Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Last Cast

The river has been all over the place since I broke for holiday making it impossible to get a day out before heading back to work tomorrow so today was the last chance I would get to fish this year.

The river was still very much above my fishable top limit of 0.47m but I had to take the chance even if it was only fishing the back eddies, it would be a couple of hours on the river.

I headed up the Dale just after 9am, no point in going any earlier with the water in the condition it was, so parked up and headed across the field towards the river, 5 cock pheasants, a hare and a heron all sighted between the car and the river, the wildlife was taking full advantage in the lull from the high winds we have had over the last few days.

The flood debris was well up the field with full tree stumps now sitting high and dry since the water has receded.
I headed downstream observing the amount of damage this recent flood has caused to the already eroding banks and best guess it has pushed them back another couple of feet, next thing I knew I was on my backside sliding down the bank towards the water, although a couple of feet back from the waters edge the full bank had been undercut which I failed to see, I landed in the water thankfully feet first and stopped just above my waist which was lucky and  was able to wade upstream  to get back onto dry land, a lucky escape.  The banks being sand & soil mix are constantly moving with the high water, with the decaying bank-side vegetation it hid the bigger problem of the undercutting and by me standing on it this full undercut gave way although I was several feet back from the waters edge.
With the river being this high it still hides a lot of dangers, its just goes to show no matter how well you think you know a stretch you dont really know it at all.

I finally found some slacker water where a large bush was deflecting the water away from my bank allowing for some slacker water and it wasnt too long until my first fish of the day came to the net, unfortunately a trout, not the species I was after. The next 15 minutes produced another trout before the first Grayling of the day which was nice to see and very welcome in the conditions I was fishing.

Nothing else came after this so I wandered the bank looking for another suitable fishing spot. The geese were in good numbers in the surrounding fields.

As I walked  downstream I came across these pair of cormorants sitting high up on a tree, not a good sight seeing these things on the stretch and I hope they dont come back with any friends!

I slipped in again to some slacker water running along my bank and started fishing again and I didnt have to wait too long till the next fish was on, another Grayling.

and in the very next cast, took its mate.

I fished on for around 40 minutes before I managed another fish which turned out to be the best of the day and she proudly showed off her dorsal fin for the camera before she slipped back into the depths.

I had covered the full stretch with only a couple of fishing spots available to fish and with me now being at the very bottom of the stretch decided that was enough, so made my way back just as more geese decided to come into land over my head.

a nice couple of hours in high water where I wasnt really expecting much so the Grayling and couple of Trout were a bonus, as I was heading up the bank away from the water the bank collapsed again and for the 2nd time I was on my backside, thankfully not in the water this time, the banks are so soft they are just crumbling so please if anyone is out in the next few days, take care!

Well thats me for 2016 I wont get the chance to get back out but I've had a good year and if you dio get a last trip out before the new year then I wish you tight lines.


  1. Good to get out if anything. I've seen hordes of cormorants on the river tees this year which is sad to see. I've also struggled to get consistent grayling catches, managing a few each time rather than finding any shoals

    1. I concur james when up on the Tees there are far more than down here on this river, they are harvesting on the reservoirs and dropping down onto the rivers to roost or when the reservoirs are busy, each time I've been up above Eggleston I've seen 5 or 6 of the damn things. The catches have been difficult this season as the weather has not been cold enough for the fish to shoal up and they are still spread far & wide in places they shouldnt be at this time of year.

  2. Do you think that photo of the 4th grayling might be a youngish male?

    1. Its quite difficult to tell on juvenile fish, as they are not fully matured & the dead giveaway for a Mature Grayling is the Dorsal fin. My best guess would be yes it is a juvenile fish if you look at the back end of the dorsal it is more straight where a female in more rounded, here is the link to some research done on juvenile Grayling for your reference:


  3. George look like you had a good finish to the 2016 season.
    Good luck in 2017.

    1. Thanks Alan all the best to you in 2017


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