As I left the shelter of the town the snow fall yesterday had become more apparent as the roads were mainly untreated so with an air of caution I had to proceed along country lanes as the main road is still closed overnight due to upgrading work being carried out.
It wasn't before long I had my first bright-eyes moment...water ship down, rabbit under front wheels, first time in a while but wont go to waste as it will be fed to my friends ferret.
The roads up the Dale were quite bad, clear evidence that the council aren't keeping the roads like they used to and these were main traffic routes through other towns, not ploughed or even a sniff of grit, thankfully it didn't last for too long before I was onto better roads which were treated.
As I parked the car it was still dark over the Dale
It was only as I got to the river that the sunrise peeped over the horizon.
It was great to be back out by the river,to soak in the atmosphere of being out early in the morning and with the snow on the ground it felt right for the Grayling, although I wasn't too hopeful as the river was still quite high and if I managed a single fish I would be more than happy.
If one picture had to sum up traditional winter Grayling fishing for me this next picture would come very close.
Roving around in the snow with a Cane rod and centrepin.
An hour had almost passed before I got my first tentative bite and struck into it to feel the head pulling of a Grayling coming back through the rod, If I could get it in I would be more than happy just to have had one fish and sure enough as it slid over the rim of the net a large smile crossed my face.
Not a large fish but after so long away it was just great to see another Grayling.
And the eagled eyed bloggers will notice what artificial bug it came too, lying in the background.
It wasn't as long a wait for the second fish and the second fish of the day slipped carefully into the net, again falling to an artificial bug on the dropper.
The worm so far hadn't produced and this surprised me after all the amount of natural food that has been passing these fish I thought in the very least that a worm would have taken fish over an artificially tied bug, but I certainly wasn't complaining!
As I watched the float slipping down the run I noticed from the corner of my eye a commotion in the trees and much to my delight watched a male kestrel pluck a small rodent from the safety of the tree roots and was now sitting on the fence post with its prize. I stood and watched without moving for a few seconds as it put paid to its prize trapped in its claws before it took to the wing with prize hanging from underneath it, a truly awesome sight and one I haven't seen in many years and wont forget in a while.
I decided to venture upstream in search of another fishable run and soon found one underneath some overhanging trees and was soon back fishing again, About 15 minutes had past when the float came to a sudden stop then dipped away and I knew instantly what was on the end of the line......Salmon! I hate hooking into these things but unfortunately it does happen frequently and it was soon off on its travels with the line whirring off the centrepin and me unable to follow as it was too deep to wade and I was surrounded by the trees. Thankfully it didn't last for too long as we parted company which I was thankful for but not before it had made short work of the leader I was fishing.
After re-tackling I was soon back fishing and another Grayling came foul of the bug again.
Then it happened Again! another Salmon running ragged up and down the river with me not being able to do much apart from give out line and what seemed like an eternity but was probably only a few minutes the tackle parted company with the fish again.....Thank heavens! I never thought I would ever hear my self say that I'm pleased to loose fish but when it comes to the salmon I am, I have no interest in them and know that its only a matter of time before the tackle parts company with them, and I would rather see them in peace during the closed season.
After another move, hopefully this time to water without any salmon present in the run, I made a decision to fish a run that's difficult to get to but generally produces results with some good fish coming from it in the past, with a trick to fishing it as you hold back quite a bit allowing the bait to slow right down in the faster water and it often works, producing some better fish.
It worked almost instantly on the first trot through, not a better fish as I had expected but it didn't disappoint and showed me its full glory holding up its dorsal naturally for the camera.
Then it happened Again! Yet another salmon take and this time I could follow but had to be careful because of the wading, it took me out of the pool and up to the next one, then just as I thought I was gaining ground on it and it came into a bit of slacker water it made off again back downstream into the pool I had just come from and kept going down over the very fast water and into the pool below, all this time I was loosing line off the centrepin which was beginning to quickly empty and it did, the line gave a jerk and that was it no more on the spool, I tried to make up some ground but due to the awkward wading it was fruitless and for the third time we parted company this time taking everything but the mainline with it.....I do hate Hooking these damn fish!
As I reeled the mainline back onto the spool I contemplated calling it a day as time was marching on but did want to give the pool I had started off in another go, so again re-tackled and made my way back downstream which rewarded me with another fish on the second trot through.
Soon afterwards with no further fish I called it a day and headed home, relieved that I had got out fishing and chuffed to bits that in the high water had managed a few fish, three I would rather forget about but in whole a good day in difficult conditions and a sight of the Kestrel I wont forget in a while....stunning.
As I got back towards the car the farmers niece had been busy in the snow, the first snowman of the year accompanied with its wee dog.
Last night I was back at the Vice as all I can say is that for a Saturday night the television was atrocious and with the weather outside not very good, it made sense to sit down and relax with a whisky and tie up some flies and dream of them catching Arctic Grayling next year.
One of my all time favourite Grayling flies the Supa Pupa, after receiving some from well known author, friend & Grayling angler John Roberts some years ago this fly has accounted for lots of good Grayling for me.
Another take on the pheasant tail dries was this Wyoming half back which I seen recently in a magazine, originally set up with a tungsten bead to fish it in the nymph form but the author often fishes it without as a dry.
Yellow with badger & partridge
and in red with brown cock and partridge.