A small rise brings a big surprise

June 4, 2016 at 10:25 am

A couple of days of heavy rain had coloured up my syndicate trout river this week and I didn’t know what to expect, when I parked up at the bottom end of the fishery this week. From the road bridge, the water had a hint of colour, but mayfly were lifting off, although unusually no fish were rising above, or below the bridge.

I opted to fish upstream and climbing the stile was met by a wall of freshly grown ferns, stinging nettles and young Himalayan Balsam, all untroubled by human feet.

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Wading my way through this chest high undergrowth, the tree lined bank opened up to reveal a short clearing, where I stopped to study the surface. Mayfly were coming off in a steady stream, while grannoms and other flies skittered over the surface, all the ingredients for the river to come alive with rising fish, be it dace, chub, or trout, but nothing stirred. There was a strong north, upstream wind blowing, rippling the surface and beneath a bush, I thought I saw a rise in the surface disturbance. Waiting and watching for a few minutes, the ghostly image of a good trout appeared for a second to top and tail then disappeared again in the ripple.

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I guessed that this fish was feeding on mayfly nymphs, ignoring the flies drifting by on the surface, but decided to try some casts with my attached elk hair emerger, the wind aiding a soft landing each time. Third cast the fly landed to drift a foot, then submerge in a tiny ring. An instinctive lift of the rod connected with solid resistance and the trout launched it’self in a vertical jump, to fall back with a crash that sent it speeding upstream round the corner out of sight, but not sound, as it tumbled over the surface in the shallower water. Pushing the rod out over the river, I stripped back line, bringing the boiling trout back into view, watching it turn to run down the opposite bank. Thinking that I had it beat, I tightened the line with the landing net ready, only for the brownie to rush away upstream, with me following in pursuit. One last lunge for the corner bush sapped the two pounder’s reserves and it casually swam into my lowered net, the fly firmly set in the tip of it’s nose coming free once the pressure was off.

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A strong well proportion trout, more silver than brown, this fish was content to sit in my net facing upstream for ten minutes before swimming free.

I continued to explore this overgrown half mile of fishery, which is neglected by the governing club, making my way to a copse, where I had cut a path through on my own private working party during the winter months. Then a tree lopping exercise along the bank had exposed a fishable few yards and was please to see that it had survived the early summer growth.

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A perfect ending to this tale would have been another trout on the bank, but despite ringing the changes with dry fly and nymphs, the evening ended without another offer and a question mark over the shortage of fish.