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Loxiafan

Personal Reflections on Don Trout Season 2012
« on: September 13, 2012, 15:29:27 PM »
I know it is a bit premature with just over two weeks of the Trout season left but I am already reflecting on the 2012 trout season, highs and lows and taking stock and making plans for next year ( thinking tactics, getting materials for flies etc). Would be interesting to hear all the regular anglers thoughts and see if there is some common ground. John Walker (of Don book fame) told me it is the worst he can remember in 50 years, mainly the fact that conditions have remained poor at key times.

For me, I chose to fish dry fly all year, more as an experiment and for aesthetics than any elitist rationale. I have had similar success to last season (where I fished spiders and nymphs in addition to dries) but I have caught better fish overall this season. I have caught waaaay less small or undersized trout by using dries, possibly as it is so 'target specific'.

Next season I plan to go back to nymphs and spiders, particularly during early season, and will also fish dry when the opportunity presents. My biggest epiphany this season is that my casting is the area that needs the most focus - my lack of consistency and lack of 'repertoire' certainly cost me fish. Again, possibly highlighted by the fact I was targetting individual fish rather than 'across and down' blind that I have done all my life. That said, I dropped way less hooked fish than last season so can't complain.

My season "high" is overall being able to catch fish on the dry in all kinds of conditions - most notable a 12 oz BT in a snow storm whiteout during a March Brown hatch in April ! Biggest trout was 3 lbs, same as last season. The lows were finding "dimpling" fish in late July into August that just could not be bought, even throwing tiny rubbish at them. This really frustrated me, but in hindsight some small midge type nymphs fished just beneath the surface on a French Leader would probably have done the biz - will find out next season....hopefully.

Top flies: JT Olive size 19 and DHE size 16 (accounting for about 90% I caught). CDC and Elk had a few but I felt let down by it this season.

So what have you guy's made of Season 2012 so far and will it change anything next year ?

Lindsay

Goolager

Re: Personal Reflections on Don Trout Season 2012
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2012, 20:58:03 PM »

 Not like you to be premature Lindz.  :X2
Has it actually been a poor season? Personally I have had some great outings but it has been a very unusual season.
March produced unseasonably warm weather with decent rises to decent hatches reported which had me in good spirits for opening day. April arrived and normality was restored.
April & May, weather & spate permitting has  seen some amazing prolonged MB, LDO  & OU hatches but whenever I was out the number of trout showing on the surface has been anything from poor to non-existent. Very disappointing although on reflection subsurface stuff may have been the way to go, problem is I just don't get as much enjoyment fishing anything below the surface.  :z8
Reports show that those able to catch the morning or afternoon hatches when conditions were good could have some good sport - it just seemed that come the weekend, every weekend  :X1, the conditions were either unfavourable or numbers of surface feeding trout were nowhere to be seen. 
Summer evening sedge activity has been very poor and I must admit that the CDC & Elk has been relegated this season after being in pole position for the last couple.
High water levels and holidays pretty much washed out my sea-trout fishing.  :cry
For me large fish have been either one-cers or popping up randomly here then over 'bludy' there. I have encountered many times this year some big fish feeding 4" to 12" off of the bank in flat water which has caused me some problems - upstream or downstream cast?  Accuracy along with floating tippet has left me wanting.
Some might say that trout like settled conditions to relax into feeding patterns but I think that there has been some excellent shows of fish when the water has been high and coloured, so much so that on reflection I actually looked forward to a rise in water.
There have been some very large Browns caught off of the surface and a few guys in particular have had bumper fish so I have had to take a good look at my capabilities and approach when judging the season.
Streamer fishing, although advocated by a certain quarter for seasons, has certainly come to the fore most likely due to the record rainfall and produced some impressive results too.
August historically can be a frustrating ’surface’ month for me but saw a decent return this year thanks to a couple of CDC emerger patterns.
Returning to mono tippet will be a given next season as will my persistence with the dry fly, sitting watching the water or roaming the banks looking for that decent push of water is what makes me tick (not in a nervous way).
I guess there have been fewer easy fish this year – that decent fish holding station in a non- complex lie at a decent distance from your bank picking off duns mechanically as they float by. We all love them but sometimes it’s good to have to re-evaluate our capabilities – the only way to advance.

