Sunday, 12 August 2018

Sneaking Away

With the building work finally finished on our home its deep clean time as the whole house is covered in a fine layer of dust, as always happens, no matter what measures you take to try & stop it.
With us both working full time we are slowly working our way through the house one room at a time over the weekends and yesterday was the turn of the living room which thankfully didn't take as long as we had expected so with karen my wife putting the last feminine touches to the way she wanted things, I sneaked out for an hour or so onto the river out of her way.

Driving up the Dale the farmers are all busy getting the hay cut & bailed.

The view across the Vale of Mowbray in the direction of  Teesside was clear for many miles.

I only walked up to the first pool and sat for 10 minutes observing to see if anything was rising, I seen quite a few par moving before I saw a more substantial rise so casting my dry fly over it on the 2nd cast up it popped and took it.

A beautiful coloured Brown Trout slipped over the side of the net, taken on a pheasant tail klinkhammer that I tied up some time ago and have had some good results with over the last few outings when nothing definitive has been hatching.

The brown pheasant tail klinkhammer
I sat beside the pool for a further 20 minutes or so and nothing else rose in that time apart from the odd Par, so I started to walk back towards the car down the river which was now really on its bare bones, observing all the fish holding areas and contours of the river which normally you wouldn't get to see, a good mental map of when the rivers get some water again.

Some fungi on a willow tree by the side of the river.

I found a deeper piece of water close to the far bank with a bit of an overhang of bank vegetation which looked really fishy so a few casts later I wasnt surprised when a trout rose from the depths and sucked down my dry fly. A fish of around a 1.5lbs which did not take too kindly to it picture being taken as all the photos were water marked hence no photographs.

With nothing further happening I made my way home in time for Tea and a chance to chill in our now clean living room with my feet up and watching a film, the film...a river runs through it.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Sanity Restored

The last few months have been enduring in one form or another with building work happening in our home being delayed over 3 months by the company who was carrying out the refurbishment and being busy at work myself with a new project rolling out the doors, which all took its toll and I wasnt far from throwing the towel in completely.

After over 3 months late the building work was completed at 10pm last friday so we had all weekend trying to restore some order into our home & lives. We arent still quite there yet but it's a far better place now than it was over a week ago.

So on thursday night I decided to head straight to the river from work and have a moment of sanity in my life, but that was not meant to happen as Im sure my rod isn't meant to look like this....

My trip was over before it even began!

Heading home and seeing as I had my camera in the car I stopped off by the new additions that have appeared around the town where we live.

This artwork has been sited just as you enter the town from the new bypass road and I have to say I like it very much.

The town also has a new sign

Im still unsure about this as I prefer the old sign which was done in natural stone and sits directly behind this one a few yards closer to the town. See if anyone can spot the fish in the picture....No prizes if you do..

It was nice of the boss at work to appreciate the job I had done over the last few weeks in getting the project rolled out and he passed on a nice gesture on friday night before I left work... 

The best medicine for a Scotsman  and it went down nice on friday night as I chilled after a hard week at work.
So with a repair job done on the tip of my rod courtesy of a bit of heat removing the eye from the broken piece and some glue & whipping thread the rod was repaired & ready for action albeit a few cm's short of 10ft.

Last night after dinner I ventured up the Dale to try it out and return some sanity to my upturned life.

The first thing I came across was this fungi at the base of an old oak tree where I park the car, I think the heat has got to it as well, as the top has crystalised in the sun.

Walking up to my start point, I was amazed although with the drought conditions we have endured over the last month or so how fast the vegetation has grown and completely covered a path I use to enter the river, so with wading stick in hand I had to beat a new path to the river. 

As I sat and tackled up taking in the sound of the water running over the rocks it soothed my soul and I have to say I was at peace for the first time in weeks. I sat and watched a pair of kingfishers dash up and down the river from my concealed spot on the bank and nature is definitely a great healer, it was great to just sit listen & watch.

It was now time to see how the repaired rod would fair and it didn't take too long for the first Par to take a liking to my dry fly. What better way to test the rod than start out small, hoping that they would get bigger, fingers crossed.

Thankfully I didn't have to wait too long to find out as the next species to take a liking to the dry fly was this nice Grayling.

