Friday, 16 June 2017

Hazy summer day on the Upper Wylye

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.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Chew preparing for Mayfly madness

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.


Saturday, 6 May 2017

Tough day at the office Wilts Avon

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.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Rain stops play on the River Chew

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.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

April afternoon on the Wellow

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.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

River Chew 2017 home coming ,,,,

First trip back to my local River Chew after many months. Lovely day, warm with light winds. Water incredibly low after weeks of very little rain in the west country. Anticipated a tough time expecting fish low in the deep pools. Just a few Grannom coming off and lots of Hawthorn flies drifting in the verges, no discernable upwing hatch. First fish a nice Grayling and then two wild Brownies taking the dry to my amazement from a shallow riffle under the shade of trees.

I scrambled the banks of my old haunts and the fish were there in good numbers, nothing large but beautifully marked, buttery iridescent wild Brownies. After the initial few fish on the dry the majority of fish took the nymph on the drop later in the day. Lots of small shoals of Dace also tugging the Size 14.

 I really was out of condition, used to fishing the nicely kept banks of the Wiltshire chalk streams, and it showed when I lumbered back into a hole filling my waders! Really pleased the river has maintained its life despite the low water conditions. I ended up netting about twenty fish mainly wild Brownies.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Spring has sprung on the Nadder

Lovely day on Nadder today with Red. Started on nymph and it was slow going to start but once I got the fly down in the fast runs I was starting to connect. Using my 8'6" today and I'm not sure whether I was rusty but I lost several fish not hooking firmly enough. The bites were incredibly quick and were without doubt the abundant small Grayling. As the day warmed up to a balmy 20C the odd wild Brownie start to take the fly.

Lots of Grannom were coming off by the early afternoon and little patches of river began to come alive with rises, mainly from the Grayling but also the odd trout. I soon switched to the dry and had much more positive hook ups catching half a dozen fish off the top. Nice stretch of river with a variety of pools, runs and riffles although lower section had the odd paddler and dog walker.

End of day we headed to Wylye which was incredibly quiet and running quite cloudy. Dry fly only here and with hardly a rise to be seen, or Grannom for the matter, our efforts were fruitless.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Opening day on the upper Wilts Avon

Well its been a long time but worth the wait. Opening day I set out to spend quite a few hours on the upper Avon in Wiltshire on the Salisbury ticket. One of their few beats that allow the use of nymph early in the season probably when you most need it if you want to tempt a fish. Anyway it was a lovely day light breeze but relatively warm, about 15C, and the river was running well, not gin clear but pretty clear. Walking the freshly mown paths a Stoat ran across into the woodland just five yards ahead of me. The bird life was in glorious song and I watched a Sparrowhawk dash through the trees with a Blackbird precariously held in its claws. I had missed these moments of nature, almost as much as the fishing, and it was great to be back. No one on the bank except those looking for leisurely stroll round the stocked lakes.

From the bottom of the beat I made my way upstream casting the nymph at fairly close range as the river is quite confined here. the first few runs produced nothing so I downsized the fly and leader and as if by magic my first wild trout of the season came to hand. I stuck with the little brass nymph and then I hooked a solid lump. After a battle which I initially thought was a stockie I just about netted a beast of a Grayling. I estimated it at near 45cm and over 2lb. Without too much fuss I gently held it in the flow and watched him swim away all coloured up and in the throws of spawning. Needless to say I felt guilty, but privileged to have held such creature in my hands.

I went on to catch many more Grayling, some big, some small, but tried to avoid any shoals I had clocked moving upstream. I caught a handful of wild Brownies and the odd obvious stocked fish. In the moments of real warmth in the sun small upwings began to come off and the odd rise materialised. I immediately switched to the dry and although not connecting tempted several rises from small fish.



At the top end of the beat I was snapped off by a very large Rainbow and watched with curiosity the unnatural behaviour of the stockies ignoring the nymph on the dead drift but chasing competitively in shoals as soon as I imparted any movement. For one moment I tempted myself with the thought of a Damsel which would have cleaned up, luckily for them the biggest fly in my box was a Size 14 Hares Ear. Exhausted but fulfilled I return home, I know its trout season but a PB Grayling can't be ignored!