Evening trout rise on urban river

April 24, 2015 at 12:40 pm

Following slow sport on my local Hampshire syndicate chalk stream, I fought through heavy rush hour traffic to see how an evening fishing for the wild trout on a true urban river would compare, parking the van in a residential street just after 6 pm. Walking down toward the river, I was met by a large banner asking to save the meadow which borders the stream, housing development being planned on the last strip of greenery along it’s length for miles, factories and housing already encroaching on it’s banks.

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Opposite the meadow, the river runs 10 yards from a busy road and pathway, which make casting difficult from the bank and I usually prefer to wade, but as this was a scouting mission intending to visit on another day, the waders stayed in the van, as did my 7 ft rod, bankside obstructions forcing the use of a nine footer. Walking to the lower end of the beat,  several small trout were rising and I tied on a Tan Emerger. A gusting wind was blowing across the meadow, dragging the fly across the surface and on cue to change to a nymph, the fly snagged in the welcoming branches of  a tree, which resulted in the tying in of a new tippet for the leader.

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My Black Devil nymph usually works well  in bright sunshine, especially on this clear shallow river and punches into a head wind, as it carries a bit of weight, the leader greased to within the top two feet, keeping the fly close to the surface. Increasing the distance of my casts, up and across the flow, the leader darted forward from an upstream swirl and I was playing my first fish, that tumbled all over the surface, reaching out with my long handled net to lift it to the bank.

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This was the first of several wild browns hooked, some of which tumbled off, as I worked my way upstream, the surface coming alive with the sinking of the sun, although casting to these fish was a challenge, the bankside trees claiming more flies, testing my patience.

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The wind was still strong, so elected to remain on a nymph, but pinched some floatant grease into the body of  a gold ribbed Hares Ear to allow it to fish in the surface film, deciding to walk further upstream, where the bank is clear and factories close to the bank would block the gusts, although with trees overhanging from the opposite side, casting is still a problem. Trout were rising in the gaps and I managed a few more, the best spending more time on the surface than below it, a beautifully marked fish.

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As I netted this wild brown trout, a car pulled up at the road side, the driver calling me over. This a common occurrence along this busy road, from drivers unaware of the fish this river holds. The conversation was no different this time, the highlight being that the driver was from Colorado in the US, working in the UK. Being a keen flyfisherman back home, he had not thought to bring his rods with him. With the light failing, I made my way back to the van, hoping that the next visit to the syndicate water would be as productive.