River Whitewater 2022 trout season open day put on ice.

April 3, 2022 at 4:53 pm

A week is a long time regarding the British weather. A week ago I had attended the Farnborough and District Angling Society’s work party on their Hampshire chalk stream, the River Whitewater. There was a good attendance of members, working in the Spring sunshine, clearing banks and removing fallen trees following the winter of storms. Wild garlic was scenting the air, while hatches of large dark olives were fluttering across the river and I looked forward to my first trout fishing outing on the following Friday, Open Day on April 1st .

In the meantime temperatures had plummeted to below zero accompanied by showers of hail, sleet and snow. By midday the frost had been thawed from the grass, with the sun shining between breaks in the clouds and I decided to drive to the river, taking a chance on the weather. I had a new fly line on my reel to try, plus some non traditional fly patterns in my box from Fish4Flies to compare with my own successful early season GH Sedge nymph, Deerhair Emerger and Blackdevil nymph.

Three of the Fish4Flies patterns I was keen to compare my traditional patterns with, were their Pinkey Tungsten Bug, Olive F-Wing and Zug Bug, all tied with synthetic materials.

As I drove closer to the river, the sky darkened with a massive black cloud, but there was an patch of blue in the distance and I parked up. My goodness, there was a bitter wind blowing, what a difference to last week, but I was here now and determined to get my line on the water, walking across the field to a pool that is noted for a few juvenile trout. I started off with my Blackdevil nymph bouncing along the bottom, impressed with the new Sunray 4 weight floating line, which flew out from my seven foot Shakespeare Agility rod with just a flick of the shoulder.

Running the nymph close to the edge along the deep run, the line straightened. A fish! No a branch on the bottom. Oh well, it got my heart racing for a second. Thankfully the branch came away from the bottom and drifted back to me. Picking it out of the river made me realise just how cold the river was. My hands were already frozen and now they were at another level, too cold and numb to try one of my new flies.

Having covered all the lies that have produced trout in the past, I climbed out of the river and walked up to deep a pool with a back eddy. I warmed my hands on a cup of hot tea. I could feel the hot liquid going down to my stomach. Very reviving. Time to try out the Pinkey Bug, casting along the crease of the eddy. This has a tungsten bead as a thorax and hit the water with a “plip” and sank quickly, like a Czech nymph, keeping the rod tip high and watching the line drift back to me. The line straightened. Another branch from the bottom. The eddy was full of them.

The wind was getting up and sleet began to fall. Sheltering under a tree, I checked my watch. I had only been there for 45 minutes, enough time to know that no trout would be caught by me today. After all, April 1st is All Fools Day in the UK and I qualified at this moment.

The weekend was forecast to be even worse with heavy rain and sleet again. Next week? My wife was not surprised to see me home so soon, even a life long optimist like myself knows when to quit.