Wild trout top a lazy day.

July 3, 2015 at 11:22 am

We English always complain about the weather, whatever form it takes and this week was no exception, with record temperatures forcing us to seek out relief, wherever we could find it. Even a tree shaded walk to the local supermarket for more supplies of salad, had my wife and I wilting in the humid heat, but once inside the air conditioned food hall, we perked up, she deciding to make a carrot cake that evening, while I volunteered to get out of her way, by making a visit to my syndicate trout stream.

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It was still hot as I made my way down the river, noting that since my last visit a month before, the full flush of spring had given way to that more lived in look of early summer. Flies were lifting off, but no fish could be bothered to chase them. Tying on a Gold Head Hares Ear nymph, a  favoured pool saw the leader shoot forward and I reacted with a strike that brought a six inch brown tumbling to the surface on my second cast. Encouraging, but ten more minutes working the nymph through every nook and cranny saw only a short stabbing take from a small dace.

Ignoring the temptation to try more likely spots, I continued on down for half a mile, getting in the river at a large bay, which had always been overshadowed by trees and impossible to fish, but the farmer on the opposite bank had been involved in some severe pruning, opening up the area. Beginning with short casts, I searched out along the banks and in the flow, my anticipation waning with each failed offer. This pool looked so good and I’m sure that during the Mayfly fortnight, it had held many rising fish. Now making long casts, the nymph dropped beneath the bank and an overhanging branch to be sucked in with the tiniest ripple. The line flew up from the surface, as I struck and felt the pull of a fish, that was not a trout, reeling a small chub back to me with a feeling of mixed emotions, pleased that I’d actually hooked something from this pool, but disappointed that it was not a trout.

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Climbing back up the bank, I walked upstream to the next fishable spot, where a side stream flows into the main river. This stream had been heavily coloured earlier this year, but today it was clear  and I waded up toward the confluence, casting as I went.

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I have netted some good trout from this corner in the past, but this season, apart from a brief tussle, I’d been  without a fish. A jumping minnow was a good sign of something larger, followed a minute later by a bulging ripple beneath the surface. Very promising. Measuring my casts, I added distance, until the nymph dropped quietly into the fast water of the bend, retrieving line to stay in contact, as it drifted back, seeing the dull flash of gold, when the line straightened. The surface erupted on contact, not a big fish, but a trout all the same. My 7ft rod bent over, as the brownie tried to escape round the bend, but it would need a couple more years in the river, before that was possible and it turned to face my waiting net.

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Still with it’s parr markings and stand out red spots, this little wild brownie fought harder than any coarse fish twice it’s size. That was all from this once prolific spot and I climbed the bank back into the evening sunshine, the air cooling, making walking in waders more tolerable.

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Back in the river again, I waded up casting as I went, still looking ahead for rising fish, the surface now criss-crossed by scudding flies, but saw none, although the nymph kept me busy missing a few, while adding to my tally, a couple of junior browns, along with another small chub, keeping me interested.

Further up at the tail of a pool, I spotted the tell tale rings of a rising fish, the casual nature of the rises indicating something in the surface film and tied on a size 16 Tan Emerger, wading slowly, until in range. The air was dead still and the cast allowed the fly to drift down to the surface; taking my time to get it right, being rewarded with a confident take. The river boiled, as a better sized brown burst into life, spending more time in the air than the water, gyrating at my feet, then throwing the small barbless hook, before I could get my net to it.

Pondering my loss of the evening’s best trout, my eye went to a disturbance under the bank opposite, a mink was swimming upstream, clambering out over a sunken branch, then continuing submerged, to disappear into the pool. Another one that has avoided the traps.

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Last stop was a deep, tree shrouded pool, where side casts with a short rod can get results, and I made successive casts with the Emerger along the edges, where I expected fish to lie. This drew a blank, so a Hares Ear went on, to be seized in a back eddy by a battling bar of silver, these browns now common on this river.

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With 30 members in the syndicate, it surprises me that I do not meet other anglers on the water, but that is their loss and my gain. There was still plenty of light to fish, but I’d had my fill for a while, with no larger trout taken and I left for home, where a slice of still warm carrot cake was waiting.