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When to Fish

Sea Trout Fishing on British Sea Trout Rivers

 

In the Where to Fish section, we looked briefly at where we might hope to catch sea trout and found worthwhile opportunities in most parts of the British Isles, from Connemara to Carmarthen, from Caithness to Cornwall. When, though, is the best time to go in search of sea trout? As a general rule, the best of the sea trout fishing in the British Isles is undoubtedly to be had in June and July. Sea trout will then be present in the majority of our rivers and, in the clearer streams, may be observed resting in the main pools during daylight hours. I would expect most of our rivers to follow this pattern, so much so that, if I was planning a sea trout week on any river in the British Isles, I would be most unlikely to choose a week earlier than June or later than July, with the last two weeks in June and first two weeks in July generally being prime sea trout time. Fresh sea trout will continue to run during August, and even later in some rivers, but, as the season progresses, we can expect that all sea trout will naturally be more advanced in their spawning cycle and the probability of catching a coloured fish will increase with the passing weeks.

Low water on the River Tyne

A June Sea Trout

Sea Trout Water

A Summer Sea Trout from The Spey

The specific timing of the sea trout runs does vary from river to river. Generally, though, sea trout will begin to run in numbers in early summer, perhaps in May, and numbers will build up during June and July and into August. Successful tactics for sea trout can vary somewhat from river to river and region to region but, in general, the hours of darkness are the most productive. Although the larger sea trout, on most rivers, tend to run early in the season, the nights before about mid May, here in Scotland anyway, tend to be a bit on the cool side for night fishing. I always feel more hopeful when air temperatures are forecast to remain in double figures throughout the night. This may not occur here until well into June.

Another prime requirement for success at night is that the river must be running low and clear, at or near summer low level. If there is any significant colour in the river, shortly after a spate for example, the chances of catching a sea trout in the dark will not be good. With the river running off after a spate, sea trout, much like salmon, may be caught during the day, either on fly or spinner. Once the river has cleared, and fallen back to near summer low level, night fishing might be resumed, with a good chance of newly arrived fresh sea trout in our pools, keen to take a well presented fly. In the clear, low water of summer, it is vital that we do not disturb the sea trout pools before the colour has drained from the riverbank foliage. Best to sit and wait until the bats, the moths and the midgies stir, and with them the sea trout! When it is time to begin, the smoother glides and pool tails should initially be avoided, left until it is properly dark. Seek some background tree cover, stay off the skyline and explore the faster, rougher headstreams first, where there is a chance of picking up a fish preparing to run upstream to the next pool, without disturbing the shoal of fish lying towards the tail of the pool, or about to move into the tail from the pool below.

Summer Nights on Sea Trout Rivers - a Sea Trout Fisher's Journal

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