Thursday, 19 February 2015

Calling it a Day

I feel very privileged to live in a small market town in the Yorkshire Dales not only for its location but for the wealth of  wildlife right on my doorstep.
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.

and with a flick of its damaged tail it was gone.....
I fished up through to the stepping stones with nothing more, but I was pleased as I had confirmed my thoughts and that's really why I had come, as well as to re-introduce myself with this small Dale.

 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

And looking what was to come.

I fished up through to just as the eye shot disappears and sat on the rocks looking at my next part as it becomes tight and close with overhanging trees and rock faces.

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.

 As I looked to find a place to take the weight off for a sit down and a coffee these caught my eye..........

The first wild daffodils Ive seen this year, fenced off from the woodland behind and sitting on the edge of the small pasture tucked up in the Dale.

After a quick coffee I fished up through and felt another pull as the flies swung around past the rock face, another Grayling.

Not as damaged as the previous one but nevertheless still showing a few small signs. I continued up to a spot I had been looking forward to fishing again only to discover that a large slab of rock now sat right in the middle of the run and a tree blocking the head of the run making it now unfishable, another good spot now nothing more than a glance as you walk past it. I walked another 100m or so before calling a halt as the sides start to close in, and I didn't want to start having to rock hop my way up through to the small cart bridge at the top.

I walked most of the way back downstream with just the odd cast here and there, thinking to myself it was time to call a day not only on today's events but the Grayling season as a whole this year, Ive had a good season and now with the fish showing signs of spawning on my last few trips on different waters its time to leave them in peace.

 I couldn't call myself a Grayling angler if I didn't read the signs and leave the fish alone, but I know others will not see it like that and continue fishing for them until the fish are almost black, I have more respect for the Grayling than that.

A couple of my favourite shots of the Grayling to finish on

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!

Just realized once I had posted this report that this is the

500th Post
 on the Flee & Float. 
Thanks to everyone for the continued support and popping by to read the blog. 


  1. Was watching grayling spawning on the local beck a few days ago, as you say they need leaving to it now.


    1. Totally agree Andy, I had my suspicions a couple of trips ago and people were doubting me, so I spoke to some people in the know and they confirmed it, probably really early due to the extreme mild winter, this trip was purely to see if it was on this river too & it is so I hope people who read the blog & know the areas I fish leave them be now....but you will always get one or two who want to catch a heavy fish......yes heavy with eggs or milt!

  2. 500 interesting posts, that makes a huge difference!

    I realise that everyone else reading this blog knows what you are on about when you use terms such as 'simple 2 nymph set up' and 'nymph and a spider pattern tied on a dropper', but once in a while, so as not to bore your knowledgeable readers, could you throw in a photo of the set up you are using?

    1. Tom for you mate, not a problem. I will add a picture on my next trip out which won't be till probably April now when the brown trout season has started.
      Thanks for the kind words about the 500 posts, I like to try & keep things interesting & light hearted for folk to read.

  3. A nice trip to end the grayling season on George, looking forward to reading your trout fishing reports in the months ahead.

    1. Thanks Brian, it was a good way to finish up the season on a nice wee river. Another Grayling season over...they pass too quickly for my liking...lol

  4. Happy 500th birthday George and here's to the 1000th.
    Still the best fishing blog on the net (pun intended).


    1. Cheers Dave,
      As long as you lot keep reading it, Ill try & keep writing it.
      All the best


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