Its nice to see Grayling of this size back on this stretch as they have been absent for a couple of years with only really small Grayling making an appearance in the past.

The trout were keeping a very low profile and the only things rising were the small Salmon Par so I started to have some fun with them and after 15 or so of them decided to head upstream to where I could hopefully tempt some bigger fish.

I spotted a smutting fish which I initially thought to be a Grayling as it was hardly breaking the surface to suck down the flies and after a few casts it took my artificial, only to be confronted with this Brown Trout.

Not 5ft from where I had taken this fish I seen another fish smutting, so drying my fly I cast over in the direction of where I seen it and immediately I had another fish on.

another Brown Trout.

With nothing else moving I decided to take time out & watch the sunset over the Dale, The Geese off in the distance coming into roost for the night, and a couple of hares running away from me as I climbed the bank to take the photograph.

I sat for nearly 30 minutes soaking in the peace & quiet apart from the sounds of the river behind me.

Deciding to head back downstream towards the car I stopped off at one particular run to see if any residents were there and after 2 casts I could just see the rise in the gloamin as a trout rose for my dry fly.

The largest fish of the evening and sanity was well and truly restored. Oh & the repaired rod it works just fine.

Monday, 23 July 2018

An hour with the Ladies

This weekend was a hectic one with one thing & another so the fishing really took a backseat in priorities and with the rivers the way they are with no water, if I got out at all I was considering myself lucky.

I did managed to scrape an hour last night at just before 9pm I headed the couple of miles up the Dale to a spot where I was hoping there might still be some oxygenated pocket water holding a fish or two.

The first piece of moving water I came to I was just about to take my first cast into it when a face appeared out the water no more than 10ft away from me, I stood perfectly still as the otter looked at me as if to say what do you think your doing!

It felt like a few minutes that I stood there looking at it and it looking at me but it couldn't have been more than 20 seconds and then it dived under the water & I seen the wake of its body head off downstream all very calmly and surreal.

Looks like I disturbed his fishing hole as the water was just over knee depth and the deepest part of the river around.

Pointless seeing if any fish were in that hole so I wandered upstream to another place I knew would be moving.

This shingle bank is normally 2 ft under water in normal summer levels but at the moment its holding mimulus flowers high & dry.

On reaching my chosen piece of water I seen some movement at the tale of the faster water & suspected these would be Grayling and sure enough drifting a dry fly down I managed to coax a couple out.

I managed two Grayling within two drifts and on the third dropped another fish.

Moving to the faster water at the head of the pool only produced a couple of smaller Brown Trout

With only small Salmon Par snapping at the flies I called it and started heading back to the car, only an hour fishing but very contented and peaceful after a week of ups and downs. 

As I started over the bank my eye caught 3 hares all playing in the middle of the field, total oblivious to me being there, Jumping all over the place and having a go at each other, I did attempt a picture but my small pocket camera was insufficient in the range dept for it. After a few moments of watching them I raised myself over the bank & they were off at speed across the field in the opposite direction.

Satisfied and at peace its amazing what an hour on the river can deliver.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Fishing!....Sounds more like a golf score

 Last night I decided to head to the cold water where I hoped of a repeat of last weekend with a couple of Grayling maybe, well that was my hopes.

Arriving on the stretch just after 6pm I walked to my start point to see an angler already in the pool. I sat on the bank as he finished up and came towards me & we greeted each other, not the normal accent I would associate around these parts but that said neither is my Scottish accent. Turns out it is a visiting angler from Belgium and his friend was further upstream with one of our local guides I bump into from time to time on the river.

John & the other visiting angler appeared soon after and we all sat & chewed the fat through the day they had and the evening I was hoping to have, a few small fish were caught and one of the anglers had taken two small Grayling to dry fly, his first ever Grayling caught. The football scores were mentioned a few times between them but I was staying neutral and soon afterwards we all shook hands and they headed back to their cars.

The river had dropped since last weekend but was still very much in a fishable state but on the 40 minutes I had been sat speaking and setting up after the lads had gone, I never seen one fish rise worth mentioning, a few very small Par had broken the surface but nothing more.

