Friday, 30 April 2010

~Nervous moments-Richard Tong wrestles a good Don trout~

Don Comes Good:

For months now the Aberdeenshire Don has been plagued by snow melt, causing high river levels. Days ago it finally dropped to something like a fishable level and we winged it up there to hopefully catch some action. The March Browns delivered though admittedly, hatches were short lived and it was a case of trying to capitalise on these. Thankfully, we found a quite pool or two where a handful of large trout sought sanctuary from buffeting currents. These were not easily tempted but through sheer determination we eventually connected with some truly magnificent trout. In truth, hooking such fish is only half the battle as you then have a fight on your hands-nerve wracking stuff to say the least!


~A thumping trout for yours truly~

~Richard displays a stunning 4lb plus Don trout~

Sunday, 25 April 2010

~A newly emerged Large Dark Olive~
Hatches Kick Off:

The settled weather has seen numerous species of fly life awaken from the long cold winter. Although Large Dark Olives have been trickling off for a few weeks now, suddenly, several other flies have joined them. Found on the fast flowing rivers, large Stoneflies nymphs are crawling onto land and emerging into the somewhat impressive adults. It's a bumper year for Grannom sedge too. Richard Tong has reported plague like hatches of these welcome spring caddis on his home river the Wharfe (see photos below). What with all this action, it's difficult to decide on where to fish next? I'm planning a trip to Scotland this coming week. Obviously, large trout will be our focus. However, experiencing any hatch often ranks as the highlight of my day.

~Discarded Stonefly shucks point to recent active~

~A close up~

~Hundreds of Grannom cover a stepping stone (photo Richard Tong)

~Emerging Grannom and their empty shucks litter the Wharfe~

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

~The Meon is an intimate little stream~

The River Meon-a hidden gem:

Following my teaching stint at Kimbridge, I was fortunate enough to spend the following afternoon on the Meon close to Soberton. With the sun beating down and bird song blasting from tree tops, it felt like spring had well and truly arrived. In fact, shirt sleeves were the order of the day!

Full of soul as it wends southwards through the Meon valley this tiny chalkstream is a proper little gem. Wild trout stationed on open gravel runs were more than happy to charge upwards and snatch a carefully presented fly. Nothing larger than 1lb of course, but beautiful wild fish full of spirit. Most came to a #16 Adams parachute fly and the odd fish that stubbornly refused could be winkled out on a small bead head nymph. It's finds like this that make all that travel worthwhile.


~A picture postcard Meon trout~

~A last ditch attempt for freedom~

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

~Identifying potential trout food (photos by John Slader)~

Kimbridge Orvis course a success:

The weekend brought a taste of spring down in Hampshire when we met on the banks of the river Test for a chalkstream trout fishing workshop. With the sun beating down it was a pleasure to teach a group of eight very keen students, of course, assistance from John Slader made things a lot easier. Following a tackle talk and a look at what trout eat, it was off to the river for a discussion on casting techniques, before the all important question-what fly to use? Thankfully, a smattering of Large Dark Olives helped us here and the group did me proud by winkling out their share of fish.


~Talking Tactics~

~When words failed me-sign language helped.....!~

~Steve Davis clutching a nice brownie taken on dry fly~

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

~A hefty 3-pounder in tough conditions~

Basking in Spring Sunshine:

It's nice to feel a bit of sun on your back, especially after such a harsh winter. Sadly my local trout don't seem to share this view and bright days are often a kiss of death to potential sport, particularly when trees are lacking in leaf cover that provides all important shade. However, poking about on a quiet part of the Eden the other day, I chanced upon a big trout feeding mid-stream. Some 20 inches long and a whisker over 3lb, it's fish like this that make those tough days and long walks all worth it. One thing the sun has done, is encourage may insects to awaken. The Eden's population of large stoneflies are now showing and attaining over an inch in length these impressive beasties are more than a welcome mouthful for trout eager to put on weight.


~Large adult stoneflies charging their batteries in the Spring sunshine~

Saturday, 10 April 2010

~The dreaded curse......bright sun~

Testing Conditions:

Following one of the coldest Winters on record for the last 30 years, who could be blamed for enjoying some welcome Spring sunshine? However, such conditions aren't conducive to chasing wild river trout in my neck of the woods. A recent day with wall to wall sunshine saw me scratching about on the river. Seemingly, all the trout were cowering beneath undercut banks. That said the warmth spurred a few midge into life and a handful of trout risked cloudless skies to take advantage. Size 16-20 black Klinkhamers proved their undoing and it was actually pleasing to be casting at a few risers.


~A #16 black Klinkhamer tempted this Eden beauty~

~Ready to be returned~

Sunday, 4 April 2010

~Large Dark Olives punctuate the surface of a smooth glide~

Flurries of Duns between April Showers:

Following the success of Good Friday, it was back to the Eden in search of rising trout. Heavy showers not only put a dampener on things the river had risen ever so slightly too. Thankfully though, just after noon a few LDO (Large Dark Olive) nymphs braved the elements and hatched out into the chilly April air. Where the water slowed, sufficient numbers of winged adults gathered to interest trout. Despite rain nearly stopping play, a good few hours of fun were enjoyed. Ranging from 8oz to 1lb 15oz all fish were in surprisingly good nick. I say that, as I'd fully expected trout to be out of conditions after such a harsh winter.


~A solid Eden trout that succumbed to the CdC dry fly~
~A CdC olive dry clamped firmly in the scissors~

Saturday, 3 April 2010

~Tony waiting for a rise~
~Rich Rewards-A plump 3-pounder for Tony~
Against the Odds:

Good Friday and snow melt running off into the Eden coupled with icy northerly winds aren't the ideal conditions when chasing Spring trout. However, Tony Riley and I found some decent fish against the odds. Admittedly the first few trout were clearly rising to tiny midge though this early in the season, hungry fish will often pounce on a well placed olive dry fly. After lunch we were treated to a show of Large Dark Olives and sport really picked up. For once the cold was forgotten as we were able to targeting rising trout, a real bonus considering the river levels of late. Fingers crossed, hopefully the rain will hold off for Easter.


~Nearly there~
~2lb 4oz of pure wild Eden trout~

Friday, 2 April 2010

~Knottallow on a blustery day~

Cold and Blustery Start to Season:

The opening weeks of the season were dogged with snow melt leaching into rivers and if that wasn't enough, biting cold winds to content with. Anyway a few hardy flies decided to hatch and thankfully there was a handful of trout willing to oblige. Opening day was a none starter for me, as I'd set my mind to catch the first trout of a new season on dry fly. Two days later a brace of trout did respond by sipping down a #14 CdC olive dry fly. The hill tarns too are beginning to wake up and a few hours spent searching the banks of Knottallow Tarn paid handsomely. There's still snow out there and things are yet to warm up proper. But, fingers-crossed, Spring shouldn't be too long in coming now.


~A welcome Knottallow resident on an otherwise chilly day~