The warmest day of the year brought hopes of rising trout, as I made my first visit of the year to a favourite section of my small river, where it drops rapidly through an S bend, creating two deep pools, that hold large, rarely seen, trout. These fish cruise beneath the surface during the Mayfly hatch, feeding with abandon, only to disappear again once it is over. I’ve hooked, but never landed any of these monsters, their sanctuary being a sunken log at the head of the pool.
Approaching from upstream, a mallard flew up from the shallows, disturbing fish that bow waved back into the pool above, reminding me to keep well back from the high bank and I entered the water, where it rushes out to the pool below.
There was a steady hatch of olives lifting off the water, but with no sign of a rising trout, a good spring standby, a gold head, gold ribbed Hares Ear was tied on and I worked my way up the shallows of the pool, covering the area in front of me, recovering line as the nymph drifted down. The leader V’d back upstream, lift, missed. A good take. Might have been one of the lightning quick dace, I consoled myself. A few more casts and the water erupted, when the hook made contact with a silver sided fish. A big dace? No a rainbow, as it made the first of many leaps in the shallow run. This was not a rainbow, but a bright silver, wild trout of around 10 oz, it’s red spots, the only colouration against it’s pale body, even it’s dark spots seemed washed out.
With this fish returned, I crossed to the inside of the bend and worked the nymph through the deeper water, being rewarded immediately with a firm take, that saw my line arcing across the pool, as another trout sought out the more powerful current and rushed downstream. This brown was slightly larger than the first and fought well to the net. Again another pale fish and slightly tatty with damaged fins, possibly from a mink, which inhabit the river banks in some numbers.
My other trout from this river so far this year have all been pale and I was forming the opinion, that it was due to the river being brown with flood water for months, that had caused them to match their bland surrounding, as with roach in murky ponds. This theory was turned on it’s head, when I hooked a brightly coloured mini trout on my way back upstream.
With no more takes and the air cooling, I walked back to the road content that I’d caught a few fish, while looking forward to better days later on in the season.