The sun was starting to dip behind the trees as I strolled to the pool and took my first cast of the evening.

Starting off on a couple of nymphs it didn't take long until my first fish of the evening took a liking to my dropper.

A couple more Grayling of similar size followed from the pool before I moved to the next pool where I was hoping for a repeat of the size of Grayling I took for it last week, alas my wishes were not answered as the Grayling had been replaced with Par both salmon & Brown Trout and as I finally left the pool the count was Par 9.

I sat and observed my next pool, a fast pool with plenty of oxygenated water coming into it and seen a few rises amongst the fast water, so I opted to change to dry fly thinking that the Grayling would be sat in here taking flies coming down n the current.

The first fish that took my dry was a slightly bigger trout of around a half pound but it soon gave me the slip as I was about to net it, and all the remaining fish were Par.

I lost count after I reached the 20 mark and although no larger fish made an appearance I still thoroughly enjoyed my evening on the river was a Par 20 + scorecard. 

As I waded back to the bank making my way back to the car I stumbled over somethings dinner table.

Either fur or feather they have been feeding well on the crayfish, nice to see a few more taken from the river and long may it continue.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Summer Grayling

Last night was the first real opportunity that I got myself out looking for the fish I love the most, the Grayling.
With them now spawned and back in season there is nothing finer than Grayling on a dry fly.

With the hot weather making things very difficult and no sign of it getting any better I decided to head high into the Dales where I know a head of Grayling can be found where the river runs deep & cool, so just after 6pm last night I headed off for the journey to my chosen spot.

I knew I would probably have the river to myself, after all most English people were celebrating the football win and all the small villages I past through on route there were revellers all outside  the pubs with pints in their hands and football shirts on.

The river was actually in better condition than I had anticipated, the pools looked good and the water was running cool, it was actually nice to leave a pair of shorts on below my chest waders and wade allowing the cool water to keep me in fine fettle.

I sat and watched the river for signs of a hatch before deciding what method to fish and with not much initially showing I opted for running a nymph through the deep pools & it took just over 30 minutes to get this sort of reaction on my face.

The first Grayling on the new season & although not on a dry fly, what a fish to open the new season account.

43cm of sheer delight. That gave me all the thrills and spills of a fighting fit fish, with leaps from the water and deep long runs, I was glad to finally slip the net under her.

Returned as always to give pleasure at another time.

I decided to rest the pool and moved on upstream where within a few moments I was in another fight with a pretty fish, and this one wasnt giving me much slack either in the faster water, a nice Brown Trout.

I had definitely chosen the right time to fish, the river was in good condition, albeit the current weather conditions and nature was showing all its beauty as always with my favourite wild flowers, the Mimulus (Monkey Flower).

I never tire of seeing these wild flowers

I sat at the edge of the river in the late evening sun taking in my surroundings and everything that was going on, the noise of the oystercatchers overhead calling to each other, the sight of lovely wildflowers and the cool water around my ankles as I dipped my feet in the river, it couldn't get more peaceful thats for sure.

I decided to change over from nymph and fish a dry fly for the remaining time down through all the rough water, so a quick spool change and I was tying on my chosen dry to start with.

Targeting the faster water with a buoyant dry I was soon picking off all kinds of species from small Salmon Par, Grayling & Brown Trout par.

A healthy looking river even though the predation that covers this particular section with the cormorants, Otters & Mergansers that patrol its length, it was still nice to see the amount of small fish showing all over the faster water as I waded through it.

The fish only got slightly larger on the dry fly.

With the larger fish staying well hidden in the deeper pools, I wasnt complaining it was lovely to be out and with the earlier success on nymphs everything else was a bonus.

I fished back through the faster water and sat by the pool I had the earlier success on watching for signs of surface movement of larger fish until last light but nothing came of it, so made my way back to the car and headed home a happy man, 2 large fish and over 30 smaller mixed fish how could I not be a happy man.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Easing back in.

As some bloggers would have noticed there has been a distinct lack of fishing posts for a couple of weeks, reason being Karen & myself have been off on holiday cruising as always, this time around the southern mediterranean, including a couple of places I managed to revisit from my days in the forces and a couple of new ports.

