Now when the season for trout fishing is unfortunately over on northern hemisphere there˙s plenty of time to do some thinking in retrospect regarding past months and to do thorough analysis what was actually happening on the water. While being on water is impossible to do so as there are a lot of distractions in terms of fish. Off season is best time for it. You either learn or simply forget until next season.
As usual beginning of the season sees a lot of crowd on the rivers no matter where you are, especially when all the other waters in country are high due to snow melting. Fortunately for all fly fishing enthusiasts there is one hydro electric power station drainage canal that holds previously stocked trout which are now surprisingly spawning and fortunately managing to hold their decent numbers no mater how much everybody is trying to destroy them. Being freely swimming around for nearly half of year in first couple of weeks they seems not to bother about strange silhouettes lurking in their sight and willingly they will eat pretty much any type of nymph and streamers offered to them. At least when they are presented in a remotely normal way. Easy target period of the season, happy and relaxed times.
Shortly afterwards first easy period, comes frantic running away from anything that shines period since pressure in first couple of months is so high and they`ve been bombed daily by any lure, spinner, spoon, jig (unfortunately spin fishing is also allowed on that canal as well on many other rivers here in Croatia), and all sorts of flys. Pressure on the water is still high since there is still fish in the water that should be put in to freezers. In order to do any type of approach to fish previously spotted from high bank trick is to walk upstream and slowly approach to fishing distance. Best is to be so close to see the fish you are targeting but that on the other hand could easily mean the fish will be able to see you as well in one moment and when that happens it`ll either pass you or run downstream like a torpedo. Fishing in that period of season can be frustrating and from time to time you start to slowly crack on the water not knowing why are they running. All was great last time you were here. Then all of a sudden you realize there is most shiny piece of nymph you ever tied during long winter nights next to vice warming yourself with finest scotch you had at the moment, and the fly is hanging from the streamer tippet you forgot to change. Who would have thought such a small adjustments in tackle setup would make such a great success next time you get to the water. All is good again, you feel better again.
As the season progress amount of spotted fish in canal is decreasing as is the number of other fisherman on the canal. Days are getting hotter as the summer is rolling in. Fishing on days with 30 + degrees Celsius can easily put you in state of mind where one is not sure weather the thing you`ve been looking for couple of minutes is either lump of grass or huge trout. Up until it gets spooked it might be mirage after all so only reasonable option is to fish for everything that remotely looks like a fish from place you are standing trying your best not to spook it. You can always excuse yourself on standing for too long under the Sun in high temperatures. That`s at least only consolidation for sessions when you blank. Even on such harsh fishing days when most “normal” people stay at comfort of their air conditioning homes while you are in their minds doing lunatic stuff outside for ways to long not giving up, trying everything, changing flys, tactics, tippets that can go to insanely thin diameters in order to trick those cunning water critters, something finally just align and you manage to not catch one but many fish some of even personal best by far on that water. Amount of happiness that the code is finally cracked is beyond any known method of measurement. Plan for next time when you start of course is to use the same tactics and holly grail fly you found after numerous changes the time before and you will catch all the fish that you see in the canal this time. It`s good to have some sort of plan now when you`ve finally cracked the code. Right? Weeeell, WRONG! You hit hard wall sooner then you thought, realizing the game of cracking the code is on again and the agony begins all over again. Exhausted, dehydrated frustration times at that part of the season.
Very end of the season is a blend of these three scenarios mentioned before. As all the variables are constantly changing and can affect fishing from catastrophic to splendid. Every opportunity spend on the water should be taken gratefully, since the end of season is near. And once when the season is closed, here comes melancholy time full of regrets what should have been done differently in order to maximize catch rate from this year instead of looking forward to a new season that is only 126 days away and how to avoid same mistakes and pitfalls we did this season in order to be more skillful and happy next time when the new season doors open again whit many yet uneducated fish that will put smile on our faces again, at least for first couple of months until the circle starts over again.
Happy code cracking!