The first month of the season is long gone and we are now well into May. May usually heralds the start of the evening rise which can be the best part of the trout season on the Tweed. Fly life has begun to change with the March Browns beginning to disappear and olive uprights hatching in large numbers. The Iron Blue Duns may also hatch on colder, blustery afternoons and there will still be dark olives around, so dry fly sport is often possible during the day as well as at night.
My favourite time of the season is when the spinners lay their eggs in the water then die in large numbers. The spinner is the last stage of the life of the fly. Once the fly has emerged from the nymph stage of its life, its sole purpose is to mate and lay its eggs. The trout will switch on to these flies in the evenings in what is often called a “spinner fall”. A trout rising to spinners is easily identifiable by the tiny “sip” as it rises to the fly. This is because the fly is dead or dying and won’t fly off so there is no urgency on the part of the trout to take the fly before it takes off as can happen during a hatch. Best flies for this are the rusty spinner, sherry spinner, spent olive and an old favourite the grey hen and rusty. These rises will often occur at dusk so it’s worth hanging on until dark if you want the best chance of a good catch. Just remember to take a torch with you as you may find you have to change flies in the dark and also walk back to your car in the dark. I find a head torch best as it keeps both hands free.
Another fly which can sometimes put in an appearance around May and June is the Grannom sedge. These don’t hatch on all parts of the river, so hatches can be pretty localised. These flies will usually hatch in large numbers in the afternoon and a Grannom hatch can be very productive for the angler.
There will be lots of different flies around, but in the absence of rising fish it’s often worth having a go with wet flies or nymphs. I prefer weighted nymphs especially on brighter days when the fish are more likely to be lying down on the river bed. Weighted nymphs fished upstream on a short line can be a deadly tactic. I prefer wet spiders to winged wets, but both will work on the Tweed. My thinking is that the spider type fly produces more movement to replicate a struggling insect and is therefore more attractive to the trout. Wets are usually best fished in shallower, streamy water and again are best fished upstream on a dead drift. Fish will also take wets fished downstream and swung across the current but if you do this try not to let the fly swing too fast as it just doesn’t look natural. There should still be some large trout prepared to feed on flies at this time of year but these fish usually disappear in early to mid June, so if you want a specimen now’s the time to get it!