Its all about temperature… And higher is better, because its spring after all. Last weekend I was exploring some Northern Latvian trout streams, with the aim not only to land some fish, but also to experiment with some new trout flies I have tied specially for this season. As you might remember last week was quite hot and dry, by this waking waters from a long winter sleep and definitely this was the time to get in a waders. Quite a lot of options at the moment one may suggest: chub, asp, sea trout and salmon kelts in Salaca, as well as some trout in our tiny rivers. And also pike season is around the corner! But this time for me it was all about the trout and tiny streams.During the snowy winter time I have tied some flies for the spring and besides all time classics (Woollys and Mudlers) I prepared some new stuff to experiment with. So, this was the moment these flies where waiting for.
Autumn and early winter of course is spawning time for Salmonoid species – not only for those from sea but also for freshwater trout. Week ago, I was visiting Armands place in the Northern part of the Latvia, to see how he is doing with his hatchery and to catch some fish. I would say, that this is one of the most beautiful hatcheries I know- located close and taking water from Virgulica creek , it is perfectly suited for hatching different salmonoids including Brown trout, Arctic char, Grayling and even White fish. So, those who are not shure about their fishing suceess, can prepare some nice pictures of fish from the hatchery. I don’t know a lot of places in Baltic states where you can see 2+kg brownee or char. I was even more lucky – Armands prepared such a fish for evening, that of coarse was best addition to whiskey, that we shared during the evening talks. Because the different reasons, this year was not so good for business, but don’t worry, numbers of trout and grayling still is enough to supply the rivers and lakes, where Armands is in charge of stocking.
Opportunities near his beautifully located house are plenty: big stream, small stream and plenty of pounds, offers different opportunities for almost any fly fishermen.
During the late autumn, sometimes even in mid November, you can expect some snow here, that virtually makes day longer and fishing somehow funnier. However, the nasty hands of global warming, are also putting some fingerprints here, by changing the snow to rain and freezing temperatures to muddy river banks. Water level in the bigger stream Pededze was a bit more than enough for fishing, so I focused my fishing activities to Virgulica – small tributary, which holds wild trout, grayling and rainbows. No doubt rainbows are foreign species that are stocked all around the places in Europe, and because of that in general are not so interesting objects for fishing. But here as well as in few more places in Northen Latvia it is little bit different… First reason – some part of fish was stocked years ago, and is feeding constantly on their own, and second, even more interesting, they have spawned successfully few times, so you can expect a take from 100% wild bows. So, its worse to take a try with a fly rod in your hand. Because of the spawning time I was fishing only in the spots where I was not disturbing brownies, with the aim to see how nice the bows are in winter here.
Fishing was high in spite of the low temperatures, and more surprisingly there where no rainbows in between first five fish I landed. Guess what? Yepp, the brownies. Most likely they where hungry after spawning – even the smallest fish was quite slim, but apparently fast enough to be quicker than rainbows. I did not landed trophy sized brownies, but biggest one was big enough (around 40 cm) to put a decent bend in my beautiful Opti stream rod. When first activity calmed down, I felt a gentle touch to my minnow type streamer, but with no afterword… Hmm… I made another cast, waited a bit more to let the fly sink deeper, and after the second strip – yes! It was a nice take. Completely wild black colored Rainbow was fighting with attitude until I was able to land it. You can not see such a healthy bows in many waters in our region – beautiful tale, powerful body and natural water type color. Armands tend to think that there are few wild rainbows here, so this was maybe the one. During the next hours I landed few more fish, mainly taken on grey minnows, size 8, so I was happy about this short winter day. All the fish was safely released, and lets hope to meet them again next year.
At the moment I have launched a Catch and release contest, so get ready for the next year. Authors of best videos will receive awards from LOOP and certainly size matters here. More info here.
Also for my Latvian friends – I am working to implement a forum in Latvian for 2010, so come back soon to discuss.
All the best,