Monday, 29 August 2011

A day to remember:

~All smiles as Paul Bagshaw strikes out for a distant stream~ do we get down there...?~


~Salvelinus guide-Roman searches for the killing fly~


Rugby players pride themselves in being fit, burly blokes and Paul Bagshaw (Baggy) is no different. However the true test of a man, is an uphill battle carrying a backpack in blistering heat. That is according to guide-Roman of course, who was intent on walking the legs off Paul and myself. In fairness the trek in didn't seem too bad, probably due to our excited, giddy mood at fishing off the beaten track. Then came the descent, into a narrow, canyon gorge, hundreds of feet below. In truth, abseiling would have been a better option, but no, we did it the old fashion way. Once we'd assembled our rods, it was onwards and upwards. What's uncanny, is how much ground you cover when you're enjoying yourself. Up and up we went as each pool held more promise than the last. Brook trout were our quarry which seemed elusive at first, but come the afternoon they were kind to us and boy, what stunning fish. After scrambling up a series of cascades the stream shrank to a pathetic trickle and yet still we found fish. The novelty of tempting trout in such a place fuelled us further until light stopped play....then came the walk out. Granted it had been a long day, but one that will remain in the memory for all the right reasons!


~Cascades brought many rewards~

~Wee beauties like this made it a day to remember~

~Yes, we encountered trout in this trickle~

~Fishery scientists about to tackle a mountain stream~

The Hills are alive:

When you've negotiated a remote dirt track for a good few miles the last thing you expect is a group of fishery scientist carrying out survey work. In honesty, it's pleasing to see them monitoring both trout and insect populations. Better still they allowed us to wander upstream first, as who could possibly compete with electro fishing methods.....? Aside from this human presence they are wild boar roaming them there hills. Now wild boar have a fearsome reputation, but that's only if you corner them and the odds of that in wide open spaces are about zero. However grassy banks turfed up were clear evidence of their night time foraging actives.


~ Uprooted grass-the remains of a wild boar party!~

Friday, 26 August 2011

~(L to R) Paul Bagshaw, Colin Stevens and Ivan Tarin survey a pool~

All eyes on the evening rise:

With day time temperatures rocketing to 39 degrees centigrade, not surprisingly fly hatches were suppressed. In fact, on low lying rivers much of the day slipped by as I searched for rising trout. Those prepared to fish a nymph or streamer fared better though come evening time, I was in my element. Now those pools and riffles seemed to heave with fish, all keen to feed on emerging upwings and caddis which took advantage of more comfortable conditions. Aside from some pretty impressive trout, we found barbel in a willing mood too. Recognised as a fish that grubs along streambeds for food these could even be tempted up with a carefully presented dry fly and the pull!


~This solid barbel fell to an elk hair caddis~

Thursday, 25 August 2011

~Edging into the mouth of a Canyon~

A spot of rock hopping:

Gary Penning and Martyn Taylor didn't know what they'd signed up for when they first tackled a Pyrenees canyon. What's involved here is you enter a river canyon and fish your way upstream until the other end is reached. This pretty much means scrambling over rocks and boulders in your waders, not easy in warm weather. However, under the watchful eye of head guide-Ivan Tarin, both of them embraced the experience to fight another day and better still, a few zebra trout were encountered on the way. Though it did more than put an edge on their appetite. just as well, we had a table full of goodies waiting for them!


~Handsome trout are the rewards of Canyon fishing~

~Rock scrambling requires a hearty meal by the river~

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

~The boys fuel up for a busy first day~

A drive in the dark:

Due to our flight time, we arrived in the Pyrenees under the cover of darkness. And despite telling the boys the scenery was stunning hereabouts, none of them believed me as we strained to keep our eyes open during the wee small hours. However, come morning and fully charged off a proper breakfast at Salvelinus Lodge, we disappeared into the hills. I spent the first day with Colin Stevens and Paul Bagshaw (below). Now Colin, who has daftness and kindness in abundance (though I'm not sure in which order....?) kept us entertained as we negotiated the narrow mountain pass. These high altitude peaks are a perilous place for many creatures where an unfortunate animal that lost its footing provided a welcome breakfast for circling vultures. Following this spectacle, we headed across the pass in search of spotted gold!


~Colin Stevens (left) and Paul Bagshaw (right) prepare for battle~

~Nothing goes to waste in the Spanish Pyrenees~

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

~A crystal clear mountain stream in the Pyrenees~

In search of Zebra trout:

Situated close to the Mediterranean the Pyrenees might sound like a hot place to be, especially in August. However, such is their altitude that mid summer temperatures remain extremely comfortable. In fact, with all the snow melt gone, it's prime season and we're heading out there right now. Rendered cool and gin clear the Pyrenees mountain streams and brooks are home to many salmonids. Let's hope the weather is a little more settled than here in Blighty and those flighty Zebra trout are looking up for dinner...


Saturday, 13 August 2011

~A sycamore loaded with greenfly~

~This #20 imitation should do the trick~

Blue Winged-Olives & Greenfly abound:

Now, where did the last 4 months go...? I know, fishing and generally mucking about by the river! Lately, we've been treated to modest hatches of BW-Os which have occurred through the afternoon and early evening. Yet, come prime time at last knocking there's been little in the way of any concerted fly life. Greenfly too are currently enjoying an increase. Bad news for gardeners I know, but our native trout love 'em! Of course, dealing with such situations demands a rethink in tackle, involving a scaled down fly. Many shy anyway from diminutive patterns, but believe me they can be worth their weight in gold when trout busy themselves feasting on these tiny pests.


~A male BW-O spinner in all his glory~