Monday, 3 March 2014

River levels perfect & the fish obliged...for a couple of hours

For once a weekend where the rivers levels have not been sky high, the wind was relatively quiet and that bright thing in the sky called the sun came out from time to time. It was nice to fish home waters again as the Grayling season starts to draw to an end, I decided to start getting my arms back in practise for the trout season so opted to fish some wet flies for the ladies.

I arrived just as the sun was peaking its head over the top of Dale, the weather was OK for the morning but heavy rain and winds were forecast for the afternoon so an early start meant I could get at least a couple of hours in before the usual crappy weather arrived back again.

As I walked down towards the river there was a big cock pheasant sat atop of a fence post & by the looks of him he was still asleep, it wasn't till I was almost upon him that he raised his head gave a look of  despair and took off skywards, with a few of his feathers gently floating to the ground as he took off.

The pair of oyster catchers which frequent this part of the river were calling to each other as they flew overhead, it was good to be back at the riverside on familiar surroundings. I walked down past the memorial tree and it was great to see all the mixture of wild flowers and cultivated flowers mingling together to show their appreciation.

The river was around the normal height for this time of year and running relatively clear in the shallower water becoming darker as it got deeper so opted for a couple of droppers with a point fly to search out the depths.

It was about 25 minutes into fishing when I felt the first bite and was rewarded with my first fish of the day, nothing big but very welcome.

About 5 minutes later a nice Grayling graced the net in the early morning sunshine.

A few fish followed from the same run over the next 30 minutes or so

A few smaller fish obliged me from the same run before the bites finally dried and I was most definitely happy with 14 fish from the first starting pool.

  Most of the smaller fish were of this stamp, beautifully formed and fighting fit.

 As I moved up I took another few smaller fish from runs which normally I wouldnt bother with as they are fast flowing but I had noticed in the previous pool that the Grayling are in the fast oxygenated water at the moment and not shoaled up where we would expect them to be, due to a few reasons, but the main one being they are preparing for their spawning period. Noticing this observation on the first pool  paid dividends so got a little heavier point fly on and searched through the faster water which caught me more fish than I had first anticipated.

Right at the head of the run I had a pluck but missed it so went straight back and it happened a second time would it oblige me a third and sure enough another decent Grayling was in the net.

Again another few smaller Grayling followed then the first trout made its appearance on the scene, nothing big but certainly very fit as it raced around the pool

After a bit of a walk up to the next fast water where on route it was great to be walking through the masses of snowdrops that were out in the early sun and every now and again I would glimpse a few flies beginning to hatch, hopefully the fish would maybe make an appearance on the surface rising to the flies, as there is nothing better than to take a Grayling on the dry fly.

After a quick brew and a sit down observing the a solitary kingfisher and a pair of dippers diving up and down the river at speed, even the Rainbow obliged for a photo.

 Brew finished I eased myself into the chosen fast water and almost immediately was into a fish.

Another couple of larger fish followed as time past
but more often than not it was smaller fish that made an appearance and as before these fish were giving great accounts of themselves, more so than the larger fish and great fun to catch on light gear.

The sleet started to come down just after lunch  and the wind started gusting so I decided to start heading back downstream towards the car as I knew from the look of the darkening clouds the weather predictions had been right and I didn't think it would be much longer before the precipitation started.

A few fish came to the flies on the way back downstream all pretty much the size of the smaller fish from the other pools and I never touched another larger Grayling till I was back at the pool where I had started and after 15 minutes or so was graced with another good Grayling from the waters.

The wind was gusting quite regularly now with force and making fishing extremely difficult and combined with the rain which was getting heavier as the minutes passed I made the decision to fish the next set of runs and call it a day.

After fishing through the runs and connecting with nothing more than a few small trout I decided to call it a day and made the long walk back up the hill to the car and just as I got the waders off and jumped into the car the rain came down and stayed on for the rest of the day but it certainly never dampened my early start on the river and another very welcome outing of the dwindling Grayling season of 2013 - 2014.


  1. That sounds like a cracking day's sport George. You must have been approaching the half century there.

    Did you catch many on your Spiders or is it too early for them?



    1. Hi Dave,
      quite a few came to spider patterns, you can fish spiders at any time of the year its purely down to the fish if they take them or not. I had a few on some new spiders I tied up, I haven't put them up on the blog yet as I've just not got around to it yet but over a half dozen fell to some ghost spiders I tied....watch the blog in the near future for a few pictures.
      best regards

  2. Thanks George

    It's a confidence thing with me fishing spiders in the winter as I'm still fairly new to this river fly fishing lark. I've only just got the hang of river nymphing (I think).

    I'll look forward to seeing these 'ghost spiders' of yours.




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