The Evening Rise with David Garfoot
The evening rise is regarded as the crème de la crème of trout fishing in this country. As daylight hours have now peaked, warmer weather has gradually moved in from the continent boosting the fly life present on the river bank. Insects can hatch in great numbers during these periods and thus create feeding frenzies among the trout of the Eden valley. This increase in the insects available can prompt even the most reluctant and wily of trout to move out of their day time lies to feed. Amongst these fish, now gorging on an array of fly life can often be specimens of three pounds and well above! The evening rises begin as the summer’s day starts to come to an end, the temperature cools and swarms of insects begin to lay their eggs on the surrounding rivers and lakes. The most frequent insects that occur within Cumbria at this time of year are; Sedges, Dun’s, and a variety of Midge’s. The time of which an evening rise occurs varies from day to day. To make the most of this dry fly sport I avoid the more productive looking pools till later in the evening, when the fish are rising more freely. By doing this it prevents the better quality fish from becoming spooked and leaves things more in your favour when fishing for them. To effectively target these brown trout a variety of tackle set ups and techniques are required. My tackle of choice when targeting fish on an evening rise, is a Greys XF2 Streamflex 9ft 4wt and a Rio Perception 4wt fly line. This setup is by far one of the most effective on the market to date. It allows for the most careful and delicate presentation, yet also offers great versatility in a variety of fishing situations. The Perception is built upon a low stretch core (around 6 percent stretch) which allows for quicker hook sets and easier mending (see footnote 1) of the fly line. From my fly line I will always attach a tapered leader to aid the turnover of my fly. My personal favourite being the Rio Powerflex 9ft model which is both supple and low in diameter. As well as this, I always carry a range of tippet strengths in Riverage Grand Max Fluorocarbon and Frog Hair Copolymer which come in useful in many different situations. These can include either tying a dropper or extending the tapered leader if it has become too short. In my opinion these tippet materials are tried and tested and have always offered great reliability on my fishing outings. On my arrival at the river I will attempt to identify what the fish are feeding on and consider how I might try to catch them. There are a few main approaches which should be considered when fishing an evening rise. These include: - Up-wing fly’s such as the Medium Olive and Small Dark Olive hatch throughout June and July. Once they have mated and deposited their eggs within river system (known as Spinners at this stage of their life cycle) they can often become trapped in the surface film. When trapped they are an easy meal for trout and often get eaten before they can escape. To represent Spinners I use a fly known as a Sherry Spinner. I will attempt to match the size of real insect as closely as possible and then target certain fish once I have seen them rise confidently. - As dusk arrives sedge and caddis flies can often be seen skating across the water’s surface. The wake that’s caused seems to attract the attention of most fish in the surrounding water. Trout will readily chase these fleeing insects and aggressively attack them in hope of a large easy meal. In hope of attracting these aggressive brownies I use a select few buoyant sedge patterns such as a Deer Hair Sedge and an Elk Hair Caddis. I cast upstream and directly across, and then retrieve my fly in a variety of different movements. I aim to match the movement of the natural flies as best as possible and find this produces the best results. - When fish appear to be feeding on midge species my go to pattern is a Griffiths Gnat. The bushy design of this fly seems to be often irresistible to these wild river trout. I match the size of the fly as closely as possible to the insect. When using small dry fly’s like this it is as important as ever to ensure you get a drag free drift. Flies that are affected by drag usually result in fish ignoring your fly or even becoming spooked. The evening rise can regularly continue well into darkness. During this time I rely on hearing the rise in order to set the hook rather than seeing it. Difficult as this may be the darkness often brings with it the peak of trout’s feeding activity. Great sport can be had on an evening rise and in my opinion is something well worth having a late night for. David Garfoot Foot note: 1 – Mending – the process by which you counteract the effects of current on the fly line, thus enabling a longer dead drift.