Trout river season closes in hope for next year

October 4, 2016 at 2:35 pm

Due to a steady decline in the fishing on my syndicate trout stream this year, I had stayed away, putting the poor results down to too much rain, then not enough; too cold, then too hot, not willing to accept that this once delightful little Hampshire river had fallen off the chart as a viable trout fishery. With only a day left to the season, a warm bright evening drew me back, in the hope that my fears were unfounded.

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This pool looked perfect, clear with a good pace in and out. Standing in the shallows, I cast a favourite size 18 gold head Hares Ear to all the areas that had given me results in recent years without a touch, no small browns, or dace from the shallows, chub from the slack by the reeds and certainly no trout from the centre of the pool. A few small dimpling rises began at the tail of the faster water, as a cloud of tiny flies passed back and forth across the surface. Encouraged I changed over to a size 18 dry Sedge in an effort to catch something. A dimple in this pool once produced a 4lb chub. After a couple of nudges, the sedge was pulled under and a large minnow was catapulted skyward. Only minnows.

Moving round the pool, I made casts up into the faster water with the dry fly, surely this would produce? Although daddy long legs, skipping and skating across the surface, were being ignored, I was convinced that this agitated ripple would raise a fish to the Sedge, the wind allowing me to keep the leader off the surface without any drag. Presentation seemed perfect and my anticipation was in top gear, but again nothing. Back to the Hares Ear and despite a couple of mini taps, which I put down to more minnows, nothing. Last year my final visit had been busy on this pool with good sized dace and a 15 inch brown crowning the evening.

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Moving below the pool, I got back in the river to work the nymph up through the run off, the steep overspill usually stacked with small trout and dace among the weeds and eddies, ready to provide fast and furious sport, as they darted out to seize the goldhead.

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Once again, despite it’s looks, the river failed to raise my hopes, making me wonder whether a pint of maggots would have changed my fortune. I had taken enough mental punishment and decided to try a pool above the road bridge, which has rarely failed me.

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The wind had dropped to leave an untroubled surface, allowing a safe cast of the nymph well up into the flow, as it came round the bend, passing the hot spot beneath the bushes, all without a tweak of the greased leader. The Sedge was tied back on and finally a last gasp Daddy Long Legs, all without even an investigation by a cautious fish.

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This wild brown was my last fish from the pool a September ago, and it is bordering on a tragedy, that the river seems devoid of such specimens. My total tally of wild brown trout this year is just two, both under 12 inches, taken at the back end of this season. Where the rest and the many juveniles have gone is anyone’s guess. Culprits being blamed are mink, pike and crayfish. A fish survey is booked, which could make depressing reading. What of next year? Many members have been disappointed this season and are unlikely to rejoin, although others will be happy to fish for a fresh supply of eager stockies snapping up mayfly, before they rush off downstream towards the Thames.