This season has provided a lot of time for me to reflect my past seasons since traveling has been restricted. I can’t say how much it has been coincidence or planned, but i have had a chance to experience sea trout river fishing in varied places in past seasons. Small stream fishing in Denmark, Finland’s coastal rivers, Finnmark tailwaters and cutbank rivers in northern Iceland. Now my home rivers are still half covered by ice but first fresh fish is just about to swim and my preparation for the season has been more or less none. May this article be my battle plan in upcoming season and also provide some usefull inspiration for upcoming adventures.
Like mentioned the first fresh seat trout come up the rivers pretty early. For my mind the fish in this case are divided in to three categories. The cruisers who swim back and forth, ones that come up after food and early migrating for swimming the spawning grouds for autumn. How ever the fishing these different individuals makes no difference. The water is cold and high specially in early spring. Though the fish has strength and motivation swim against current they aren’t very eager to move up from the bottom. Slow steady flowing runs that has rocks, weedbumps or holes carved by turns provide good places the fish to hold still. Necks and tail outs ofcourse are sure shots through out the whole season. This all being said it’s evident to get the fly down.
In spring i use light doublehander with floating body with multitip system. I’m bit lazy to carry multiple rods while i fish so i rather change the tip than walk back and forth changing rod setup. Even there’s good sinking line setups for singlehanders the high water pushes the fisherman to the bank there short fore skagit or scandi setups are the thing for me among many other anglers. For me the type of the shooting head body (skagit or scandi) makes not big difference as long as the weight matches because i mostly like to use just single spey or snap t with quite fast tempo being not so orthodox sustained anchor cast.
Like said the flies are often big how ever I rather sink those with line than casting heavily weighted flies. The light flies create more movement while fished passively. The light fly is also easier to keep out of the bottom or weeds with double or single hook inserted upwards. I find it’s easier to adapt varied depths in longer beats. The takes in spring are mild but the rage of fresh fish is clear once the hook is set. I have appetite for short rods in sea trout spring fishing since I feel those are more sensitive for tracking the fly movement and setting the hook.
In early summer the water begins to warm up and different bait fish species arrives to the rivers in broad shoals. Then the target fish also becomes more active. Even the fish is more active the bait fish shoals brings new difficulties. I have been numerous times both fishing brown trout and migratory fish that the fly just don’t stand out from the real baits. It’s a frustrating situation specially in broad water since the fish doesn’t necessary feel so threaten by the fly and doesn’t ignite the territorial instincts. This brings me in to some what contradicted situation since it would be easy to serve big flashy flies for the fish but active drift are hell a lot easier with single hander specially if you are used to those. However in these situations good method is mark the fish with big flies, target visible fish or just feed the fly from upstreams to trusted station spot and then right in the nose of the fly speed it up. If the water body allows using waking flies or flies that swim just below the surface speeding the fly can be the trick once fish shows it’s interest. While the water warms up changing the normal colorful tubes to bait fish patterns or even to smaller classic streamers can change a dead fishing day. The change from attractor flies to baitfish imitations can be really sudden. A lot of migratory fishing methods are inherited from salmon angling and while the summer heats up and the water gets lower the trout tactics becomes also effective and bring the variety to cheating fish specially in crowded rivers.
I count the July already as the beginning of the late season. Warm summer months has heated up many of our rivers in recent summers so for me it’s time head towards north. Both in warm water and gin clear Arctic water the flies needed are totally different. The salmons has also found their ways in the water so combining the tactics are commonly used. The traditional wet flies like green but, MB and flashabou garry around hook 10 are commonly used.
Another good fly type is weighted small flies with rubber legs not to forget variations of prince nymph. These can be fished with various methods. I find it easy to fish these with a combination a combination on swing and dead drift. How ever if the line is with in a loop across the current is good to stay awake for the take since setting a hook with baggy line is ofcourse difficult but possible. The rod needs to be pulled sideways instead lifting the rod up.
In the other hand when the nights begin to darken fast and once the midnight sun is out, it’s time to dig big black streamers or tubes from the pockets. Fishing in pitch black can be really rewarding. I was in an assumption that fish are scared of head lights what becomes almost compulsary in the end off august. However i have been proved wrong. Specially in bigger water and with longer lines the the fish seems to bite equally hard though the light is on.
While I’m writing all this the late season feels far away. Unfortunately every season feels to comes to an end too early that’s why the most important part is a head of us. It’s time to load the truck and get the best out of it.
Jussi Sojakka is a co-founder of RFT Gear and ambitioned angler and rod builder from Finland. Aside running RFT he spends his time in Finnish “Koski lands” and touring around Northern Europe seeking life lasting memories with a rod in his hand.