Urban trout from the bus stop.

May 1, 2013 at 12:01 am

The last day of April was still trying to be spring with bright sunshine glinting off my urban river, but a gusting wind from the north east was a cool reminder of the long winter, daffodils in bloom an indicator that mother nature is on catch up.

A visit the previous week had seen two good trout lost, due I think to my little seven foot brook rod being unable to pick up line quick enough to set the hook in the fast flowing stream. Today I was armed with my Diawa Whisker nine foot 5/6 rod, which has a soft action and is best suited for wind over the shoulder dry fly fishing, but now the wind was in my face and due to no surface feeding trout, a heavy gold head Hares Ear was on the point. I walked to the bus stop at the bottom of the stretch and got down into the clear water, which was deceptively deep and began my wade up stream, casting as I went, keeping an eye open for rises. Last week I lost a good fish under the bank, beneath a tree and got in position for another go, but the wind kept sweeping the leader away from the bank, until finally the nymph dropped in six feet upstream. Drift, a bulge and the line arced round as I lifted into a fish, which burst into life, foaming the surface with spray, before running across the river and downstream, putting a decent bend in the rod and fighting it’s way upstream, the longer rod having more control, easily bringing the heavily spotted wild brown to the surface and my net.

This was a very silver brown with just a hint of gold and no red spots and at 13 inches fought well, this photo being the only one, when it wasn’t jumping about. I put him back in the net and watched as he disappeared against the gravel and swam off. I continued to wade upstream taking an 8 inch brownie, before reaching overhead trees, that made casting with the long rod difficult. I’d had no problem here with the brook rod last week, but now it was time to get out and make my way along the roadside to the next bus stop, where I could see another small brown close to the edge, a few casts above his station and he rose and took the nymph, only to tumble off again.

Shortly after getting back in the river, there was a rise ten yards upstream, the first I’d seen all afternoon, then others further up, as a hatch of olives began lifting off. I was tempted to tie on a dry fly, but by that time the hatch could be over, so kept going with the nymph and was rewarded with a long slow take that brought another fighting brown to the surface, an 8 oz fish that jumped and came off. I could see ahead, several rises beneath a willow and steadily made my way up against the current.

Trout were rising freely now and the trick was to cast beneath the overhanging willow up to the evergreen tunnel without  snagging the nymph. The short rod is ideal for this, being able to shoot a line straight in, while the longer rod I was using, with it’s lazy action was not so precise, the gusting wind, also not helping. Another unmissable take and I missed it. Another cast, a short twitch of the leader and I hit it, launching a six inch trout skyward, which I swung to hand and released downstream. There were now some determined rises ahead, as waves of olives became airborne and my casting became ragged, catching in the daffodils on the bank behind me. Untangled, a well placed cast dropped the nymph gently on the surface and a bow wave swirled towards it, drawing the leader beneath the surface, as I reacted with a sideways lift of the rod to set the hook. An initial splash and the trout charged upstream under the evergreen, stripping line from my homemade reel, while I kept the rod over to the side to avoid the foliage. He jumped, then turned and ran down and past me at lightning speed, the weight of the line keeping contact, until the bend in the rod told that he was still on. These trout are almost invisible in the water and I had a job seeing where he was, as he sped back upstream, jumped and turned again. This was a much bigger fish and expected to lose him, when he began to tumble in the shallow river, a sign that the hook is loose, but once again he headed off and I was able to bring him up and across to my net.

This was a typical wild brown trout, golden green with a smattering of red spots, the fifteen inch fish going well over the pound and contrasting with the smaller trout pictured earlier, that was almost silver. It’s a shame that the net cast a shadow over the trout’s head and ruined what could have been the perfect picture. I returned the trout immediately after this and he swam off against the strong flow. Two good fish in two hours and plenty of offers, bodes well for my next visit to this free fishery among the houses and factories.