May Holiday Madness

So the seasons have decided to totally miss out spring and have just dived straight into summer instead. The day was roasting hot, into the twenties and the Clyde was the venue. I split up from Alex (who caught his obligatory 2lber on the nymph) while I targeted some rising trout on some flat water – this was at around 1000. I managed to spook all of them as they had far to long to study my fly so I decided to change to one of my no fail messy olives (I will post a picture later this week). This was during a hatch of what I think were Olive Uprights.
There was a trickle hatch pretty much all day of what what turned out to be Medium Olives (Baëtis vernus/Baëtis tenax)
You can tell it is not an Olive Upright as there is a lack of hindwings. Medium Olives emerge in steady trickles rather than in batches – that is certainly what we found, there was just not enough to get the trouts interest going.
Like I say, what did seem to get the trouts interest was a hatch of Olive Uprights in the morning. Large trout were slurping them down greedily in the deep water.

I managed to finally raise a couple of trout using a downstream cast (why does that seem to be working a lot more these days?) and promptly missed them both. That hatch then slowly died off. What I did notice was my fly got more interest towards the end of the hatch when the trout did not have a lot of choice. It reminded me that I have been in that situation before – with the trout only taking my fly when they have become more confident.

Later after walking upstream I managed to tempt a nice trout on a Deer Hair Emerger at around 1100- this I think was the second hatch of the day and also turned out to be the final one.

There were flies trickling off all day but not enough to get the trout’s interest going. I met Mike who I spent the afternoon with – he managed to lose several trout (videoed).

There was a few rises which I did not understand. I noticed a couple of trout rising two rod lengths from me – they appeared to be taking surface flies. On Mike’s suggestion I put on a bigger fly and the trout boiled under the surface of my fly- I could not figure out if this was a refusal, the trout taking a nymph under the surface or the trout possibly trying to drown whatever was on the surface. There were spinners and the odd olive on the surface. Whatever the case they did not like my offerings anyway.

A possible answer to another difficulty did flash into my head as I was trying to get to sleep. As Mike and I were mulling over how annoying the wonders of fly fishing and how belligerent selective the trout can be we watched trout very occasionally take “things” off the surface – there was no hatch going on however these trout would just occasionally “gloop” at the surface. I reckon they were taking some kind of terrestrial insect, maybe a daddy long legs (we saw some) or a beetle. I wondered how the trout would react to a nice juicy terrestrial going over its head instead of a suspiciously lonesome dry fly which was ignored.

Anyone have any easy terrestrial patterns? Are grasshoppers out yet in the UK, I never heard any?

Leaving Mike to his madness, my troop decided to stop off at a small burn – from a distance it looked lovely, a few small pools, and a nice run. It was shaded as well. Quickly assembled the rod – we were anticipating a few trout to the dry fly however were disappointed to find what seemed like a dead river. I would like to be proven otherwise however there was just something not quite right with the place – the water was a dirty brown colour, no insect life, the stones appeared bare and we caught no fish. Alex never caught a 2lber so there was something far wrong with the place..

Considering this is a feeder burn for the Clyde and whatever has damaged this river is getting washed into the main river we pretty much decided a call to Sepa may be worthwhile. It looks as if this wee river has been like this for a while so we decided to wait until next time we pass to make sure the river is guff and not just us jumping the gun. Someone who lives next to the river told our pal he has never seen any fish in it. I need to get a map out to find the name of it…

It is amazing the amount of these wee streams that criss cross the countryside – I think on another day like we had it would be better trying to seek out one of these wee burns instead of flogging a dead horse which is what we ended up doing on the Clyde – a nice wooded stream, plenty of shade, a bit like the Kelvin in parts really….


  1. charlie watson · May 6, 2008

    bank holiday weekends like that make me want to cry, or give up uni. walked along the river back from the library (silly me). lots of anglers out and it just looked lovely. These exams wont come quick enough.

  2. paul lee · May 6, 2008

    Hi Alistair i was fishing today as well was behind the transport museum then the art galleries then up at the science centre flys everywhere no rising wtf is that all about.
    Later in the evening approx 7:30 – 8 pm omfg talk about a major hatch i thought it was bloody snowing sideways, it was like a sandstorm they must have went into the millions no joke but still no takes on the dry and the rises were few and far between.

    what is a good dry to buy or tie to imitate the pictured fly above??

  3. alan atkins · May 6, 2008

    Alistair, i reckon the trout may have been taking the odd bettle that was blown onto the water from bankside vegetation. A foam bettle pattern may have worked or if other terrestials were present a single ginked williams spider may have done the trick

  4. Alistair · May 6, 2008

    Charlie – Aye, but at least you will have a nice long summer to enjoy your fishing, let me know whan your final exam is.

