Small river reflections

December 30, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Notified that the first working party of 2013 is in doubt on my local syndicate trout stream, due to field to field flooding, I looked back on last season with the aid of our forum to while away a wet afternoon.

With a dozen of the thirty members reporting their exploits through the season on the forum, some with photographs, it was beneficial to reflect on what turned out to be a very good season for most. Our river is less than ten miles from spring to confluence, of which we have rights to the lower few miles, some of which we share with coarse fishing members of the club. In many places it spans fewer than ten feet from bank to bank, zig-zagging through copses and bordering fields, while supporting a good head of wild browns, many of the larger ones only showing up during the annual hawthorn and mayfly hatches, before sinking back to the safety of the many deep pools along the river’s course.

Each member has three days of fishing allocated each week, either start or end, with Wednesday a non fishing day. Even during the Mayfly hatch it is rare to meet more than a couple of other anglers. All fish are returned to the water, some are gluttons for punishment and give sport to many, while others learn to be more choosy. Seven foot rods and light lines are the order of the day, due in the main to overhanging trees and beckoning barbed wire fences. Waders are a must to be able to reach some of the more impenetrable  pools and even then a successful cast can often be more luck than judgement. Sometimes a feeding trout can only be watched, a cast being impossible. To me, I feel privileged just to be in the trout’s presence, the sun dappling the river as it rushes over the stones at the tail of  a pool, only a few miles from the surrounding towns.

My own season was almost charmed, usually fishing only a few hours each week, I was able to tempt a quality fish on each visit, smaller browns, chub and dace adding to the mix. My best wild fish was spotted feeding hard under the far bank foliage on a September afternoon, a slight dimple of the surface giving it away. A small yellow humpy was flicked in under the bank and taken straight away, resulting in a frantic fight that took me all over the river. This was a fat healthy brown trout of over a pound.


With a few exclusive,  expensive fisheries upstream, some introduced fish drop down into our water. In the last few days of the season, this beautiful eighteen inch brown was chasing minnows, when he took my hares ear nymph.

The week before, the weir pool at the head of  our water offered up a  fin perfect rainbow, again on a hares ear, this being the second in a week from the pool, photographs showing different spot patterns on the gill covers. The take had been a typical rainbow smash and grab, followed by a run round the pool that tested my little five weight, seven foot rod to the limit.

Writing these few words brings back many memories of spring and summer and the consolation that the twelve weeks to the start of a new trout fishing season will soon pass.