Iain

Noel kelly

Re: Personal Reflections on Don Trout Season 2012
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2012, 23:05:53 PM »
I know it is a bit premature with just over two weeks of the Trout season left but I am already reflecting on the 2012 trout season, highs and lows and taking stock and making plans for next year ( thinking tactics, getting materials for flies etc). Would be interesting to hear all the regular anglers thoughts and see if there is some common ground. John Walker (of Don book fame) told me it is the worst he can remember in 50 years, mainly the fact that conditions have remained poor at key times.

For me, I chose to fish dry fly all year, more as an experiment and for aesthetics than any elitist rationale. I have had similar success to last season (where I fished spiders and nymphs in addition to dries) but I have caught better fish overall this season. I have caught waaaay less small or undersized trout by using dries, possibly as it is so 'target specific'.

Next season I plan to go back to nymphs and spiders, particularly during early season, and will also fish dry when the opportunity presents. My biggest epiphany this season is that my casting is the area that needs the most focus - my lack of consistency and lack of 'repertoire' certainly cost me fish. Again, possibly highlighted by the fact I was targetting individual fish rather than 'across and down' blind that I have done all my life. That said, I dropped way less hooked fish than last season so can't complain.

My season "high" is overall being able to catch fish on the dry in all kinds of conditions - most notable a 12 oz BT in a snow storm whiteout during a March Brown hatch in April ! Biggest trout was 3 lbs, same as last season. The lows were finding "dimpling" fish in late July into August that just could not be bought, even throwing tiny rubbish at them. This really frustrated me, but in hindsight some small midge type nymphs fished just beneath the surface on a French Leader would probably have done the biz - will find out next season....hopefully.

Top flies: JT Olive size 19 and DHE size 16 (accounting for about 90% I caught). CDC and Elk had a few but I felt let down by it this season.

So what have you guy's made of Season 2012 so far and will it change anything next year ?

Lindsay

Size wise it's been my worst year since my first year when I didn't have a clue. Hatches have been very poor and I just didn't see large feeding fish. With the exception of one that I spent half the year trying and failing to catch. I know others namely Liam young-un and Michael windy bottom have both had their best seasons yet so fuk knows.

Peter McCallum

Re: Personal Reflections on Don Trout Season 2012
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2012, 08:11:14 AM »
My reflection on Don 2012






















 :cry :cry
Peter

Rob Brownfield

Re: Personal Reflections on Don Trout Season 2012
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2012, 13:07:02 PM »
And mine....

 :X1
Ok, I admit it, I quite like this salmon fishing lark....

Loxiafan

Re: Personal Reflections on Don Trout Season 2012
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2012, 10:59:11 AM »
Has it actually been a poor season? ....There have been some very large Browns caught off of the surface and a few guys in particular have had bumper fish so I have had to take a good look at my capabilities and approach when judging the season.

For me on the first point, no, but I have put in a fair shift to match last year (only my first full Lower Don Season). Stockies have obviously been less evident at Parkhill etc but them some nice wild fish there.

On the very large fish on dries, that is real 'holy grail' stuff ?! Possibly catching the same 'pool' of specimen fish regularly at one or two locations ?? I don't know, but wish I did. I only know it is on ADAA beats, apparently. But, yes good to review capabilities etc, for me definitely my casting for improved presentation and not being so stubborn with dries when spiders and nymphs are a better choice.

Rabbitangler, I cannae see yer pic !

My season is now officially over, I think.

Lindsay

Goolager

Re: Personal Reflections on Don Trout Season 2012
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2012, 12:30:29 PM »
The Don has always been a fickle mistress, sometimes red letter days and then the next you'd think there wasn't a fish in the place, being out for a sesh and not casting a fly can be quite frustrating for the surface fisherman.
 
