Over wintered rainbows – Smarter than the average trout?

I spent Sunday and last night up at High Fairbanks pursuing the over wintered rainbow trout in my favourite WADAA rainbow fishery. This is a catch and release only fishery and before the annual stocking, which will take place anytime soon, last year’s fish (maybe even previous years too) are relatively low in number, educated and can be very picky. This characteristic coupled with incredible good looks make them one of my favourite early season targets. They show what fantastic fish rainbows at their best can be. Even a lowly “stockie” can with 12 months growing on in a good clean environment turn into a real stunner.


With a good ripple on the water fish can be fooled quite easily with a few buzzers drifted on a floating line with the breeze, but on a flat calm day they become snooty picking off emerging buzzers with aplomb while cruising past most of your offerings with disdain. I guess, until this year’s stocking provides a bit of competition there is plenty of grub and all the time in the world to eat it!

buzzards foggy

This pair of buzzards displayed all day  – Arrived in mist with fish rising – game on! 

Sunday started off with the fell-side cloaked in mist and while it cleared to a degree we never got more than a hazy sunshine while last night was glorious. Both days presented me with the flat calm scenario and I managed a couple of fish on Sunday and one last night. I find it’s best not to get frustrated with their picky moods but to admire them and take any fish in such conditions as a victory. All 3 fish took a black and peacock CDC emerger.


A pair of buzzards displaying most of Sunday made a great watch and while I’ve yet to see an otter there, I’m coming across lots of evidence in the form of tracks and crunched up crayfish shells. I fished on late last night in the hope of seeing an otter rather than another fish – turned out I got neither but a stunning sunset was ample reward.


Not a bad walk back to the car.

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