Woke up to a nice crisp frost on the ground and clear skies, which means it wont be long till the centrepin & cane trotting rod makes an appearance again.
Drove up the Dale and sure enough the temperature was -1 on the car thermometer, a nice frost underfoot as I walked to the river, the sky was blue and there was no wind at all, a perfect morning to be on the river in search of Grayling.
The river was dropping after the high water yesterday but was really dark coloured so something with a bit of flash & colour to see if I could tempt the Grayling.
The first two fish were small par and it was almost an hour before the first Grayling came to the net, but worth the wait.
I know one thing the water was freezing, that's the coldest Ive felt this year and it wont be long until a few tricks are needed to keep the eyes of the rod from freezing up.
The morning wore on and the bright sunshine was blinding at times,......yep forgot the sun glasses!
There were Salmon moving up the river in big numbers as I often saw the big bow wave of a fish push upstream all around me and the par were very obliging but the odd Grayling made an appearance also.
A nice size of fish, which got me thinking at the lack of juvenile Grayling that's been around this year, they all seem to be on the bigger side than last year, hopefully a good sign of things to come this winter
Unfortunately we still see damaged fish through predator attacks, and I saw 2 cormorants in the area today, lets hope they concentrate on the stocked reservoirs that surround the dales and leave the rivers in peace.
Just before lunch I felt an unusual take on the flies I was fishing and thought it was initially some sort of debris coming downstream...until it moved & kept going & going & going and within seconds I was down to the backing, up to my waist in freezing cold water with slippery rocks just for good measure and trying to keep connected to a fish that was clearly a salmon.
It finally started to slow which allowed me time to get upstream into slightly shallower water and I knew it would only be a matter of time before I parted company with the fish after all 4lbs tippet wouldnt stretch that far.
I was astonished that after which seemed ages but was probably only about 10 minutes or so I was making some ground on the fish and even seen it a few times as it came up in the water, I was still midstream around the top of my thighs and struggling to find a decent foothold as the riverbed is full of slippery stones and was thinking how on earth am I gong to land this fish, no good trying to get the pan net, I might as well hit it on the head with it the use it would be.
As the fish got closer my arms were aching after all it was only a 5# cane rod I was using and I was starting to believe I would land this fish...somehow.
I managed to get the fish to sit just downstream of me and as it's head came up I seen the fly lodged in the corner of the kype, I reached out to try and see if I could get a hold of the fish and as I touched the fish it bolted once more and the salmon went downstream my line came upstream.
I dont like to estimate fish weights but it was a nice fish and would say high single or low double. I did officially touch it so does that count as a catch....I'm not sure and am sure my Salmon fly fishing friends will say different!
I took this picture just after getting out the water, do I seem downhearted......
Not really I'm just glad I didn't break anything apart from my tippet, I cant see what all the hype is with double handed salmon rods and associated items, all you need is a 5# cane rod with a 60 year old fly reel and 4lbs tippet.....lol, (please no comments from Salmon anglers)
Lunch, a nice hot coffee and a sit down with the local fungi whilst contemplating my next move & with a new tippet attached we got back to some normality and gracefulness with the Grayling again.
Although I dropped four fish before finally connecting with these two almost straight away one after the other in a matter of around a minute or so.
Time was getting on and I wanted to try one piece of water which I had seen the last time I walked the bank but it was too high to wade to but it should be OK today, so spent my last five minutes searching the water as I waded back in the direction of the bank and had another Grayling.
It wasn't long until I was walking down the bank to the piece of water and within a few moments was waste waist deep again and searching out the lovely piece of water I had seen from the bank on the previous trip, it just looked so fishy and within a few moments was rewarded with another Grayling.