The odd tough season keeps the old feet on the ground.  :X1

I think by your posts Lindz that if all fish hooked/pricked/lost had been netted then your fishing glasses would have rose lenses as opposed to amber.

I get the feeling that your much like me attractive but annoying keen as mustard to catch fish on the dry and happy to wait until darkout for that one fish but then full of regret for not fishing subsurface when the monkey never appeared.

For fishing the dry almost exclusively I think you've done well and should be pleased. As for next season I'll bet you're on with the dries catching those early hatches in April & May - just see if you're not!

a ra bezd

Iain

Loxiafan

Re: Personal Reflections on Don Trout Season 2012
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2012, 13:22:10 PM »
I think by your posts Lindz that if all fish hooked/pricked/lost had been netted then your fishing glasses would have rose lenses as opposed to amber.

Mmmm, not really  :wink I actually dropped very few fish this season unlike last. Did lose a biggie at Kintore at the net when the hook just pulled out as I eased him upstream prior to netting, but you know that sort of thing happens to guys waaay better than me so I don't really register it tbh.

A good season for me in that I have learned a lot more, which is what it is all about. Just interested to see what others made of it.

Lindsay

Goolager

Re: Personal Reflections on Don Trout Season 2012
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2012, 13:25:27 PM »
Shush! every time I see you you're giving me tales of 4lbers lost in weedbeds  :X2  :z4

Iain

Loxiafan

Re: Personal Reflections on Don Trout Season 2012
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2012, 13:31:07 PM »
Shush! every time I see you you're giving me tales of 4lbers lost in weedbeds  :X2  :z4

More like 1lbrs lost in weedbeds !  :z4

Hoping to get out closing day ( if I can) but I think the proverbial Fat Lady is about to whistle for me for 2012. Nice Helios ZG sitting here expectantly too......bummer.

L

Rob Brownfield

Re: Personal Reflections on Don Trout Season 2012
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2012, 13:32:47 PM »
Considering my limited time on the river I think I did pretty well with fish to 5lbs+ caught, and methods diverse as Streamer and French Nymphing all producing fish.

I think I proved to myself that I can pretty much switch to any method with enough understanding to catch something, unless in the presence of Mr Cameron!!

I lost a few big Trout thanks to reels with poor drags or hooks failing, so I also learned that the most expensive is not always the best.

And lastly, thanks to Mr Cameron, I fished areas I would normally have walked past, so thats been a big  :X1 on my behalf.

And thanks to those I have met on the river and who have shared their knowledge.
Ok, I admit it, I quite like this salmon fishing lark....

Loxiafan

Re: Personal Reflections on Don Trout Season 2012
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2012, 13:15:24 PM »
April & May, weather & spate permitting has  seen some amazing prolonged MB, LDO  & OU hatches but whenever I was out the number of trout showing on the surface has been anything from poor to non-existent......Summer evening sedge activity has been very poor and I must admit that the CDC & Elk has been relegated this season after being in pole position for the last couple.

On insects, it seems that 'hatches' can be very localised on the Don, often varying by beat ? You guys are often reporting good hatches up river when the same day and time lower down there is nothing ! Did see one awesome LDO hatch and a MB hatch that was pretty mental, but in the latter case the fish just did not lock on to them !  :z8

I also fished a particular beat a bit more this season and had to change tactics and approach a bit for that (slow, canal-like water). Agree on Sedge activity - piss poor overall. Wonder what happened there ? I am 100% sure that when fish took my DHE they were taking it as an upwing rather than sedge.

Lindsay

TimTheFlier

Re: Personal Reflections on Don Trout Season 2012
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2013, 22:53:12 PM »
In anticipation of the 2013 season, I thought I'd revisit the forum to see what's being discussed and came across this thread - apologies to the regulars who've already discussed their 2012 season but felt it important to add my tuppence (does that word age me ??) worth.

