Monday, 2 June 2014

Holy Smoke....or is it!

I decided after tea last night after watching the news & weather to get a few hours in as the heavy rain forecast could spoil things for the next few days so threw the gear & the new camera I had to purchase due to my dropping the last one in the river in the car and headed off just after 6pm.

I arrived at the bottom of the stretch I had chosen to fish and the first thing I came across was about a dozen goose flight quills, so they were happily put into the bag and will be turned into floats at a later stage.

I started off sitting watching a few smaller fish rise and decided to have a go, I covered them with 4 different flies that I can say are my go to flies on this stretch and not even a look in.

As I was sitting looking trying to see what hatch was on, I happened to look far upstream and I thought someone was having a camp fire in the trees further up the stretch as the air was white with smoke, it was quite far off so couldn't see anyone & thought it may be the travellers heading to Appleby as the Dales are flooded with them at the moment.
I sat for a further 10 minutes as what I thought was smoke came drifting downstream on the light breeze and it wasn't till around 50 metres away from me I suddenly realized it wasn't smoke at all it was swarms of millions of small caenis.

There must have been literally millions of them for me to think that the swarms were plumes of smoke from a camp fire reaching far up into the sky from tree levels, yet on the water there was hardly a sign of them.

I had a look through my fly box and came across a few caenis patterns in size 22 I bought a few years ago from the Orvis shop in harrogate, so spent the next 15 minutes trying to thread the eye with the tippet which I dont want to make a habit of doing as it was sheer frustration, but managed to get there in the end.

I cast upstream over the top of the rising fish I had been watching and up it came.

Like I say not a big fish but having thrown my 4 go to flies over it and it never moved to then put on a tiny size 22 made it even more pleasurable.

I moved upstream still in awe at the amount of caenis that were in the evening air, I tried to take a few pictures but on looking at them they couldn't pick up the white clouds against the evening sky.

I found another couple of fish rising and covered them and sure enough within a few casts up it came and took the tiny artificial.

A few casts later I hit a lovely Grayling and it went off at a rate of knots and I managed to loose it but I'm really excited about targeting them again soon on the dry fly as I dont think there is a finer fish to capture on dry fly and if it was anything like last summers sport it will be very enjoyable.

I wandered my way upstream and took fish from here & there, nothing big but enjoyable and all coming to the size 22.

I turned and made my way back downstream and spotted a couple of fish lying just off the current sucking down something from the surface which I couldnt make out but knew it had to be the caenis so cast over and sure enough up it came and sucked in the artificial.

A right little fat trout and beautifully marked, as always slipped back unharmed after his photo was taken.

I sat and grabbed a quick drink and sat watching the birds out in the evening feeding, the oyster catchers,  a couple of kingfishers darting up and down the river in tandem and this cheeky sandpiper who literally came right up to my feet before taking to the wing.

This just brought home how lucky we are & emphasised why I go fishing, and it purely isn't just to catch fish with all this nature to look at.

I made my way back down to the starting pool and sat for 10 minutes watching a solitary fish rise and like the rest up it came.

Beautifully marked and feisty in the fight makes it all worth while releasing it to see it swim back to give sport another day.
A night I wont forget in a hurry and I'm still in awe at the amount of caenis that were out.


  1. You did well in the caenis hatch George, i've experienced big hatches on loch's before and found the trout very difficult to temp most of the time.

  2. Cheers Brian, It was a sight I've not seen in years and after swapping the fish wanted the artificial.


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