Its been a long time, to long both on this blog and to the stream. Work as got in the way and I’ve been busy on the tying side of things. Not for myself, oh no. I did a set for someone going for Golden Dorado and I’m currently working a big load of flies for someone (I don’t mind because this pays for the fishing. February saw me at the BFFI, a last minute invite which I was very happy to accept. great fun and another chance to restock the tying table. I also got a new vice which I’ve been very happy about but I’m still waiting for the tube fly jaws.
The season started in Wales on the 3rd of March but the weather was not good… snow. Then I had my usual week of at the end of March but the rain of mega proportions struck so I was tying for many hours. The chalkstreams were very high and over the banks. In places they still are, I saw for myself today.
The above photo was taken when I arrived, the water must be at least a foot higher than normal at this point because on the left where the tree is should be a dry reed bed where the swans normally would be nesting. There was a fair few Grannom sedge about but due to the colour and height of the river I saw no rises, nothing at all (small fish in the case don’t count).
After a couple of hours of sitting, watching and few half harted casts I moved up stream to the West Amesbury stretch.
The river here seemed a little less coloured but was several inches higher than normal. Not so much fly life and still no rises. At about 3 I saw one then a couple of others and all on the far bank. It was at this point I was wished I had fished the Usk or even the Taff but I was still happy to be out. Not good fish wise, there is still next week.
I was thinking today that maybe I should get back to what is important, namely fishing. Other things have been taking my time recently and this post that I started at the end of September proved that my time really had been taken so I had to change the start.
At the end of August we had a public holiday, I knew it would be the last chance for a Monday fishing session for a while so I went down to the river Avon for a few hours. I also had a few flies to drop off. The weather had been hot the previous days and according to the papers the following day the day had been the hottest on record. No kidding! There was very few flies hatching but a few smaller fish (mostly Grayling) where rising. From experience I knew and regarded that time of year the time for small flies. The lack of a decent hatch made things more difficult so terrestrials may well be the key. Most people go straight for beetle but in my case, its ants first.
I have written about this fly before but today it once again saved the day. I seemed to get the best hook ups and takes with a size 18, anything smaller and I had missed fish or long range releases. The fly is simply a large rear red body, a space showing the black thread a red middle and an elk wing. When I got home I restocked thinking I would be out again but alas that was not the case.
As ever I have to get some fishing in when I can, this is particularly true during the week. As ever work gets in the way but this week provided a chance because a site came up very last minute and the first thing through my tired, muddled mind was “I can get on the small streams”. I purposely made sure I didn’t have a works vehicle for this, because if I did that would rule out the streams in the Forest of Dean. First was the easy one, the little stream next to the road on the way home with several access spots.
The first location for this stream is the section that I have mentioned before. Easy parking with a nice big lay by, set up and walk the metres to the stream. Every book or magazine says to wear drab clothes for trout, you try that on the way home from work which requires hi-viz. I might have mentioned this before but covered the day-glow orange trousers with waders. Not today though, the trout don’t care. I parked up, set up and walked down to the stream. According to the sign there is an alert for crayfish plague, so my kit is dying thoroughly as advised.
We’ve had pretty lousy weather recently and I expected the river to be carrying extra water or murky or both. In reality it was summer level and clear, excellent! Making my way along the short stretch I flicked my sedge through to the first gap in the trees and bang, a small trout took the fly, quickly followed by another slightly bigger brown. I moved up stream a hundred metres or so and cast the fly in, so 6 feet away a trout went for my sedge and missed, then missed again. All three would have seen the day-glow orange but took with confidence. So do we really need to dress drab or in camo?
Plans for tomorrow? The Forest was on the cards until the weekend, but work as thrown the spanner in the works again, a change of site Monday means I have to go to the office to give the paper work to someone else who lives close to the site and I have to see some one about a place in the New Forest in Hampshire… First thought is where are the little free streams?
A day after the Wylie it was the turn of the Usk, I decided to fish a stretch that I hadn’t fished before, having rejoining a club on the Usk, one that also enables me to fish the Taff I can also fish for Salmon. Upon arriving I met a couple of other people who were just leaving. They told me that the salmon fishing had been pretty good this year, in deed I actually saw a fish move so maybe I should swap my trout licence for a salmon one to give me the option. Now the issue here is that I have sold or given most of my salmon flies away so a restock is needed.
There were very few fish rising once I got to the river so I took the chance to walk the length which was quite a way. I started down stream and took/lost a fish on a wet fly. This was the one that had proved successful earlier in the season. Still not that much until about 3 in the afternoon when the bugs started to hatch in the intervals between the clouds and the fish rose. Sedges and smaller olives were obvious but the very odd mayfly was also seen but I strongly suspected they wanted the yellow mays. I took a fish on size 12 parachute adams and missed a couple on yellow humpies. Since this trip I have done a couple of yellow may dries (future post). The fish were one of the bigger ones from the river for me so well worth it.
