Couldn't wait to get back on the Cam as the weather had warmed to a balmy 15C with lovely sunshine. Fished exclusively on nymph as nothing rising and not many hatches coming off. Managed two beautifully marked wild Brownies both way down in the water column. Extra weight made the difference to get the fly down.
Bee Fly taking nectar from the Primroses
The trout today were quite noticeably different in markings from last weekend while occupying the same stretch.
Not quite right as Red and I had previously made a quick foray over to the Taff in March but really not worthy of mention as the fish were well and truly in their winter state of hibernation. The Taff a river which has come back from decline seems to be running clear now but still needs some TLC. The banks festooned with Japanese Knotweed interspersed surprisingly with large amounts of discarded scrap metal and plastic. Loads of early upwings (LDO's) coming off in the coldest of March days but nothing taking. I came back across the bridge saddened that if only a fraction of the population queueing to spend their money in the Merthyr retail park realised how lucky they were to have a gem of a valley on their doorstep then that TLC could be realised. Hats off to the teams already working there but they need help.
Anyway this year I will mostly be fishing Avon and Tributaries Angling water. Salisbury was just too far for me to really warrant the outlay and whilst I enjoyed the well manicured banks the feral fisherman in me just wants to get back to the variety and jungle warfare of the local streams. I met up today with Red and Paul who were going to introduce me to some new water. The Wellow was running high so we headed to the Cam Brook. A lovely long stretch in a hidden valley with the brook bissecting mixed woodland and open farmland. The water was clearer than the Wellow and dropping but still in relatively high flow with the hills seeping from recent rains. Sporadic upwings were coming off but all the fish were deep, very deep. Heavy nymphs were needed to find the fish, lifting to induce a take in the odd back eddy or slacker water. I had two nice buttery wild Browns in the net and just a couple of other pulls I could not convert.
Spring had not really sprung but Primroses and Wood Anemones were making it feel warmer than it really was. Interested to find some Common Broomrape on the banks. A parasitic plant that does not require photosynthesis and therefore gives it an opaque, ghostly appearance without the need for green chloroplasts.
Bird life was quite spectacular. At one point I could have been transported to the Forest of Dean with a male Pied Flycatcher displaying and Wood Warbler trilling in the trees. Kingfisher, my first clocked Swallow of the year and Green Woodpecker also observed.
Best shot I could get of Pied Flycatcher with my new waterproof Panasonic Lumix camera.
Spent glorious Friday on Wylye Salisbury beat. Exceptionally warm but a fairly stiff breeze. The beat was dry fly only and no wading so accurate casting from the bank was required. In the breeze plenty of flies went astray and a found it tough to calibrate an effective leader length on such a small river. I found 7-8' was about the optimum on my 7'6" rod. Just the odd rise and most fish I targeted I either got a rise or hooked. Other than that I often saw the flash of a fish just sub-surface and tempted it on my old faithful olive Klink. Caught 4 Grayling and 3 trout, one a really nice size that I thought might be stockie but with good fins had obviously been in the river some time. No Danica but just the odd Yellow May dun. Really pleased, despite the difficult conditions, to have netted some fish.
Spent a few hours on River Chew. The water was low although at the time of writing we are expecting some significant rain over the coming days, so good news. The river did look good though with good water clarity and some lovely clean gravel runs. Luckily the stretch has some fallen tree cover or else it would be tough finding cover in the majority of areas. Bird life busy with Great Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, Whitethroat, Grey Heron and good numbers of Song Thrush. Surprisingly I have not seen the Dipper family on this stretch so far this year. The trout were now well and truly dominant over the Grayling rising into the evening taking the early trickle of Mayfly. Caught on the dry a number of WBT, one Grayling and a few Dace that looked tired and worn out after spawning.
A few hours on the upper Avon in Wiltshire. One of my favourite Salisbury beats - a nice long wild stretch which despite being next to a fishery is quite lightly fished. Even in the mild conditions and with numerous visible rises fish were hard to tempt. Eventually picked up a half a dozen wild ones and one stockie on the nymph. Grayling less conspicuous this time. Fishery packed with still water anglers but no one on the river.
Heavy rain forecast but did not arrive until I'd fished for a couple of hours on the lower Chew. Water levels low and the river was wadeable for long stretches normally out of bounds. Lots of Dace about and some nice sized wild trout. The fish were rising infrequently to pick up Grannoms. Once again the odd Yellow May coming off. All my fish took the nymph. Thundery showers set in and cut my session short.
Spent pleasant afternoon on Wellow today with Red. Cooler but bright with still no significant rain since the season started. The water was low but not as low as the Chew with a cloudy tinge. Lots of algae coating the nymph also suggested that the quality was not perhaps what it should be. I guess with less water in the system concentrations of nitrates are higher. Still the fish were feeding but very wary. It was case of trying to make the first or second cast count as rises quickly disappeared even with the stealthiest of approaches. Grannom and the odd Yellow May coming off. I caught about half a dozen beautifully marked wild trout mainly on the nymph but a couple on the dry.
Kingfisher very active between the high banks. Dipper and Grey Wagtail also made an appearance. Without doubt one of the most beautiful streams in the Avon catchment.