Oh For The Love of Trout

As the world of fly fishing has evolved, we are now able chase bigger, nastier and more exotic species than ever before. Huge flies flung from heavy sticks target fish of obscene size and power.

Despite all these weird and wonderful species, if you told me to pick just one, that fish would undoubtedly be the humble brown trout. “Madness” you say, “surely permit, GTs, skinny water bonefish or some funky and brightly coloured jungle predator”. No, still brown trout.

Westfair, River Anton, Aardvark McLeod

Although modest and not wildly strong or exotic, I think trout are one of the most versatile species you can chuck a fly at. Few fish can be quite as dumb or as clever, and few live in such a wide variety of environments. Could they have been designed better for fly fishing?

The European brown really has done the rounds, being successfully introduced to Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya, Kashmir, Bhutan, Falkland Islands, Chile, Argentina. That’s a rather extensive hit list of places from which to choose to catch just one species.

I hold no claim to being any form of scientist, but can think of few fish or even creatures that have such genetic variation. Red spots, few spots, lots of black spots, butter yellow, golden olive, the list goes on. Each fish and the residents of each waterway all hold their own little intricacies and box of surprises. The brownies of one loch, lake or river may have a completely different colouration and character to that of another close by.

Trout Fishing, Aardvark McLeod

Most of all, the reason for the ole brownie being numero uno is simply because that is where my fly fishing started. It is still where the heart lies. I have been fortunate to have seen some great fisheries and caught a few wonderful species. Despite this, some of my most favoured memories still come from a small muddy stream in the flatlands of Norfolk. I spent countless hours of my childhood marching through bush and brambles exploring every nock and cranny of the River Tudd. My fly and leader rarely hit the water. Much of the time it found the nearest bush or tree in which to entangle. This typically led to a series of tantrums and then the inevitable disappointment of returning home empty handed.

All of the disasters fishing for trout on the Tudd made the successes that much sweeter. Until you have done the hard yards in a place it seems difficult to truly appreciate it to its fullest. On the River Tudd I had done the hard yards and I still appreciate my days there as much as anywhere, and still I appreciate the humble brownie as much as anything.

Westfair, River Anton, Aardvark McLeod

If you would like more information about chalkstream fly fishing please contact Peter McLeod or call our office on +44(0)1980 847389.