Thursday, 30 May 2013

Uprights & Gnats…

Olive Upright 1

It’s been a strange few days on the rivers.  Monday saw heavy rain and masses of Olive Uprigths (right), which tempted fish to the surface.  Tuesday and Wednesday were dull with a chilly northerly wind.  As expected, Uprights showed up on cue, but joining them were Black Gnats by the bucket load, odd given max air temps of only 12oC and persistent drizzle.  Anyway, I for one wasn’t complaining as these welcome terrestrials turned the heads of some pretty substantial trout.




Initially, trout like this beauty were in the offing as they wolfed down Olive Uprights








A lone black gnat amounts to nothing, yet a whole army of them can make the trout go berserk…




…This bruiser accepted a tiny size 16 black gnat imitation before towing me around the pool…


Monday, 27 May 2013

At last…Black Gnats…


Given a normal spring, we’d generally expect to see black gnats about the third week of April…the 26th to be precise.  This season however, things are a week or three behind.  Some welcome sunshine over the last few days have at last encouraged black gnats to stretch their wings (right).  At times, thousands of naturals littered the water, making it vital to a; knot on an appropriate imitation and b; deliver it accurately.  I had the pleasure of guiding Mark Whitmarsh who quickly got to grips with several gnat feeding trout. 







~Keeping a low profile by kneeling, Mark winkled out a basket of trout from surprisingly thin water~









~Happy as a sandboy, Whitters displays a solid wild trout well over 2lb and his best of the day~


Thursday, 23 May 2013

Grannom…a blessing or a curse…


Those frequenting Dales rivers wax lyrical about the appearance of Grannom (a daytime hatching caddis).  According to reliable sources the trout can go positively daft, making surface tactics worthwhile.  West of the Pennines however, my findings are different.  Come those blizzard hatches, it’s been an uphill struggle.  In fact, more than once this week, finning trout have ceased rising, only to drop down in the water and hoover up Grannom pupae.  This became obvious one afternoon where from a high vantage point, fish could be seen through polariods swinging this way and that to intercept ascending pupae.  A dry fly enthusiast at heart, maybe it’s time I turn to the dark side…a nymph…






At one point, discarded pupal shucks carpeted the river from bank to bank











Adult Grannom doing what they do best…mating.  Over recent years Grannom have increased on many rivers





A haze of Grannom, how the hell do you compete with their numbers…?


Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Iron Blues keep coming:


We’re lucky to be blessed with one of the most distinctive of Ephemerids the Iron blue Dun.  Equating to about a size 16 hook what these inky coloured upwings lack in size they more than make up for in numbers.  Admittedly, hatches might have petered out a wee bit from last week, but there’s still enough about to get the trout excited, including some of the larger specimens too.  Best of all, following the main hatch, duns continue to trickle off, frequently getting ushered into a quiet corner where these larger, secretive trout prefer to lurk.  With a little bit of patience and slice of luck…I managed to connect with a couple of these trout during a recent hatch.







…Nearly there… Leaning on a good fish to keep his head up








~Trout like this are well worth staking out~


Friday, 17 May 2013

A Race against Time:


Tuesday’s rain pretty much scuppered the whole of Yorkshire.  I thought we’d got away with it as levels seemed normal.  However, come lunchtime a few tributaries where pumping in flood water and some fairly mucky looking stuff at that (right).  Scurrying upstream of these offending limbs, thankfully, clear water existed (bottom left on above photo), but with pelting rain, who knows for how long?  Just when you want flies to emerge the buggers delayed their hatch… It was now a race against time before a lifting river would spoil any hope of dry fly action.  Finally, a flush of olives showed shortly before 3pm, encouraging some pretty impressive trout to feed.  Sport lasted a good hour before a threatening spate had its say.  It’s frustrating watching rafts of olive drift by on angry currents the colour of oxtail soup, though several fish had been fooled, including a couple of thumpers…


~Solid trout like this beauty were in the offing, if you looked hard enough~






Despite heavy rain, swallows were working the water, indicating things were afoot











Another cracking trout to the olive CdC dry and one of the prettiest fish I’ve seen this season









