Early Doors Dry Fly

Written by: Paul Procter


The first Large Dark Olive of a new season is a welcome sight for both trout and angler.
Photo by Paul Procter

Depending on where you live the brown trout season begins anywhere from March 1st to April 6th. In our neck of the woods you can almost spilt the difference as March 15th heralds the dawn of a new season. Some claim it hardly worth venturing out until lengthening days bring welcome warmth, increasing the hopes of fly hatches. That said Large Dark Olives will have remained active right through winter and those who dabble for grayling speak of February being a prime month for this resilient upwing fly. Of course, hatches spill over into March too, before eventually petering out come April.

Given this, we can set our stall out very much with dry fly tactics in mind during those opening weeks. Granted trout can’t be expected to be topping from dawn to dusk, but shortly after lunch on most days there should be enough fly emerging to summon up a fish or two. One point here is to refrain from arriving too early. If you’re on the water by breakfast time then come elevenses, frostbite or boredom will have set in. Either way, by then you’ll feel compelled to climb in and start wafting a rod about, usually with a brace of nymphs tethered to the business end. Such actions can disturb the pool just as trout are thinking of venturing out in readiness to dine.


A paradun sporting a visible post makes the ideal Large Dark imitation for opening day forays.
Photo by Paul Procter

The best plan is to turn up at lunchtime and commit by knotting on a dry, something like a size 14 olive paradun or F fly would be my first choice. Rather than prospecting using blind casts I’d encourage you to hang fire and instead wait for a trout to show itself. This might involve a wait and occasional potter from pool to pool for a check to see if fish have come on a wee bit sooner in more sheltered areas. The effort though will be well worth it and nothing compares with targeting rising fish using an appropriate imitation. Better still, keen to pack on weight these early season trout are often receptive to a carefully placed fly.


A fit early season trout which fell to a delicately pitched dry during a flurry of olives.
Photo by Paul Procter


About Paul: Life long Orvis supporter, AAPGAI Master Instructor, Orvis Endorsed Guide and Wild Trout Trust vice president, Paul Procter is a dedicated flyfisher with over 40 years experience under his belt. Aside from being a regular on the Orvis Blog, Paul is a leading contributor to Trout & Salmon, Trout Fishermen and the Fieldsports Magazine. Travelling extensively throughout the UK, Europe and Southern Hemisphere, Paul has gained extensive knowledge in both fresh and saltwater disciplines. His abiding love though is to target large wild brown trout using dry fly techniques.

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