    Paul, for general olive imitaions try a comparadun, a grey duster or and Deer Hair Emerger – they will see you just fine. You can pick up Grey Dusters anywhere and they are simple to tie.

    Alan – Aye, I reckon it was beetles being blown on to the river – I tied a few up last year however never used them – will do this year though.

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  6. alan atkins · May 6, 2008

    Guys, with temps now into the 20’s , i think that the best of the sport will probably be found in the morning before the sun get too high in the sky, and again, in the eraly eveninng, mabye even into the gloaming. We are now experiencing high summer conditions , and must adjust our tactics accordingly

  7. Alistair · May 6, 2008

    I dunno Alan, I was thinking about this the other day. In June July and August you have more flies around..olive uprights, Yellow mays, pale waterys, BWO and sedges so there is more for the trout to pick on in the evening (nore to mop up as well) so in the gloaming you will find the trout a lot more eager and willing to take a fly.

    At this time of year the big hatches (by big I mean in variety) have not started yet so the trout just dont have the impulse to take flies during an “evening rise” – purley because there is not much for them to actually rise to.

    You are right though in that morning is the best time – and if conditions had been right on Monday we would have had hatches and rising trout right through to late afternoon – as it was the bright sunshine put paid to that.

  8. alan atkins · May 6, 2008

    Alistair, you’re probably right, evening fishing proper does not really happen until June. I was just sayin that we are experiencing conditions akin to an early summer and , as you’ve correctly pointed out, spring seems to have been a short lived event and summer is now upon us. However, knowing the west of Scotland weather we could be back to low temps and east winds this time next week !!

  9. Alistair · May 6, 2008

    Saying that, if there is somewhere you will probably catch a trout in the evening it will be on the kelvin – it is a fantastic dry fly water and we all know the trout are opportunistic. I was more thinking about the Clyde and evening sessions rather than the kelvin. I was speaking to someone who fished another tributory of the Clyde on Monday and had a fantastic day – a river similar to the Kelvin with nice wooded sections.

    Whos up for an evening session on the kelvin ? 😉

  10. Paul · May 6, 2008

    Hi chaps,
    I fished the Kelvin from 7:30 til dark last night and it was excellent.Large hatches of both olives and grannom and loads of fish rising.Caught plenty of brownies and a few finnock.
    Hopefully the similar conditions will bring more of the same tonight.

  11. Alistair · May 6, 2008

    There you go – I am talking utter pish 🙂

  12. Paul · May 6, 2008

    In your defence,you were talking about the Clyde initially,and we all know those Clyde trout have a mind of their own.

  13. Neil · May 6, 2008


    Debbie and myself are planning to go up to the Kelvin at some point over the weekend.. probably the vet school, either Saturday evening / night or Sunday very early morning till midday.. if anyone wants to join us..

  14. Alistair · May 6, 2008

    Im away for a wee evening session tonight 🙂

  15. peter · May 6, 2008

    Started tying my own flies this season,after the ang.centre price fiasco.I was shown 6 patterns by an old neighbour(3dry&3wet)in sizes #14-#18. and each and every one has caught on the Kelvin so far.Biggest fish `til now,1lb 11ozs,and at least a doz. about or just over the lb mark.This is fast becoming the best season on the Kelvin yet.

  16. Willie Yeomans · May 6, 2008


    Did you ever follow up the (maybe) fishless wee burn. Where was it? We might be able to electrofish it this summer to confirm (or not). You’d be welcome to come with us. Hope all well,

    Willie Yeomans

  17. Alistair · May 6, 2008

    Hi Willie – will look it up on a map and send you an email – by the way any startling finds in the Allander last time you electrofished it ?

    In other matters maybe you could confirm or rubbish the rumours about Dace, Roach, Barbel and Grayling (I really doubt the last one) as I have never seen or caught any – people keep turning up on th eblog and saying they are all being caught.

  18. Mark · May 6, 2008

    Hi Guys,
    There is a small burn thst runs through Bearsden cross(not sure of the name ), but as a small boy i used to see fish in it , to large for minnows and to bold to be trout, can anyone shed light on this water? its between the church and the llibrary.


  19. Alistair · May 6, 2008

    Remember as you get bigger the fish seem smaller – I think I know the burn you are talking about, does it run along the houses and there is driveways built over it?

  20. Mark · May 6, 2008

    Point taken,
    i also faild to consider that the fish were further away from my face thus giving a double illusion of size.(lol)

    yea think it goes under some flats, but there are fish there i will give it a try and get back to you ive not got a clue where it starts, perhaps kilmardiny loch??

  21. Stuart B · May 6, 2008

    Had a look on my OS Map that covers Bearsden but at 2.5 inches to the mile it doesn’t give enough detail ….I’m not sure where exactly Bearsden Cross is

  22. Mark · May 6, 2008

    dont know if this helps,

    The church has a graveyard beside it and the burn runs along te bottom of it,


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