When I say early season Lough fishing I mean from the start of the season this can be Febuary in some places but in most cases March onwards. You will find the milder days will bring the best results. The first thing to remember is that fish are hungry this means they will take oppertuitys on large attractor patterns. Another thing is at this time of year any fly life that is about will be very small like tiny black buzzers for example. So you will get some fish up near the surface as you approach the end of March.
My experiece fishing wets on lough Erne and Corrib is on a light ripple try small wets pulled slowly or even nymphs. Sometimes you will get fish up sipping in buzzers and on the duck fly. In these conditions you can strip slowly but if this fails or you are getting follows throw small patterns such as connemara black or small sooty olives into the ring of a feeding fish an leave it static more often than not the line will tighten as the fish turnes on your wet fly.
Some helpful tips for duck fly fishing. Their are a wide range of Duck fly patterns sometimes it can be difficult to know what to use. The way I see it they all have their time and place. I posted a picture to show a rough idea and 2 suggested styles to fish them. On the left are larger bushy patterns they tend to be good for either fishing dry or striping in a wave, searching for trout feeding sub surface in a more exposed are of a lake say around the point of a island or a shore with the wind blowing down it. Basically anywhere you can get a good drift. Trout will see the larger flies in the wave, the wave helps fool the fish so the finer point tend not to matter so much. On the right of the image are the softer lighter dressed style of duck flies they are really great on the sheltered bays and backs of islands you will often see fish sipping sub surface the small soft hackled wets and nymphs fished slow or nearly static will pick the fish up but they can be really selective. Its worth trying an emerger and even a dry particularly later in the afternoon it always surprising how this can make a difference to your success. Even an epoxy buzzer can do the trick fished along with an emerger or a dry can be a great combination to target fish feeding in the calms.
Dabblers and Streamers
Dabblers are and exiting style of fishing they are realy large attractor patters that create a stir as they go through the waves Size 10 is a great go to size. Most of my early fish before the main hatch of duck fly comes on are on dabbelrs and fry patterns. Fish them on an intermedate or slow sink line for best results as some days the fish will not be so willing to come to the surface. My favourite drifts are those with the waves crashing along a shore or onto the point of an island this knocks shrimps snails and hog louse from their hiding place and fish will be mopping them up. This is where the dabbler really works well some days you are nearly casting them up onto the bank and catching fish in as little as a 1 foot of water. My favourit combination is a Georgioue geroge in a dark green colour on the top and two dabbler behind or a dabbler middle and a Minky on the point. My best colours of dabber early are. Golden Pealry, Claret, Pearl, Silver and Firey Brown Olive both light and sooty.
(One of our monthly fly club packs with streamers www.banvalley.com.)
Streamer are large patterns mostly baitfish patterns like minkies in natural brown black white and olive. The black humoungus is also a very good pattern for striping and you will often catch larger fish on these patterns. Trout are aggresive feeders and preditory in nature. My advice is to find places the depth falls off from shallows to around 15ft and strip them on sinking or intermediate line and you will be surprized at the results.
If you are interested in quality flies you will be able to put to good use delivered to your door each month go to our site and join the monthly fly club www.bannvalley.com
We only send flies that suit your fishing style so you will always get patterns that are useful and hopfully up your game fly fishing suess.