This fish was a beautifully marked welsh tiger. Well worth the drive.
I woke up early again, my body clock still hadn’t adjusted to having a week off and it was now Thursday. It was kind of useful because it encouraged me to get up and go and get a few hours in on the club stretch of the River Wylie. Being really early I found the roads quiet and no one else fishing. I put the sedge from the previous days fishing on my Orivis superfine touch 2 weight and made my way down to the end of the ‘beat’. From there I made my way upstream, on little streams like this I often don’t wade. I prefer to just wear walking boots, in this case a pair that was supposed to be water proof but weren’t, my feet got wet. I then just explore not really caring for mud and other stuff. Its all part of the fun. As I made my way I picked of a few decent Grayling and wild brown trout and losing a few flies along the way. I took all of the fish on the sedge pattern that I started with but very few were left at the end of the session so I’ll be tying some more.
The fly itself is on a size 16 with a body of KRAP dubbing, in this case it was the standard mix, not coloured but I’ll be doing a few with varying colours to match the hatch. The wing is Hi-Float fibres in light dun with elk hair over the top. No Hackle!
As the day wore on the bugs died away during the heat but I expect they’ll appear later when it cools. The rises also died away but I picked a few fish up blind casting. I packed up at 10ish and went home via the record shop.
This day was going to be one of moving around which can be fun and end up with a bit of variety in size of river and hatches encountered. I had been invited to fish with a friend but no idea where we were going. I woke up early so with a few hours still to go and not able to sleep I went to fish a club stretch and ended up on the R.Avon near Amesbury. The day was still cool but I fully expected it to heat up later, the weather had been very hot over the past couple of days with temperatures reaching the 30’s.
With not much clue as to what was hatching I went down to the water before 6am and several sedges were flying around with the very odd fish rising. These turned out to be mostly Grayling with the trout having a ‘layin’. I found that the fish were keyed in on sedges, in particular a sedge with light olive body and a wing of light dun high-float fibre with elk hair over the top. No Hackle. I did manage a trout but not very big with several not to big Grayling. About 8.30 ish it was time to move, the river keeper turned up to cut some of the weed and I decided to go to a nearby cafe for breakfast.
At 10am I met a friend to drop some flies off and waited for my fishing partner, on arrival it was decided to go to the river Wylie. We made our way down the A303 to a stretch I haven’t fished for a while. Fish were rising and so was the temperature, the sedges were about but only in the shade but a few pale wateries were flying about. The sedge from earlier came off and on went a size 18 parachute.
A simple fly but was found to be all I needed, I will likely change the hackle to a ginger variant as I think this hackle is more buggy. As made my way along the stream I found alot of fish spooky so resorted to stalking on my hands and knees which made a big differences with several nice Grayling including one of about a pound and half coming to the net. Then came lunch, many pubs in the area were found to be shut but thankfully one was found near another stretch of the Wylie.
Now came the third stretch of river for the day. Pretty close to my clubs stretch but narrower for some reason. The fish were once again spooky in the clear water and the sweltering heat didn’t help. Has hinted along the previous bit of river there were a few Mayflies still hatching and the fish were after them. A size 14 roadkill wulff did the magic with several nice trout (some not to big) coming to hand. I had miss judged the rod bring with my latest toy, an Orvis 9ft 6 weight proving itself once again. Who needs a rod of several hundred quid when one costing below 200 will do the job. At least the length allowed me to control the line and get over the bankside cover. By 4.30ish the heat had taken its toll and we headed home.
I recently got rather busy but managed to get out a few times, all to the chalkstreams as I was able to combine the trips with dropping flies of. Currently I am trying to fish once a week. This is so that I can make sure that I have time to myself. Mostly I am working or spending what little time with my son and daughter I can. They both work over the weekend so trying to get togeather is difficult at times. Mostly Saturday…leaving Sundays for fishing and with the odd public bank holiday I get to fish. But factors such as dealing with the garden also seem to factor in. Oh, well!
I have managed to get to the chalkstreams, namely the Wylie and the Avon, coinciding with dropping flies off. The Wylie seems to be a favorite of mine during the Hawthorn hatch, which is actually a terrestrial. The little wild browns and hawthorns seem to go well together but that day was cut short when I ran out of hawthorns or rather the apes**it flies which I am now tying on size 12’s with the body going going round the hook bend a bit. They seem to work better.
Next up was the River Avon, I some how managed to time this with a good hatch of sedges. I took a few Browns and Grayling on a green sedge with a scraggy thorax with very fine rubber legs. A couple of busy weekends resulted in missed weekends but then it was Mayfly time with the flies seemingly a little early. The first week the fish were kind of interested but I was only able to catch using snowshoe emergers tied on a size 18.
With each week brings further attachment of fish to the Mayfly and thus a result of me running out of none mangled flies…until next weekend which may also see me on the Usk for the yellow mays and Brook duns.
In the mean time I am happy to announce that once again I will be tying at the Irish flyfair in Galway, Ireland.