I wasnt sure where to start my new season so decided with the recent rain and the river being slightly higher than normal that I might as well start at the top, so that was decided, Updale was where I was heading.
As I drove closer to my chosen spot the black clouds loomed and it started to rain, that was the last thing I needed & I hoped it wouldn't last too long. As I drove to my usual parking spot I found it no longer there and restricted access due to demolition work on the old farm that I used to park in so after a few moments of walking around I seen that the club had found a new parking spot and re erected the parking signs further on from the farm.
I arrived on the river just as the church bells struck 10am. It was good to hear the pair of curlews as they flew over my head and just upstream a couple of oyster catchers were looking for food amongst the shingle.
The river was up and coloured more than I would have liked but after 6 weeks I was just glad to be out. Opting for a nymph & spider set up to start off with as it was still drizzling with rain and very dull so no fly life was moving at this time.
It didn't take long for the first fish of the new season to be in the net, however it was the wrong species. A small grayling in pristine condition.
As I made my way upstream I knew a spot which might produce some fly life if it warmed up a bit as it was sheltered on both sides so decided to head for there, as I fished upstream another Grayling took a liking to my spider before I bumped into another angler who was just setting up. After the normal exchanges of courtesy it turns out we have spoken online to each other on a few occasions via a fishing forum so it was finally nice to put a face to a name, and with that I started to head to my chosen swim as Daren headed off downstream.
The first trout of the new season finally succumb to my spider pattern.
a lovely golden bellied fish although still a bit thin looking gave a lovely acrobatic fight before being netted, photographed and safely returned.
After another couple of small Grayling the sun finally made an appearance and it was time to ditch the waterproof jacket and absorb the suns rays. It also gave me the chance to grab a seat, have a brew and watch the river looking for fly life and sure enough olives and march brown's started to appear so a change over to a dry set up.
It was mainly olives that were the dominant fly on the water but occasionally a march brown would rise up, nowhere near the numbers we used to see on the river.
It was great to be casting the dry fly again and waiting for that moment when the fish would break the surface and take the fly, and it did.
right at the tail end of the fast water the first rise I seen of a trout taking the olives as they passed overhead, so with a couple of passes the trout finally came up and took my artificial off the surface.
As I was making my way back up through the thick vegetation, I was startled by a bird getting out of my way, I hadn't even see it in the thick undergrowth but I know why it was sitting so still until I was almost on top of it.
Who lives in a nest like this and has 6 large eggs.....
I have to say I was quite startled by her flapping her wings as she lifted off the nest and made her way through the low tangle of willows only 3 feet in front of me, I hadn't even seen her as I was transfixed on the river running along the side of the vegetation looking for rising fish. It will be nice to see later on if all the eggs hatch into goslings. I have seen the family of geese on this stretch of river each spring for a few years with their new born so I hope it doesn't change this year.
When my heart rate finally settled down again I covered another rising fish, hooked it and after a short fight lost it as I was about to net it, I wasnt too bothered as it was an out of season Grayling.
The hatch of flies died off just as quickly as it started so I opted to switch back to a couple of spider patterns and it didn't take long for fish to show interest.
a couple of trout in quick succession from the same run.
and another couple of small Grayling a few moments later with a better Grayling around the 1.5lbs mark also coming to the net but it was oozing milk so released immediately.
I met up with Daren as I headed back downstream so a stop for a chat and he also had a few fish to spiders.
Sat watching the pool to see if any fish were still rising I spotted these small forget me not blooming in the sun. Also as I sat a Peregrine gave chase to a pigeon through the woods at speed, he was certainly shifting as he weaved in & out of the trees after his pray which I lost sight of.
With no movement at all I headed back in the direction of the car and fished down level to where it was parked with no further fish but what a lovely day to be back out on the river the assortment of wild life, birds and 4 Brown Trout and 7 grayling fish certainly made opening day a good one.