~By 4.30 the water had turned a yucky brown, bringing an abrupt end to sport~


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Touch ‘n Go:


Eager to get out and see if the weekend hatches weren’t just a one off, a day of blustery showers really didn’t promise much.  Repeated heavy downpours (right) laced with hailstones dropped temperatures by several degrees, which in my book isn’t conducive to good fly hatches.  And when the magical hour of activity well passed, I was beginning to get worried.  As Ephemerids often do they kept me waiting until gone 2 o’clock…nine minutes past to be exact… With Olive Uprights and Iron Blues bursting into life the trout went positively nuts, treating me to a good 3 hours of intense action.  The often blustery wind that hindered casting also flattened countless duns which became easy pickings for stationed trout.





~First of the day, a fit looking fish~










…The squally conditions kept knocking both Olive Upright and Iron Blues onto their sides.  Swamped at the surface these duns became easy pickings for trout… 







The Iron Blue Cul (IBC) accounted for the bulk of my haul though any trout which snubbed this would usually be tempted up to an Olive Upright imitation


Monday, 13 May 2013

Mass Hatch…


Against the run of recent form our latest spell of nasty weather blessed us with an unforeseen, yet extremely  welcome fly hatch of biblical proportions!  Not only did Olive Uprights treat us with sustained activity, Iron Blue Duns joined in too, making it a day of days.  For the first time this season, numbers of trout where discovered topping in several pools, making those weeks of scratching about a distant memory… These trout literally went berserk, mopping up everything in their path.  Even fish hell bent of targeting Iron Blues couldn’t resist a size 14 CdC dun.  Sadly, a strong breeze blew many duns into marginal scum lanes, trapping them there (above).  And whilst these winged adults perished, many more made it to safety.  Fingers crossed this has signalled the start of our season proper and not before time. 


~When compared side by side an adult Iron Blue Dun (left) is a mere shadow of the lofty Olive Upright (right).  Thankfully this didn’t matter one jot to trout as they greedily snaffled both species~ 



One of a number of larger specimens which pounced on a carefully presented fly
























…Nearly all my trout fell foul of this hackled CdC dun, despite fish often favouring natural Iron Blues…

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Bank Holiday (Iron) Blues…


Bank Holidays are notorious for throwing nasty weather as us and whilst the wind blew, come May Day a light breeze stroked the surface.  Initially, a belt of decent cloud provided enough cover for a flurry of Iron Blue Duns to hatch.  These inky black ephemerids remain a favourite of mine, which seem to be increasing in northern regions.  With duns littering the surface, time to try a new pattern.  Thankfully, those trout sipping down flies were quick onto the concoction of mole’s fur and CdC, giving us a good couple of hours of top drawer dry fly sport.  By early afternoon though a blazing sun burnt off cloud bringing a halt to the hatch.  Though a careful bit of scrutiny revealed the odd fish still prepared to feed and picking our way upstream, we managed several trout to 2lb plus.




~This solid lump snaffled the IBS first cast~











…Another victim to the the IBS…







Iron Blue Cul (IBC):

Hook: Partridge Spider #16

Thread: Danville’s Flymaster 6/0 claret

Body: Mole’s fur

Rib: Danville’s Flymaster 6/0 wine (claret) thread

Wing: Natural CdC (2 plumes)

~A tad scruffy this little tinker had tangled with several trout during a sparse hatch of Iron Blue Duns. That marriage of claret thread and mole’s fur gives a wonderful translucent and segmented effect when wet~


Friday, 3 May 2013

Calm before the Storm:


Yesterday, we were blessed with light breezes and warm spring sunshine, rendering our river valleys (right) a promising place to be.  With forecaster predicting heavy rain, gales and even snow on high peaks I managed to sneak out before the anticipated storm.  The warmth lulled me into fishing a terrestrial pattern and whilst black gnats were absent (long overdue now…)  thankfully, plenty of tiny beetles filled the air and the trout weren’t too fussy.





~Even trout that were nailing olives were quick to grab a #16 terrestrial pattern~






~Big enough to warrant netting, another beauty to the terrestrial~






Picture perfect, with spots from snout to tail this fellow could easily be dealt with by hand