Feeding habits; watch for the signs… by Steffan Jones

Welsh river expert Steffan Jones shares a fly that has fooled many a selective trout… watch closely and you will learn!

Fish like an easy meal. The harder they have to work for a meal the more energy they expend, which, in turn, can negate the energy they receive from the food source they are intercepting. As such, they are looking for a guaranteed food source, not something that’s likely to flutter away as they begin to intercept. As a result, emergers and flies stuck in the surface film are often taken more readily and more confidently than the full adults that sit firmly on the surface film. Indeed, you can often watch a trout leave countless adults drift past yet intentionally and systematically intercept every emerger. As is often the case with fishing; a little time spent watching the habits of a feeding trout will often pay dividends. It is all too easy to just ‘match the hatch’ because you see countless adults drifting past, but make sure you are representing the stage of the hatch that the fish are feeding confidently on.

A selective surface feeder from the Taff

A selective surface feeder from the Taff.

I had a similar encounter recently when fishing down on the Taff in South Wales. There was an amazing hatch of large dark olives, along with a few brook duns. I could see three trout feeding confidently in a run. I crouched and watched them for a while. A small backwater held countless adults, but these were being ignored by all three trout in favour of the emergers and those stuck in the surface film – part emerged or cripples. The following fly did the trick and has done on several occasions. Certainly not complicated, but does the trick and fools the fish.

The Steffan Jones olive emerger.

The Steffan Jones olive emerger.

Olive emerger

Thread: Veevus 14/0 in dark brown
Hook: Partridge K4AY in size 14
Body: Peacock quill in golden olive; superglue the thread base before winding on
Thorax 1: Opal mirage tinsel in medium; stretched and two overlying turns. Make some without these too; change to the non-mirage version if fish refuse the mirage version.
Thorax 2: Pine squirrel; loosely dubbed then picked out
Wing: x 3 cdc plumes

An army of SJ olive emergers ready for river action!

An army of SJ olive emergers ready for river action!

Expert guide Steffan Jones has over 20 years fishing experience and can cater to your every need – be it sea trout, salmon or trout angling. Steff also has vast experience of overseas holiday destinations.  For more details visit Angling World Wide.