The alarm went off at 0600hrs and I looked out the window.......White as far as the eye could see in the low light, as I watched the early morning news and weather I seen that there had been several inches of snow throughout, so with an air of caution I decided against going to the borders, it just wasn't worth the trip with conditions like this so instead it was a trip up the Dale.
I had made the correct decision as conditions were far from perfect, a thick fog over the Pennines as I climbed up the Dale with continuous snow showers.
I arrived at where I normally leave the car and walked in first as the snow was quite deep and I didn't fancy trying to turn around on a hill covered in snow so reversed to where I could park the car safely.
The walk down past the derelict buildings looked quite eerie in the early morning light with the snow covering it.
As I got to the river bank I always like to look and see what footprints have been around in the fresh snow
and mainly in this area was the heron where he has been busy gathering his breakfast, all along the bank there are footprints from him and further down at the edge of the water a couple of crayfish carcasses.
I had decided today that I was bringing the memorial reel I got made & engraved with money my deceased parents left me, I do like fishing with it from time to time and am sure they would agree it wasnt bought to sit on a shelf all the time.
I started trotting the worm down and almost immediately on the first trot it disappeared and fish on, I knew the way it took off at a rate of knots it was a trout and sure enough a well conditioned trout was released to fight another day. The half hour or so brought a further 4 trout before I finally felt the familiar pull of a Grayling.
A nice fish to open the Grayling account with and seems it has been in some sort of fracas with something with several scales missing and on the opposite side the same , no doubt some winged predator. I fished on in the run with several smaller Grayling coming to the net before it went quiet which made me move downstream some way to see if I could locate more Grayling.
The river was in excellent condition for this time of year it was low, not far from levels I seen in the summer and it was clear, I sometimes wonder if it actually fishes better with some colour and a bit more water in it and the best option today might have been the fly rod.
I continued on and picked up another couple of small Grayling before another decent sized Grayling started pulling back.
The snow showers were off and on and at times blowing straight in my face making it difficult to see at times, so decided to have a brew break and on looking across the Dale saw the heavy snow advancing across the wood in the far distance towards me.
The photograph doesn't actually do it the true justice it deserves as I watched the heavy snow advance towards me engulfing everything in a white cloud as it went. It took about 20 minutes to pass over me and I got back to the fishing and another few small Grayling coming to the net before this one.
Again a few further small Grayling graced my hand before things went quiet so decided to find the best shelter I could and have a something to eat & drink. I sat below a clump of small trees where I could see across the field to where the geese were searching through the snow for food, there must have been a flock in excess of 100 birds making a racket at the slightest noise.
Just a snapshot of some of the birds in the field opposite me.
Overhead in the tree branches there were some 20 or so long tailed tits feeding on the remaining seeds hanging on to the trees.
After having a thaw out and watching the birds all around searching for their meals I got back to the fishing and it wasn't long before I got connected with a few of my quarry.
The bottom fish deciding like some had done the other day it was not content with just taking the hook bait but to ensure it got captured had rolled itself around the line creating a lasso.
A short time later after unhooking a couple of trout and some smaller Grayling a slightly better sized grayling graced the net, probably the best from this part of the river as it seemed to be all smaller fish I was connecting with at this particular part.
Things like earlier started to really slow down and it was just the odd medium sized grayling that was coming now & again, I stood and watched around 15 duck flying up the river, looking for somewhere to settle down no doubt, seemed to be a day of watching the birds as so many were around.
I decided to head back downstream in preparation for heading back towards the car. The wind had picked up and the snow was starting to turn to ice and mixed together it was giving my face a good rattling.
I soon arrived back where I had started and decided to give it 10 minutes before heading back home and within a couple of trot through's the fish obliged.
After about half an hour and a couple of small trout coming to hand I gave myself one last cast and half way down the run the float dipped away and the the distinctive pull of a Grayling was felt again, I decided that once this was in the net that would be the fishing over for the day & I would head back towards the car for an early drive home.
What better way to finish off the day with a lovely Grayling like this.
And now sitting back with a sloe whisky typing up the blog another great day behind me with the amount of bird life and fish seen on the bank it makes all the time stood in the cold worth while. I wouldnt have it any other way Grayling fishing probably the best wild fish fishing in this country......in my opinion!