Early Season Fishing Tips with the Turrall Team

Early Season Fishing Tips with the Turrall Team


With spring now imminent, it’s time to get back fly fishing on your favourite trout streams and stillwaters! After a long, hard winter there’s no better feeling than spring sunshine on your face and a bend in the rod. So, where will our Turrall team members be headed in the weeks ahead? Here are some great suggestions on tactics, tips and the best spring fly patterns to set you off on the right foot.

CRAIG BROWN (Scotland)

Where will you kick off the new season? What's your favourite venue and species this time of year?

After spending the last three years euro nymphing, and in intensive preparation for competitions, my plan for the start of this season is to go back to my roots. I want to take it easier-  sit on my backside with a dry fly rod, wait for a hatch, and target the large brown trout on the River Clyde.

What's your top fly for this time of year?

Shuttlecock emergers are a must for Craig.

The prevalent surface food source on rivers in March is the Large Dark Olive (LDO). My ‘go to’ patterns are an olive CDC shuttlecock with a pearl butt, and a no-hackle dun, both in size 16. Come to think of it, I would never fish any trout river in the UK without an olive CDC shuttlecock pattern in various sizes!

Typical setup and favourite kit?

My dry fly set up is as follows: 5 weight river rod, with Cortland Ultralight 5wt fly line, a 15ft tapered leader in 5.4lbs with 4/5ft of Cortland Ultra Premium fluorocarbon tippet in 3.9lbs.

Give us a seasonal tip!

For dry fly fishing, try to get either directly opposite a rising fish or slightly above. This will ensure the fish sees your dry fly before it has a chance to see the heavier sections of the leader. Good positioning also reduces drag. This simple approach has transformed my own dry fly fishing.

RODNEY WEVILL (South West England)

Favourite venue and species for spring?
March is a time I look forward to more than any other period of the year. With the new green shoots of spring comes opening season for brown trout- and I love Fernworthy and Wistlandpound Reservoirs! Being situated on the edge of Dartmoor and Exmoor, a days fishing on these waters is magical in the spring.

What are your top flies for spring brown trout?

My fly box will be quite sparse for the first six weeks, consisting of Soldier Palmers, Black Pennells and Black Tadpoles for sub surface pulling. That said, I’ll also take Beetles, Bob’s Bits and Black Hoppers for any early risers.

Typical setup and favourite kit?

Typical reservoir gear, with a Cortland 444 peach floating line,  followed by a 7ft tapered leader with Cortland Ultra Premium fluorocarbon between 3.9lbs and 8.4lbs depending on weather and flies.

Give us a spring fly fishing tip!
Fish into the wind- the fish will certainly follow it! Keeping on the move is another vital element to successful fishing- and I often take two or three steps before each cast to cover the water methodically. Finally, never pull your flies off the water too quickly, as browns will often take as you draw the line just before the next cast. Good luck to everyone for the new season- and I wish you all many a tight line!

JAMIE SANDFORD (North West England)

Where will you kick off the new season? What's your favourite venue and species?

That’s a tough one, I find it hard to pick just one venue and one species because at different times of the year they all take centre stage in importance within my fishing year. Off the top of my head, though, I'll go with pollack and coalfish from the rugged terrain of the South West coast of Scotland!  

Then again, having had a fantastic winter chasing stillwater trout in the North West I'm also looking forward to getting back on my local club water to target carp and even stillwater barbel…  watch this space!

What are your top flies for this time of year?
For the pollack and coalies on fly, a Clouser Minnow takes some beating. Going back to carp, I'm currently tying egg flies and nymphs. Both are versatile patterns that can be fished under an indicator or in a sight fishing/stalking situation!

What’s your setup and favourite kit?
For all my freshwater/stillwater fishing my go to rods are 9'6" 7wts with cassette style reels with a variable of floating/INT/sinking lines to suit the venue and species. My favourite piece of kit would actually be my polarising sunglasses! As a relatively new 'prescription' glasses wearer I must say Snowbee do a fantastic pair of lenses that fit over your standard eyewear. I wouldn't be without them!

Give us a seasonal tip!
On the carp, look for shallower areas of your venue that will warm up first from those sunny spring afternoons. Hang on till last light and more often than not carp will start to become more active on the surface and in the margins. Don't think of fly fishing for carp as being strictly a summer endeavour, you can give it a go right now!

DOM GARNETT (South West England)

Where will you kick off the new season? What's your favourite venue and species?

I cannot wait to get fishing for brown trout on the small streams near home again. There are stacks of these places in Devon, but I especially love the Upper Culm and other cute rivers such as the South Yeo. That said, I will probably also do a day or two on Hawkridge or Burrator Reservoir. Both fish brilliantly in March and April. It’s not fussy fishing, but good solid fun and the fish go berserk when hooked.

What are your top flies for this time of year?

For the rivers, it has to be the tried and tested Gold Bead Hare’s Ear. Sorry to be boring, but it’s just so productive! On the reservoirs, you can seldom go wrong with a Kennick Killer, which is among the flies I most often hand to beginners at this time of year.

What’s your setup and favourite kit?

For the small streams, it’s usually a 7ft three weight, with a Cortland 444 floating line and a simple tapered leader. On the reservoirs, I’d look for a 9ft 7 weight outfit, and 8lb fluorocarbon. There’s no need to go fine with aggressive rainbows this time of year- and I tackle up so as to leave no chance I’ll be broken off.

Give us a seasonal tip!
My best venues tip for anyone asking “where can I go fly fishing near me” at this time of year is to get yourself on the Fishing Passport Scheme for the Midlands and North, or the FishPass app for Devon and Cornwall! The value to be had is just ludicrous, with wild fly fishing from less than a tenner. Other than that, the best advice is get stuck in and search. There’s so much underfished river out there- but only if you’re willing to use your feet.


Favourite spring venues and species:
After a winter of pike fishing, I will soon look at the reservoirs for some hard-fighting rainbow trout. For me,  scaling down to a 6# is a bit different for sure, when I’m used to chucking 12 to 14 inch pike flies on a 10# or casting through the night with my 12 # hunting the mighty wels catfish!

I do really like fishing for rainbow trout early in the season, though, when the water's cold and the  oxygen levels are at their best. These trout sure know how to put up a good fight.

Favourite fly patterns

I find it really hard to get out of my  predatory style of fishing , so stripping lure style flies like Minkies, Zonkers, Coneheads and Boobies is ideal, depending on which type of line I’m fishing with. Cortland lines from an intermediate to a di7 suit me well.

Seasonal tips: Another great shout would be to try a bit of spring fly fishing for carp, this is done mostly by sight fishing. Stalking drifting carp just below the surface is great sport, timing your casts to perfection by dropping nymphs slightly in front and to the side of the carp. It's thrilling watching for the the fish to stop in their tracks, tipping slightly and taking the fly on the drop! You get some really exciting takes and it's something everyone should try on the fly rod. Watch this space for more on the Turrall Facebook page, blog and YouTube this year!

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