Every year lake fly anglers all look forward to the hatch that starts our season. Of course it is the Duckfly. But it can be patchy at best and conditions dictate whether or not it is worth going afloat. Last week I had to abandon my boat and fortunately I was able to reach the fish from the shore. Looking back I must say I had some of the best action during the duckfly that I have ever experienced.
This week I had the pleasure of fishing with my good buddy and top River Angler, not only a gold medal winner as captain of the Irish team but a Brown Bowl winner Peter Doherty. Peter normally stays in the water not floating above it, but when there is a hatch on the cards I can just about persuade him to take a seat in my boat.
Lough Lene was the venue and with a Leinster qualifier coming up, I need all the practice I could get. The day was forecast nice and bright with very little wind and for once the weather man was correct. I hadnt experienced a hatch of fly yet on the lake and conditions looked great for it to happen.
Tackling up the choice of set up was very simple really. I chose two floating lines one with a cast of small black duckfly imitations. The other set up I chose was the washing line. This consisted of a three fly set up, two buzzers on the droppers and a fab or booby on the point, the size of booby or fab or rather the bouyancy of the tail fly will dictate how high the buzzers will fish in the water. I prefer skinny/epoxy/superglue buzzers when fishing the washing line. The Duckfly buzzers I use are normally in sizes 12 and 14's. I will be doing a blog later on all the flies I have been using so dont worry.
Peter was arriving just before lunch so I headed down the lake to try and spot some fish moving. I did not have to travel far. It was flat calm and a little tricky to anticipate the path of the feeding trout. There were only adults on the water and it was really nice watching the trout feed freely. But after about 30 minutes I gave in and fishing dry adult duckfly close to the reeds seemed to be the trick as I landed four fish quite quickly. A phone call disturbed the peace but it was time to collect Peter.
After picking up my buddy we headed back down to the same spot, but in the 20 mins I had been away from the area four boats had moved in. Lough Lene is a popular water and its to be expected and you learn to adjust to the amount of anglers that can be on the lake.
We positioned ourselves behind a couple of boats, there were fish rising everywhere to tiny adult buzzers and to the bigger adult duckfly.
Over the next couple of hours we landed 6 fish as the wind kept getting up and going back down, when the wind picked up the flys flew off the water and during one of these times I changed to the washing line where I picked up two fish in three casts. But on stomach pumping both trout I could only find adults. No more fish came to the washing line that day but we had some fine sport with small drys and light tippets. But still no actual buzzer hatches and it looks like its the last outing I will have this year to see one as by all accounts its nearly over.
We caught probably 15/16 fish not exactly sure but it was great to see some bruisers of overwintered fish feeding really well and obviously surviving well. We called it a day at about 6.30pm as it was getting cold, a lot of boats arrived at the lake around five and it was getting crowded too. Another lovely day on the lake and fishing with Peter and fishing drys so early in the year, definitely a trip to remember