Thursday, 31 March 2016

Cause and effect....


The season has at long last got underway .   The 25th of March heralded the new season in on my local beck. Which as long time readers of my blog will know is my preferred opening day location.  It also happens to be the only fishing I have access too that doesnt wait until April first to get going. Its been a long winter, I last cast a line in October last year.

First fish of the season. Small, a bit scruffy looking but very very welcome...



Usually the week before opening day is a tantalising clement period of warmth which culminates in an opening day of cold winds and driving rain and sometimes snow.   This year however the weather gods smiled and blessed us with blue skies , sunshine and a gentle breeze. Butterflies and bumble bees were awake and the wild garlic was starting to lay a heady fragrant carpet under the trees.



The river looked stunning it was clear and at a perfect level.  There was even a small hatch of olives a  at around 12.15 and for an angler on opening day  a more welcome sight than a good few upwing duns skating about is hard to imagine.. Perhaps for an hour they appeared and mostly drifted downstream unmolested . Rising fish were a real rarity but a net result of two fish to hand from four risers seen was on the day and for the few hours fished was a fair result, a size 16 cdc IOBO doing the damage,  The risers were all from tiny pockets in generally shallow bouldery areas, One riser was put down due to a combination of poor casting and the target been in a very tight lie under overhanging bushes, not helped by a rusty casting arm and I confess the best fish seen was  lost due to user error and an over eager strike. Apart from targetting the odd riser  despite searching all the deeper pools and runs there was not a sign of a fish. Nymphs , spiders all untouched.




During the winter the beck has undergone some significant changes , the obvious ones are the landslips, the new obstructions and even the odd new pool and gravel bank left behind by the winter floods.  The less obvious are the sudden large rabbit and greater deer population , no doubt a result of the very large housing development in progress across the fields You could say we have a touch of the watership downs.  Already the bankside areas are showing signs of rabbit browsing . except that is where the young hogweed are coming through.  All  these things , these changes are effects with a cause.


We  have witnessed all winter the ever present cormerants and goosanders on the beck and in greater numbers than ever before .  The worry to me is that the effect is a stream now largely devoid of fish.   I am not naive enough to say that because the river showed little sign of life on opening day then conclusions can be drawn ,  but the beck does not carry a huge head of fish and I do know this small stream intimateley and the very marked absense of fish in good holding spots was difficult to ignore lets just hope that the rule of cause and effect doesnt hold true in this case .  Sadly the steady decline of grayling over the last few years is a fact, the total dissapearence of chub is also a fact as is the now banning of stocking diploid trout , So now we are totally dependent on the future breeding success of the native stock,  lets just hope that authorities have got their facts right and that they have factored in the increasing population of sawbills which seem to be growing fat on a diet of wild trout. Somehow I doubt it.





Sunday, 6 March 2016

Wild Trout trust auction



The Wild trout trust auction is online now,  For the last few years I have been putting a day on with my Syndicate on the Yorkshire Dove.  Heres a few extra pictures of what you can expect on the river. It is a beautiful small stream with a good population of wild fish .  The stream hasnt been stocked in living memory.



Lots of wild brownies to 12 inches with a few larger.


River with combinations of slow pools and fast riffles


Good fly life and beautifully marked fish.  there are also a good head of Grayling . 




Here s the link to the auction:  There are also lots of other great lots on this years auction....

WTT282 1 day for 1 rod, River Dove, N. Yorks, wild trout and grayling fishing


Friday, 4 March 2016

Spring clean

 Although technically still february a week ago the Sunday morning had a real spring feel to it. It was also the day I was due to do the invertebrate monitoring on the local beck. 
Of late opportunities of reasonable water levels have been very few so it was important I took the chance. It was also an excuse to get into the river something not to be ignored.


The recent weeks of continuous high waters have as well as doing a fair bit of damage have also given the rivers a bloody good spring clean. The deep marginal banks of leaves and silt that seem to have persisted for the last few years have been swept away
This area near one of my invert sites was pretty much covered in a silt and now is a lovely stream bed of clean gravel.


Even the kick sample was clean with no fine sediment to kick up and cloud the tray.  Together with little in the way of suspended vegetable matter its cleaner than it has been for years 







The usual cuplprits were there : there were a few of these .  



And a suprisingly large number of these 



And a few of these 




The february sunshine even encouraged a few nymphs to transform in the sample tray. this one didnt get very far, but was interesting to watch and I got to thinking how a few short tufts of CDC would look like the crippled wings below.



This little gravel island was under water for probably six weeks solid and yet these little snowdrops survived unscathed.





Something else to survive unscathed was our new fish pass that has emerged completely intact after a couple of months of constant battering.  Fish were seen ascending the pass before christmas but its unlikely that the redds they cut escaped from been washed out by the high waters. It is  less than a month now to when I will be casting a line here.  It cant come to soon.



Monday, 29 February 2016

Fishing bamboo and heritage in the making.....



Before we go any further its not just your the reader that is fed up of seeing blog posts on a fly fishing blog that dont have any fly fishing in them  but as part of my pre season preparations the following tells its own story....
After 41 years of fly fishing , starting with fibreglass and graduating through graphite and carbon , im6 and all the rest even of late Tenkara I have finally fallen into the dark side. I have long toyed with the idea of a very small stream rod in bamboo , but previousley the moment wasnt quite right .   


Recently though coming across a very heavy albert pocket watch chain that was about the only thing of real financial value that was left to me by my late Grandfather . It made me think, It held no real sentimental value to me and incidentally I cant even remember Grandad wearing  it. But It made me think that it would be good to sell it and invest in something that Grandad would have approved of.  


So the gold was sold and the above was bought . Now when I use it It will be even more pleasurable for the memories it will stimulate .  I spent many a happy hour fishing with Grandad and the rod and reel that he is using there in that photo is still in my position and is truly something I wouldnt part with . 

For those of you that like to know the technicalities of such things its a 6ft 3wt with two tips impregnated cane built on a swelled butt Chapmans blank, Fostors of ashbourne taper.  Built by Chas Burns of burns built rods....and having had a wee play with it down the beck at the weekend I can report it lays a line on the water like an angels kiss....



I am sure he would be pleased with my choice......




Saturday, 13 February 2016

Fly Only :Outstanding service


In the past I have been known to dish out criticism of fishing gear or service when it fails to come up to the mark. So its great to be able to offer praise where its due.
I was in "Fly Only " at Huddersfield on Friday a shop I already had a very high opinion of.  I was over that way on business and decided to drop in and have a browse,  Bought a few things like I usually do. Before leaving  I enquired after a Cortland Sylk line which I fancied for a particular rod .  Now Stuart told me that he didnt stock them but he had a couple that had been spooled and didnt have boxes . " I could have them" he said.  When he got chance he would dig them out for me. So I left him my address with an offer to pay ,  Anyway didnt think any more about it then today these dropped through letter box....





Free Gratis and for Nowt.... Brilliant shop run by a great couple ......