Last hurrah on the streams
  |  First Published: May 2010

This month sees the end of the rainbow – and the brown – across the New England region at midnight on June 14.

The season has been a cracker and with a couple of weeks left before the closure, you really should get up here and chase a few trout. The water levels have been consistent, as has the quality of fish from Walcha to Ebor.

Two techniques that are sure to undo a few fish at the tail end of the season are deep nymphing for the fly brigade and soft plastics for the lure anglers.

Nymphing is a familiar word to the feather/fur aficionados and most of you lure flickers will probably remember soft plastics! They were the things you all used before the current crop of metal vibes and expensive, imported hard-bodied minnows took pride of place on tackle shop shelves.

Anyhoo, small – and I mean small – soft plastic grubs in bright colours – and I mean bright – are the go at this end of the season.

Lime green and pink are favoured colours for this angling style although hot orange is also popular.

Fishing lighter mono, such as 4lb, will reduce water drag and encourage freer drifts.

As the season winds down, the combination of steady stream flows and increasingly frigid water mean the trout are ready to rumble.


The majority of fish in hard-fished waters will have retreated to the thick stuff, places where inaccurate casts will only spell snag-ups.

The best way to reach these fish is with light jig heads and tiny plastic grubs.

If you match the right head and grub size, these little suckers will trickle along the bottom in medium current.

Raising and lowering the rod can assist in reducing bottom foul-ups and hopping the imitation down the current line will increase fishy hook-ups.

Look for places where there is generally a narrowing of the current, such as where the creek sweeps around a tight bend.

Here you will often get a deeper pocket scoured on the outside bend and the trout will regularly tuck in hard against the bank.

Strikes will usually come at the mid or lower point of the bend and late-season fish will often be savage.

Another favoured location is at the lower ends of islands.

Often these are not obvious but many deeper pools will have a mid-stream gravel bed. Either side is slightly scoured with a pocket of deeper water at the tail.

Fish will often sit where the split currents reunite. Such areas are often overlooked but are a favoured haunt of late-season fish.

The beauty of this technique is that it gets your hooks down and close to the river bed. This is where most of the fish will be sitting, tucked down and deep.

The beauty of the tiny jigs, as opposed to lures with trebles, is the greatly reduced fouling on bottom structure.


Fly flickers will be well advised to persevere with weighted nymphs for the reasons above. Streams levels at present are still fairly well up across the region so you’ll need imitations with weight to get down.

Some anglers prefer bead heads, some like a weighted underbody. It is pretty much personal preference which way you go although a slim weighted body tends to reduce the bottom-hooking encountered with beads.

If you tie your own patterns, whip finish with a coloured thread so you’ll know your weighted nymphs from the unweighted ones.

The major rule with deep water and weighted nymph angling is to fish short.

The more specialised technique known as Czech nymphing often places the angler within spitting distance of productive water.

Read the conditions and get as close as possible to the fish without spooking them.

Deep nymphs should be fished on pretty much as tight a leader as possible. In the smaller Ebor waters, my leader will usually consist of m of straight 4lb test.

Generally I’ll fish a pattern a little larger than normal, probably around size 10, and use something with a little flash. Such flies as Sparkle Pupas, Copper Johns or variations on the Flashback Nymph are ideal.


While a tight line will limit slack, detecting a take can be difficult. Most drifts will be short, so fish a portion of the run, then move forward and repeat.

Strike indicators can be invaluable and there is a wealth of options on the market. The accompanying photo highlights a few of the more common.

The roll-on foam indicators are seen in most stores but they do leave a greasy patch on the leader if you remove them and will sometimes not remain fastened in cold conditions – remember, we’re talking late season New England!

However they are highly visible and ride high in the water.

Pin-on indicators such as the Kahuna are quick to add or remove and reposition with varying water depths. However, they do tend to unbalance longer leaders should you employ them on deeper water.

The most popular indicator styles are the yarn varieties. These are highly visible and tend to sit more comfortably on longer leaders.

When treated with a light floatant they will ride very nicely in the current and are favoured for shaded streams or during periods of low light.

Indicators will greatly enhance your ability to detect strikes when fishing nymphs deeper than usual.

When the sun gets low, drop to your knees and look along the water surface for greater visibility of your chosen indicator.

As a rule of thumb, position your indicator three times the depth of the water above your fly.

Strike by pulling down with your stripping hand, not by raising the rod tip. Reaction times are faster and you’ll not miss as many fish.

The key to successful indicator fishing is to strike every time your indicator dips or pauses.

Sure, 90% of the time it will be something other than a hungry trout but then again, 10% of the time it will be. Good luck and go get ’em!

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