Sunday, 17 January 2016

New Year, Changed Rivers and Grayling.

The alarm went off at Oh My God Its early O'clock and I looked out the window as the wife rolled across the bed making sure I wasnt getting back into it, The ground was covered in a thick layer of frost but no snow which was a bonus as I knew only 15 minutes up the Dale had heavy snow last night as friends posted pictures on social media.
The 13th December was the last time I was able to get out onto the river due to constant flooding so I was not going to let a bit of frost or snow put a dampener on the fishing.

I was as yet undecided where to go, play safe and stay close to home or head out a bit further and take a chance on the road conditions, the latter won & I headed for a favourite spot of mine.

I drove through the thick heavy fog till I finally pulled into my parking space and the thermometer on the car read -6C, and it hit me as soon as I opened the car door & got out.

As I walked towards the river I was stunned at the beauty of the snow on the trees etc with no interference from man anywhere in sight, not even a single footstep.

The river was very low, almost at summer levels and crystal clear, I moved downstream to a deeper pool I like to fish only to find it is no longer there, a lot of movement on the river bed has happened over the last month of flooding, where there used to be deep glides there was now 10" riffles, a lot of the deeper glides which I always winkled a Grayling or two from has been filled in, so it was a walk back upstream to another bigger pool and hopefully some deeper water.

I made my way up through the pool but never touched anything that resembled a fish at all, I could sense it was going to be a hard day but nevertheless I was on the river and thats all that mattered, seeing the dippers moving upstream from rock to rock and the blue flash of a kingfisher heading downstream seemed to make things right. I fished hard for several hours and never touched a fish, then finally I was rewarded for my patience, not a big fish but very welcome, although it was a bit touch and go as I went to grab the net from my back where it hangs on a magnet clip, only to find that the magnets had frozen together and would not budge, I had to slip my hand under it and cradle it to the bank, where I then managed to free the magnets.

As I was leaving the head of the pool to move up to the next one, the geese in the field next to me lifted and the sky was littered with well over 200 geese taking to the wing.

Looking back downstream the river looked very eerie in the low light and mist lifting from it.

It was still very cold the tip section of my rod was almost a solid block of ice, I had to carefully run my hand over it to break the ice away as I didn't want to be breaking the new rod on its first outing. I had decided that I wanted to try out the new rod and reels which I had bought last week for this years trip to Finland so with Carbon and modern reels not being my in thing you wont see any of them in the photographs....unless its a monster, which the way things were going today I very much doubt.

I've seen the big tree in all seasons and its as beautiful today as it is in the middle of autumn with all its foliage turning to red & gold.I continued to fish hard and finally a couple of small Grayling made an appearance from one particular pool.

I decided to fish it back downstream as there was no point in moving upstream further so after a bite to eat and a warm brew I headed back downstream.  I fished almost to the point where I had started and after 20 minutes or so fishing through the pool, I finally felt a slight pull on the line and struck, the line headed upstream and I knew it was a better stamp of fish, The Grayling gods had rewarded me at the last minute and I slipped the net under the best fish of the day.

at a tad over 45cm in length it made the last few hours all worth the effort and decided that it was time to head for home.

The frozen spiders web certainly wont be catching any insects today.

Looking back towards the river and before climbing back into the car to find that the temperature was still at -2C, it had warmed slightly if you can call it that, but a very enjoyable day and it was great to be back on the river again.


  1. Isn't it great to get out George, I managed to get up to Dovedale today, it wasn't as cold there but the fishing was equally as hard

    1. Certainly is Ben, I've tied more flies and done stuff I wouldn't have bothered with until later simply because I couldn't get out, so a breath of fresh air to get back onto the river, fish or no fish its great to get out, by the looks of reports from friends today has been exceptionally hard everywhere, so Im blessed with the ones I got.:)


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