2012 saw lots of firsts for me: ADAA membership, FtF Forum registration, BT fishing on the Don, river fishing as opposed to paying to catch stocked rainbows, etc.

Without going into too much detail, 2012 was an outstanding year for me - not in catch numbers but in overall fishing experience.  Catching wild BTs on self-tied flies has been a very satisfying experience and a wonderful introduction to BT river fishing.  I've managed a several decent fish after a spell of being plagued by smaller 1/4 "lbers" with a particularly notable afternoon standing out as one i'll remember for a long time.

That said I owe my successful introduction to a few personalities that I've come across over the year:

- John Walker deserves specific credit for his enthusiastic patience with my nagging questions early in the year and for getting me hooked (pun intended !) on the whole BT C&R "thing" - specifically the inspiration gained from his book.

- The Young Gun deserves the greatest credit and I was lucky enough to spend some really enjoyable outings on some favourite beats (and some pretty lengthy fruitless marches covering vast swathes of the Don's banks in the search for the elusive rises - sorry Liam).  His generosity and willingness to teach me some fundamentals transformed my techniques early on and I owe the majority of my catches to his instruction (the rest I put down to luck).  Not sure if he still frequents these threads now he's enjoying sunnier climes but I feel privileged (always struggled with the spelling of that one !) to have been able to pick his brains before he left, and to have spent so much time with him.  If you're still stalking these threads tight lines young man.

- Other faces I've met along the way (Lindsay, Mike B, Goolager and some other "handles" that I've since forgotten (cut me some slack, it's been nearly 6 months in some cases and I'm the wrong side of 40) but will no doubt meet up with on the banks this year) have proved great company and a wealth of tit-bits and useful information - thank you all for your generosity and friendliness - it's been a genuine pleasure.

It is my intention to make the march to the river this year so hope to see some familiar faces, but wishing all fellow "Don-ers" tight-lines for 2013.  Let's hope mother nature is a little kinder with her weather this year.

Regards,
Tim




Other notables, met along the bank

Michael Buchan

Re: Personal Reflections on Don Trout Season 2012
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2013, 14:21:56 PM »
2012 was by far the best year I have had on the Don.   Had some great nights out many with Liam.  Shame I never saw him land his PB before he buggered of to OZ but saw him lose 2 which would have topped the 4lb mark and watched him rise the biggest trout I have ever seen 5 times and miss each one  (pleb  :z7). 

June was by far my best month might have been because the wife was away for 2 weeks of it but the fishing was great.  Just worked and fished and by the end of the fortnight I felt I learned the beat I was fishing inside out saw more big fish in that month than I have in the 3 years I fished the Don previously.   Think one of the reasons why I had a better year  than before was due to staying out later and fishing until pitch black a lot of the bigger fish never came onto the feed until it was proper dark.  Also was much more selective than I would have been in the past especially round about darkness passing by a lot of fish I would have cast to in the past so I could find something better, some nights it worked others I hardly made a cast.
 
Landed my PB in June in darkness 4.25lb had a few others around the 4lb mark, the fish that sticks in my head is one that took the dry with a big push of water striped my line and most of the backing before my backing jammed and tippet went ping.  Never saw it but it was big still gutted wish I took Liams advice and went swimming.  Other highlight was having a 12inch trout I was playing eaten by a fish over the 3lb mark, had the bigger fish on for a few minutes’ before it let go and I had a well chewed 12 incher left.

Roll on the 2013 season planning on giving French nymphing a good try early on in the year treated myself to a new 3 weight for the job.  Also got a go-pro so hopefully will manage to post some videos if I can figure out how to work the thing.

Cheers
Michael

Mike Barrio

Re: Personal Reflections on Don Trout Season 2012
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2013, 14:44:47 PM »
Great stuff Tim and Michael :z16

Get's the juices flowing for 2013!

Best wishes
Mike
www.flylineshop.com   At the heart of your fishing ..... lies a great fly line!

 




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