Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The Ladies Rose to the Occasion

As I arrived up the Dale it was great to see the mist covering the land and river like a nice blanket, & I had a good feeling about what lay ahead. It was great to see the usual gathering of hens as a welcoming party, as if I had never been away. The calls of the Snipe have been replaced with the calling of the cock pheasant just the other side of the wall.
As I hobbled down the track towards the river the countryside is changing to its magnificent autumn colours of golds, reds & bronzes as the leaves start to change.
The mist lay all across the surface of the river as I reached it and little was moving.

I started off on upstream spiders as nothing much was happening on the surface and before long was getting tentative takes from the Par.

This year trout par seem to be everywhere on this particular stretch a clear indication that there is not much predation which is a good thing for the future. As the morning wore on all I was getting was Par, I had lost count at how many I had unhooked off the spiders, so it was time to sit back, relax & soak up the atmosphere of everything around and have a coffee.

Out the corner of my eye just under an overhanging oak tree I saw a trout jump clear from the water, was this the sign that the fish were beginning to wake up?
I walked up to a place I could observe the jumping fish more clearly and seen it rise a further twice so took a gamble and switched over to a couple of dries. I had to go walk back downstream then cross over  and come back up to get a cast at the trout & not to disturb it. I cast and the fly had barely made contact with the water when the fish rose & took my dry.

This was the end result.

A lovely trout, almost certain a wild fish of very nice proportions.

Slipped back to fight another day

After sitting for 5 minutes all you could hear all around was the plopping of fishing taking flies from the surface, it was as if the light had been switched on & the fish had finally woken up.

Next in my sights was a fish that I was certain was a Grayling smutting just off the side of an underwater obstruction and after a few casts she sucked in the dry.

The Grayling really are fighting fit and in tip top condition right now, clearly taking on weight before the frosts set in and they go to deeper water.

The next 2 hours saw a steady of flow of par with the occasional Lady thrown in  for good luck all rising to dry flies.

A lovely autumn Grayling caught on dry fly set amongst the bronzes of the fallen leaves, what could be nicer.

                     Off she goes to fight another day.

 And almost instantly another lady takes her place

Just after releasing this fish I cast upstream and hooked a fish which gave me a real run for my money and took me almost to the backing in an instant, Just as I thought it would take me to the backing it turned and headed back downstream past me at a rate of knots, where I managed to get a glimpse of it in the clear water. I had hooked what looked like a torpedo, a salmon & a good one at that, most certain in the 8 - 10lbs Bracket.

I played the fish the best I could on my small cane rod when the inevitable happened the hook and the fish parted company, In a way a bit of relief crossed my face as I just couldn't do anything with the fish in the position I was in.

As I continued to slowly wander back downstream playing things over in my head there was nothing I could do without getting myself wet as the water dropped away very quickly where I was standing and the state my legs are in there was no way I was putting myself in a precarious position, maybe a few months ago but not today.

The Grayling kept coming to the dries and that was more than enough for me, I'll have one of these over a salmon any day of the week, but I suspect a lot of others will have other opinions.

A few more Par came to the net as I decided it was time to start heading back as time was getting on and the rain had started  which seemed to turn things off as most rises had now died away but I managed to grab another Lady before things went totally quiet again.

As you can see the condensation on the lens of the camera, no matter how much I tried to dry it off with the rain it still left a slight smear on the picture.

I lost a further 2 Grayling as I fished it back downstream but I wasn't complaining as the day had started off slow but only improved as the day wore on and if this is the condition of the Ladies now I look forward to seeing them later on as the winter weather grips the countryside again and the feel of the crisp frost under your feet as you walk the dale looking for the winter Grayling on a clear crisp frosty morning........cant wait.


  1. Sounds like a cracking session George.

    I had a go on Saturday afternoon on the stretch you advised me about. It has much better access than where I used to park previously. I fished upstream of the bridge for about 500 yards where it starts to climb, then back down again to just past the bridge. I struggled on the fly as there wasn't much rising, and I'm rubbish at the moment on the wets. I managed a couple of small trout on the float (tut tut). There were two other anglers on the stretch; one was spinning and the other was fly fishing.

    Would you say the upper River (Teesdale) is the better option for Grayling than the lower stretches?

    Tight lines



    1. Glad to hear your still out on the river Dave Glad you found the easier access more to your liking Its swings and roundabouts with the Grayling between the two stretches mate, the lower stretches down past Coniscliffe is more plentiful where the upper river has less but better quality in my personal opinion. I will continue to fish the lower & upper until the really cold weather hits then weather conditions will dictate where I can get to. Tight Lines mate George

    2. Thanks for your reply.

      You're right about swings and roundabouts as I manged to blank at both upper and lower river in the same day :)

      However, all that will change soon as I've dusted off the vice and have knocked up a few of those UTAH Killer Bugs and Sturdy's fancies up. Grayling beware.



    3. Hi Dave,
      You get days like that but hopefully not too many, I have to say I'm quietly waiting for the Grayling to go deeper before trying out the Utah Bugs that I tied up, I've got a couple of other nymphs which have served me well over all the years of fishing for them and are my go to bugs which always seem to get fish.
      Tight Lines mate


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