I had the alarm set for 0600hrs but awoke at 0530hrs probably due to anticipation of getting out and onto the river, I opened the back door and found it to be raining and the temperature was 0'C, too early to check the river levels as they wouldnt be updated for several hours yet so decided it was a go..........after a quick brew and the flask filled I was into the car and driving through the darkness heading up the Dale.
As I pulled into where the car is parked I glimpsed something fly across my field of view & up into the tree, thinking it was maybe a Bat I set about getting waders on, and getting my gear together under the dim boot light of the car, as I was doing so I had a feeling I was being watched so wandered over to the tree.
a wise owl peering down at my every move.
I left him be and wandered off down to the river to see what state it would be in and it was still at the maximum limit I like to fish comfortably but we were here and I was making a day of it.
Daylight started to peer over the horizon up the Dale as I sat down to a cup of coffee by the river watching an injured goose which couldn't fly escape across the river to the opposite bank honking as it went disturbing the morning silence. It was great to be back on the river again and makes you thankful.
As it started to get lighter I waded out to my first chosen run and started trotting a new float I had just completed a couple of days ago for myself, after I estimate about 10 trots through the float dipped under and what happened next I was definitely not ready for.
Clean out of the murky water came this big black kype hooked salmon with my hook visible in the side of the Kype and started to run up the river, it jumped a further 3 times before going deep in the pool above where I tried to follow waist deep in water and I started thinking of a similar incident which happened to my friend Billy last year whilst Grayling fishing on the Clyde where his mate actually filmed the fight & capture, well this set me into fits of laughter and if anyone had seen me they would have definitely thought me mad.
Unlike Billy's fish my 3lbs leader parted company with my main line and off it went new float and all, so if anyone comes across a red 5AAA float with my name on it, its brand new only used once.
After an exit from the river still laughing I set about tackling up again and hoping nothing else would surprise me today as I only had 1 other float of shotting capacity to cope with the flow.
It wasn't long till the float dipped away again and this time it was a small out of season brown trout, which was released in the water and next trot through my first Lady of the day, nothing big but very welcoming.
A few other small Grayling followed in quick succession closely followed by some more out of season trout so time to move on.
As I moved up the river I picked off a few trout as I went and a couple of small Grayling, nothing to big but welcome sport, I was looking forward to getting to one particular run where I had some success in the summer with the grayling on the dry fly & I was hoping some were still holed up there, and sure enough a few trot through's with the float, the Grayling started to come to the net.
I left the run after almost an hour where I had taken 12 Grayling over the space of the time before the run went dead so time to move on up the river.
It was great to see the Dippers and the Kingfisher still on the river, two birds I never tire from seeing and watching their antics.
It didn't take long to find the ladies again a bit further up the river, all being I was not stood just over waist deep in freezing water but to be honest I was quite comfortable and the cold was more evident on my hands than in my waders.
This particular Grayling was to be the heaviest of the today's fish taking the scales to 2lbs 11oz.
I sought a bit of shelter not long after as the snow/sleet started to come down and the wind was chilling so time for a rest and something to eat & drink.
The view upstream of the natures changing colours, always a nice time to be on the river, and the fish were certainly obliging today, and after the snow/sleet disappeared the sun started creeping over the top of the Dales.
The trip back downstream was just as productive as earlier in the day taking fish from runs before it went quiet so constantly moving down till we were almost back where we had started.