dry fly rod and a 10ft #3 nymph / wet fly rod. I always have a dry fly rod set up as there can be early hatches or fish rising as you arrive at the river. By having a specific dry fly rod set up, you can get on them quickly and take advantage of the hatches, which can be short lived.

Euro Nymphing 

If there is a lack of surface option, nymphing can be the way to go. Euro Nymphing has become increasingly popular in recent years and has proved to be a great method to add to your repertoire. I use a 9m long camo tapered carp shock leader with a 6 inch hi-vis bi-coloured indicator with a 2mm leader ring attached within the indicator. From here I will attach 8ft of 3lb (0.12mm) nylon with 1 dropper 3 ft from point fly which will be the heaviest beaded fly. 

Best wet flies for brown trout fishing

Hares Ear Trout Fly

For wet fly fishing, I use a three fly cast, 14ft long and a 3lb breaking strain with a beaded fly on point (this helps turnover a little) and usually a waterhen bloa on top dropper and a hares ear and partridge on the middle. This method can produce good fishing prior to fly’s hatching as the nymphs are more active and the trout can be caught at this time.

It is also worth a try after a hatch has slowed or finished as fish may still be holding position looking for nymphs or drowned flies.

Try in the tails or heads of pools and slower deeper water.

Best Dry flies for brown trout fishing 

For dry fly fishing I always renew my dry fly leader for the start of the season. My preferred choice is a 12ft 5x tapered nylon leader with 2ft removed from the thick end and attached with a nail knot. Tying a 1.5mm leader ring to the thinner end allows easy changing of tippet as conditions dictate and the beauty of the leader ring is that my tapered leader length stays constant from fly line to the ring without having to renew the tapered leader from changing tippets too often. 

If you have any questions on Trout fishing please feel free to drop us an email at or call us on 01573 224066. 

It is always great to see fellow anglers latest catches so use #finandgame on your Instagram posts or send us them on Facebook! 

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