Soon after I was heading through the dark to my desired spot for the day and as I pulled into the car park everything was eerily quiet, not a sound apart from the distant noise of the river, the temperature had risen slightly and was just above freezing.
As I was walking down to the river I stopped and glanced at the Dawn of another new day and a split second after I took the picture a pheasant flew from a tree across the view and it would have made for a cracking picture as the bird was silhouetted against the distant light.
The river was down on what it had been a few days ago and I knew it would struggle to fish as its almost back to summer levels and the fish arent where they should be at this time, I dont normally say it but we need some rain to bring the levels back up.
For almost an hour and a half all I touched was spunky wee out of season trout which gave great accounts of themselves but this was not what I was after and wanted to leave them alone so after walking away from a pool which normally produces good catches of Grayling I was scratching my head wondering where to go from there.
I walked up to a stretch which I normally fish when the river is holding more water and it was no more than about 1ft deep but I trotted through and was rewarded on the 2nd run through with a Grayling.
Nothing of any size but very welcome after having none of the targeted species for almost 2 hours now.
I stayed in the swim for a short time more and a few more came to the net but even smaller than the one pictured so moved on.
As I was making my way up the river to my next chosen spot I seen a commotion of gulls beside the river's edge and when I got to where they had been seen that they were scavenging the remains of a dead salmon, I think something had beaten them to it as all that was remaining was the head.
through the sparse wood I could make out the outline of feeding geese again in the field so crept up behind the stone dyke and grabbed another couple of pictures.
Fish or not it was just good to be back out and observing everything that nature had to offer, I'm a great believer in that fishing isn't just about catching fish its about all the other elements that go with it.
I heard a few splashes and thinking it was fish rising turned my attention back to the river, only to see a dipper having its sunday morning bath, as it dived into the river had a splash around before back out and sitting on the rock.
I started to cross over the river when I thought I saw a flicker of a fish in the fast pacey water so stood still to see if I could catch a glimpse again & I saw a few fish moving so dropped the float in to see if I could tempt them but after almost 20 minutes all I could see was fish darting back & forward then I realized not 50yards upstream was where I had seen the salmon the other day, could these fish be feeding on the salmon eggs being washed downstream?
This was a dilemma I had nothing to imitate a salmon egg so started looking around and saw something that might pass off as an egg, Rowan berries still hanging from a tree, It was worth a bash so gathered a dozen or so berries and put one on the hook, 3rd trot through the float slipped under and fish on, not what I was expecting but what a fish.
This trout had spawning on its mind but its wasn't for its own kind, his mouth was stuffed full of salmon eggs, clearly sitting downstream mopping up the eggs being washed down in the current from the Redds above. He was slipped back to where he came from none the worse off for his ordeal but I was thinking how much I'd love to catch him on my cane 3 weight in season.
I got another pull on the berries before moving away and giving the redds a wide birth whilst trying to take a picture from the maximum distance the camera would allow.
You can just make out the shape of one of the many salmon that were on the redds, in the centre of the picture., these redds are no more than 10 ft across and as you can see right next to the bank, I was standing on the top of a set of boulders which make up a small waterfall which at present is all but trickling through no more than 2" deep.
I moved off upstream away from the redds and the brown trout & Grayling that were Gorging themselves on the salmon eggs being washed downstream they were clearly intent on getting as much as they possibly could and weren't interested in anything else.
Further upstream I dropped into a long deep run which usually holds some good Grayling but almost immediately saw from the pace the float was moving through that not much was going to happen, it was almost at a standstill, so another move further upstream.
I finally found some feeding Grayling but not at the depth I was expecting them to be at, I wont give too much away, lets just say a dry fly would have been better but I stayed there for a few hours while the going was good and had quite a few Grayling.
The run went quiet again so moved upstream and decided to head for a spot I like to have lunch, so sat and observed the wrens, bullfinches and other birds that were overhead as I sat below the big tree.
As always time out for a picture of the floats with another one of the pins in the cycle of usage.
After something to eat & drink, I dropped into another place where I would expect to find some Grayling and sure enough they obliged.
nothing of any great size but very welcome.
They were starting to get bigger as if the smaller ones were the sacrificial lambs before the bigger fish moved in on the scene.
This fish has been through the war's with some scale damage and part of her tail missing as you can see from the two pictures, I thought I had captured her before but looking back over previous weeks I've caught similar but not the exact same fish.
The best fish of the day followed a nice Grayling at 2lbs 3oz
I continued to catch from the run but had to really dig deep and constantly change tactics to find the feeding fish.
I moved back down to a spot that would see me finish up on before heading back to the car where I stumbled over the claw that my fishing partner a week or so ago Graham had found and we had made comment on,
You can only imagine the size of the Crayfish attached to this. Another couple of fish succumb to the tactics before I finally called it a day and totalled up the tally which I have to say was hard earned today and tested all my abilities to the maximum, 31 Grayling and 6 trout.
A hard but rewarding day and always nice to take in the surroundings, sights & sounds and think how much I'm privileged to be able to continue to fish.