I won't bore you all with the holiday pictures but here is a couple that stand out for me.

The Alps still very much covered in snow as everywhere else bakes in the hot temperatures from 36,000ft with Mont Blanc off in the distance.

One of the many canals of Venice taken from the top deck of our cruise ship as it sailed up the centre of Venice's Grand canal.

The saluting battery overlooking the port entrance of Valletta on Malta.

On returning to the UK on Friday with the scorching temperatures and low water conditions the only tactic I could think of to get an hour in was heading out just before last light, so last night thats what I did, heading up the Dale the river was probably the lowest I've seen it in a few years and I knew things were going to get worse with no predicted rain forecast for the next week or so.

Arriving just before 9pm I headed for a deeper pool and was picking up Salmon Par from the off on dry fly, a size 20 olive doing the business, making my way to the head of the pool showed the first Brown trout.

As like on previous low water conditions I found the fish to have a few lice on them, which I helped remove before releasing back to the river.

I continued to get Salmon Parr mainly for the next hour before I spotted a couple of rising trout in another deeper pool hard against the bank. Casting to the first fish it rose immediately and was off in a matter of seconds, straightening the hook in the process.

Tying a fresh fly on I cast to the 2nd fish and on the 2nd  pass it rose and sipped down the fly.

Another fish rose off in the darkness and I could only guess where its location was and after a few casts I heard a splash so lifted into it as I couldn't see the fly in the darkness, this time a much better fish and again after a long fast run the fly & fish parted company, this time the tippet had given up so with no light & my eyes very much not up to tying flies onto tippet in darkness I headed home just after 11pm, satisfied and very contented, a nice session to ease back into things before heading back to work.

Monday, 11 June 2018

A Few Hours

With things happening at home this weekend which took up the majority of my time I was restricted to fishing time, but in the end it actually paid off better than I had hoped for with a good spread of fish throughout the evening and a few surprise photographs which I was more than pleased with.

I headed up the Dale just after 6pm and on route was met with the flock of geese being in the exact location I was hoping to wet my line as there is normally a trout or two lying in under the bushes feeding so that put paid to my opening plans. I moved on up the river leaving them to the cover of the bushes.

There was a good hatch on the river but not many fish looking up and feeding on them, the ones which were actively rising were all small fish and after a few misses I managed to connect with one of the small fish, only to find it was actually Dace which were rising.

With nothing else actively rising on the stretch I decided to leave them to it and head further upstream.

I came across my favourite wild flower, the mimulus (Monkey flowers), nice to see them still growing wild next to the river.

After scanning the river for rising fish I spotted one fish rising hard against the far bank, so a bit of tactful wading was called for until I was comfortably within casting range and I dropped the dry fly almost on top of it and instantly it reacted and I was rewarded with the first trout of the night.

A right little porker with a full belly.

The hatch was well and truly on with various types of Mayfly & Duns hatching all over the river but like before not many fish were taking advantage of the banquet.

As I walked through some long grass I seen a few of the most beautiful creatures dancing around on the stems of the grasses so sat down & see if I could grab a few pictures and these were the results.

Balancing on my Boston hat in all its glory, a male banded demoiselle damselfly.

I managed gently to tease it onto my rod handle before it took to to the wing & flew off.

Damselfly & Jingler

With that over I got back to fishing and it wasnt long until the next trout gave away its position and I duly covered it and another in the net.

With nothing further moving it was time to chill on the bank and take in the surroundings and await to see if anything would start feeding on the continuing banquet of flies which were hatching off.

The thistles showing off their colours amongst all the grasses.

Having to roll my sleeves down as the small biting critters from the long grass were having a field day on my bare arms, to keep me from scratching my arms raw and keep me sane I got back into the river &  I was rewarded with two more trout, one of which did not fancy a photograph and released itself just before I managed to net it, but the 2nd one was quite willing.

A couple of scars down its flanks towards the tail, shows its been through the wars at some point in its life.

As the sun started to set behind the tree further up the bank  and I stepped into the pool before making my way downstream in the direction of the car.

Nothing further to show but I wasnt caring, I was more than happy with the sights, sounds and fish the river had given me tonight.

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