I decided that due to the Grayling showing signs of spawning on my normal stretch up the Dale I would venture to another Dale today for an investigation to see if the Grayling there were also showing signs of spawning, I had a few options open to me but decided to go for one of the smaller Dale's with a bit of protection from the wind as it would be fly rod only on this one, so I made a couple of calls and the trip was on.
I had barely left home, if I had looked in the rear view mirror I could probably still see my rooftop and I had caught sight of my first couple of Hares this year, in the field fighting with each other, you know spring is just around the corner when you see sights like that. A few hundreds metres more and the Pheasants were all along the lane and as I drove up the hill a couple of partridge flew up the lane just in front of the car, I probably hadn't even driven a mile yet!
It didn't take long to reach my fishing destination for the day, virtually on my doorstep, yet I always venture further up the Dale's when this little gem is on my doorstep almost.
As I was sourcing my ticket I got chatting and the gentleman informed me that it would be tough going, a couple of lads had been up the other day and spent almost 8 hours and not a fish between them, but I had expected that already and had set myself a target of one fish, if I could do that then I would be happy, I just hoped it would be a grayling so I could see if they too were showing signs of spawning.
As I walked up the path along the river the snowdrops were out in abundance.
The first thing I had noticed about the river although being low & clear was the amount of winter storm damage, a lot of trees now sitting slap bang in the middle of the best fish lies, the thing with this small river is the amount of decent fish lies although a lovely river to fish you have to cover quite a lot of non fishable water to get to decent spots and to find that trees and boulders now reside in these spots are a little bit down heartening.
Thankfully one spot I do like to cast a fly through was clear..
At the head of the pool there is a very nice deep run with some bank side cover and normally a fish lying in, so with a simple 2 nymph set up I started working my way up through the pool to the spot I had picked out and again I was not let down as I let the nymphs swing under the cover I felt the line twitch and I struck into a fish. Not the species I had came for as it was an Out of Season Brown trout around half a pound, so it was released to give sport another day.
As I fished and walked I was soon in a pool I knew held some grayling the last time I visited, a long deep pool which is channeled through some stepping stones above it, so I took quite a while fishing up through the pool but with nothing seen or felt. I decided to change over and try a another approach with a nymph and a spider pattern tied on a dropper, so I went to the bottom of the pool and started over making my way upstream. I had gone about quarter way up when I felt a slight pull so struck and the second fish of the day was on, this time I could tell it wasn't a trout this time but the species I had came for....a Grayling.
With some damage to the tail and the flanks similar to what I had seen on the fish from the other Dale, I knew this could not be predation marks as there was virtually no possibility that it was coincidence so these fish in my neck of the woods are preparing to spawn and its time to leave them to their peace & quiet.
I reached the stepping stones and sat on one of the stones watching the bird life, with the dippers, blackbirds and the blue flash of a solitary kingfisher.
Looking back towards the way I had came
I like these sort of places as it reminds me of a small burn I used to fish in my younger days when I visited my Aunt & Uncle in Dunning Perthshire, situated at the bottom of their garden...happy carefree days.
These beautiful fish deserve the peace & quiet they deserve, so with that my season comes to an end and the rods can be hung up for a few weeks.......there is always the chub to have a go at!