Fishing The Fly Scotland Forum

Mike Livingstone

Do Don trout not like March Browns?
« on: 02/04/2007 at 20:01 »
Went down the Don today for a few casts to mark the start of the trout season.  There was a good hatch of march browns but not a single fish showing.  Do these fish not like March Browns or are they just sitting tight for the olives?


Re: Do Don trout not like March Browns?
« Reply #1 on: 02/04/2007 at 20:28 »
Something is not right on the Don, or perhaps the  trout are just "odd". Over the years I have seen massive hatches of every fly species in the north east  (except olives) and not a single fish rise anywhere. Saw it last season a few times. I was on the Deveron last week and in 1 hour saw more olives than I saw the whole of last season on the Don (no, I am not joking) and fish rising freely to them.  Further down the Don  the trout seem to rise more freely. Explanation? Nitrate enrichment?  Too much bottom feeding?  Bloody minded-ness ? Who knows? I certainly don't anyway all I know is that most others I speak with have exactly the same experiences, but like me are daft enough to keep going back!   :grin:

Sandy Nelson

Do Don trout not like March Browns?
« Reply #2 on: 03/04/2007 at 08:31 »

Over the years i have often wondered the same.
However It is all to do with location and conditions.
I have found that certain areas of the river will have trout willing to rise to MB's as well as dark olives. It is IMHO more to do with water conditions.
When the water is the colour of irn bru a few days after a wee spate then the fish will go daft for MB's, once the water temp rises a bit they will rise too, unfortunatley the MB's are often long gone by the time the fish are fettled to rise, last year being the best exception for a long time.The flies delayed till may and fish were more than happy to rise.
That said my best day on the don was April the 1st 1989, i have never had another april day the same since, despite searching for it :z6
I cant really remember what the winter was like though, but i do remember every fish :cool:

I would look for a deepish flowing (riffle) stretch about 50-100yds downstream of a shallow fast pocket style water. I would sit down and wait (approx 1200hrs-1300hrs), when the flies appear the fish usually follow about a minute or two after, be ready. It 'll last about 20-30 mins and then its over. Then its search fishing, create your own hatch with casts over the same area, it can work.

I also dont think this is confined to Don fish, i have seen it on the Ythan and Deveron as well as the Isla, ericht and tay. Its just broonies :wink:

And Fred if you go down to parkhill you will see the biggest hatch of LDO's you'll ever see anywhere, its truly amazing,the water is litterly carpeted with flies and again not a fish to be seen anywhere.

keep trying though, the days it happens are worth the wait. :z16



Do Don trout not like March Browns?
« Reply #3 on: 03/04/2007 at 13:48 »
Sandy, I think that you are right about water conditions. The Don has its source in MUCH higher hills than the Deveron which comes out of the relatively low lying Cabrach. The Don water level is much higher than the Deveron  right now and possibly a lot colder (although I have not measured the temp on either). Bob Wyatt told me that he has seen big hatches of both MB's and mayfly in various places over the years and no fish taking them.  It's as if they need a while to get them into their  "food profile". I saw the same on Lochindorb a few years back with heather beetle. Millions- and I mean millions on the water and no fish talking them – in fact I really think they scared the fish. Within a week they were being eaten like they were going out oh fashion – which they were!

Anyway, come what may, I'll be down there thrashing the water anyway. When you live so close it's just so easy. That can be a double edged sword though – you have to be careful about not being too "choosy about your  day" and end up not going at all!  Whether I catch fish or not just being there is a privilege.


Do Don trout not like March Browns?
« Reply #4 on: 03/04/2007 at 21:35 »
fred, mike and sandy
could it be something to do with the browns being stocked in the don,
stocked fish never rise as freely as their wild counterparts, something to do with the sinking pellets they're fed i think or possibly the strain used.
just a thought  :wink:


Do Don trout not like March Browns?
« Reply #5 on: 04/04/2007 at 08:35 »
Brian, only bit of the Don that is stocked to my knowledge is the ADAA water around Parkhill. No stocking anywhere else as far as I know.


Do Don trout not like March Browns?
« Reply #6 on: 04/04/2007 at 10:30 »
Well, MB's or not I was speaking to Elaine at The Grant Arms  today and they have already had a few big trout taken over the past few days!


Do Don trout not like March Browns?
« Reply #7 on: 04/04/2007 at 13:32 »
Fished the Don on Monday, very little on the way of fly activity. Managed to tempt 4 fish between 2.30 & 3.30 largest at 2.5lbs.

Mike Livingstone

Do Don trout not like March Browns?
« Reply #8 on: 04/04/2007 at 15:58 »

Sounds like a godd start!  What and how were you fishing?  I am tempted just to try nymph fishing for the next couple of trips and see if I come across a rise then change tactics at that point.


Do Don trout not like March Browns?
« Reply #9 on: 05/04/2007 at 10:37 »

All trout were caught on the Dry Fly, although I did try nymphs earlier on in the Day with no joy.

Iain Cameron

don, haughton, fri
« Reply #10 on: 07/04/2007 at 08:39 »
first trouting trip to the don yesterday afternoon, haughton council stretch. didn't get there till late -- 2pm or so -- and it was already cold and blustery... oh well. So, no big hatches to speak of.

managed a cracking, and surprisingly-fat, brownie of about 3/4 pound on a ptn-style nymph. no photo, just straight back in. pleased with that for a start to the season. Tempted one more wee guy on a speculative dry parachute adams, and a couple of wee ones on a hare's ear.
just great to be back on running water again


Richard Tong

Do Don Trout Like March Browns
« Reply #11 on: 08/04/2007 at 09:15 »

I have witnessed Don Trout feeding on March Browns many times in different kinds of weather. Not sure why they didn't when you witnessed the hatch though. One of the most memorable times was April 17th 2003 at was the Spring where I don't think it rained for 6 weeks and I had a wee bit of business in Aberdeen and was back on the river for 11am.It was wall to wall sunshine,blue sky,no cloud,no wind,generally regarded as awful fishing conditions. The river was low and clear.From an elevated position I was able to see the hatch start as I tackled up. I can honestly say I have never seen anything like it,there were not tons of MB's,but obviously enough to get the fish interested.From what I could see they were all big fish too and several would have gone way over 3lbs,the biggest I estimated at 7lbs(we think that we saw the same fish last year too as it was in the same pool,it is HUGE).The rise lasted an hour then it went dead for the rest of the day.Truly unforgettable while it lasted though and I hope that I can withess this again someday.I think that this pattern of weather had been prevalent for weeks and the fish had got used to it,11am is a wee bit early for things to get in full swing generally.

As Sandy says a lot of it is down to the weather. Last year at Monymusk we had had a tough day,conditions hot and sunny(11th May) and then had to go to Orvis shop at Banchory for the opening evening.I could have stayed at the river but elected to go with the others.When we got back to the Hotel we talked to a number of anglers who all had come off the river covered in LDO duns.Due to the hot conditions at the time they had got into a pattern of delaying the hatch almost like duns do in Summer and had hatched en masse starting at 8:30-9pm and had been doing this for the previous few nights.We missed all the sport that night!!



Barrio Fly Lines - designed in Scotland - Cast with confidence all over the world

Barrio Fly Lines -

At the heart of your fishing - lies a great fly line!

Designed in Scotland - Cast with confidence all over the world