Low water brown trout rise to the occasion.

August 6, 2015 at 9:39 pm

Fitting in a successful evening visit last week to my local trout stream, just before a weekend of heavy rain, I was looking forward to a river full of oxygen, pushing through at a fair pace, when I arrived late in the afternoon, but was sorry to see it barely covering the stones.

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Unlike last week, nothing seemed to be rising and I followed the right hand bank downstream, over the stile and into the copse below, where I could see that somebody, probably the voluntary bailiff and his helper, had been busy cutting down the Himalayan Balsam, that had previously blocked the path, although the river was still not fishable from the bank, which made all this effort pointless.

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It was disappointing to think that an organised working party would have cleared the banks in a couple of hours, while also providing a social event for the members. A short email message and the press of a button would have done the trick. Knowing how difficult it would be to fish further down, I turned round and made my way upstream again.

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Reaching the small weir, a fish was rising below the outfall, while another was active in the pool above and I waded in ready to make my first cast of the evening with a Deer Hair Sedge.

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With a tree above and behind me, only short side casts were possible, the seven foot rod flicking the fly between the rocks, casting and recasting to avoid drag, adding line a foot at a time, until the trout rose and was on. Only about eight inches, the little wild brown fought round the pool, before sliding into the net.

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Feeling confident, I waded up to the tail of the upper pool and placed the fly, where the rings had spread. A slight boil, then a take. Yes! A better brown was on, searching out the deeper water, then the roots to the side of the pool. It all went solid. Snagged. I was able to wade up, following the line down with my hand to the fly. The trout was gone, but I broke the root free and retrieved the Sedge. A few false casts soon got the Sedge floating high in the water again, but I’d disturbed this pool too much for any other interest and moved up to the cattle drink.

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A few fish were showing here too, but proved to be small dace again and as I’d caught a good trout between the trees last week, moved up to another once highly productive pool, that only raised a five inch trout parr, which shook it’self free as I lifted it off the surface. The air was now full of dust, as a combine harvester began to work the field to my left and I ducked back into the trees, more in self preservation than to fish.

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Wading up through the shallows toward the tail of a very deep pool, the smooth surface broke with a splashy rise, just beneath the overhang of a bush. Had a caterpillar dropped in, or some other terrestrial to be gobbled down by an opportunistic trout?

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The dust from the passing harvester was now fogging the air and settling like a scum on the surface, as I inched my way along the left hand bank, stopping when the depth suddenly increased, another step would have seen the water up to my waist, too deep for comfort. Pressing hard back to the roots, I began measuring my side casts toward the overhang, when the fish rose again, nudging a spinning fly on the surface, before side swiping it down. Only ten feet away, it should have been easy to place my fly ahead of the fish, but whether I was rushing the casts, or not, the line would not go where I wanted it to go. Probably not enough of the heavier fly line was out of the rod. The line landed in an untidy zig-zag on the surface, the Sedge dropping like a stone, creating it’s own ripple and the fish rose up through the middle of the ring and virtually hooked it’self, momentarily standing on it’s head, when the strike stopped it’s forward motion. It went berserk, tail walking and leaping on the short line, while I struggled to keep my rod under tension. A silvery trout, but not a rainbow, it at last dived into the deep waters of the pool upstream, away from obstructions, turning at the shallows, to head back toward me, drawing the brown back to fight under my rod top, until it was ready for the net.

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This was not a large trout, maybe eleven inches, but it gave it’s all on the light tackle. The Sedge came out in the net and I was able to point the fin perfect brownie upstream, where it kicked away from my grip to sink back to the pool.

Mission accomplished, I was back at the van before 6 pm, this visit giving about 90 minutes of anticipation and a few minutes of heart stopping action. With river levels so low, and the banks overgrown, I have no desire to return for a while, but will try to find time for a late season session in September.