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.
The other week I found myself working in an area that would mean that I could fish on the way home. I had the choice of a simple stop one way, to fish a small stream which I may have mentioned before in an area of industrial development. The other option was to visit the Forest of Dean. In the end I opted for the first plan, this was mostly due to the weather being down right wet, this posed the threat that the other streams were in flood or at least high water. I also had something else I had to do. So on a decent evening when I wasn’t to tired and the sun was out and warm I struck.
I pulled into the layby by the little stream in the Stroud area and got the little new rod out tied on a size 16 grey Elk Hair caddis and went down to the water edge. The stream was a little high for the time of year and a milky white. The colour wasn’t nothing to worry about because this is a limestone stream. I made a couple of casts and bang, a little 6 inch Brown with lots of colour, this spot was easy access so I presume it hadn’t been fished for a few days. Good start! I had tried this spot a couple times before and had nothing so I was happy. I made my way upstream, missed a couple then a nice 10 incher took the fly and I was done I couldn’t make it further upsteam because of fence so I went home, I hadn’t realised I had only fished for 20 minutes.
I knew I had saved the best to last, the last day of my week off to fish the mayfly, after the previous few days of chill temperatures mixed with occasional warmth and Wednesdays rain which died of over Thursday. I fished the Itchen, the legendary water which I may have fished many years ago and always thought no chance to fish again. Then I remember the free stretch that runs through the town of Winchester. But this days fishing was by invitation. The mayflies had started to hatch on this river a few days before. The hatch isn’t the same on all rivers, it occurs at different times on different rivers so the chasing the hatch can go on for weeks. The weather promised me that it wasn’t sure what to do but by lunch time it had warmed up nicely, perfect in fact.
Anyway, the mayflies hadn’t quite got going when I arrived. I managed to pick a couple of fish up on the roadkill wulff then switched to the Andelle. Not magic at first but slowly built up over a few hours. My friend admitted that he had hated the fly at first but it had become his best mayfly pattern. I was able to have some fun walking the river and picking of the fish several over 2lb. It was very visual which made it all the more fun. The end of the day I was somewhat tired but happy.
The first trip to the chalkstream for this year was about a month ago, although the season began on the first I didn’t get the chance to get out. With a meeting near Warminster I was able to trap a couple of hours on the River Wylie. I also took the chance to try the new six footer for the second time, an Orvis superfine 2 weight which some how landed in my hands just before Christmas. This was with mixed feelings because of the wind that the valley is famous for but it handled it pretty well with the odd tangle. With the north wind there was big of chill in the air compared to the previous couple of days. The odd large dark olive and midge was seen hatching. Within a minute of getting to the river a fish rose but I thought that I would leave that one until later. The odd fish were seen to rise up too about midway when a few dish was seen to rise, they didn’t look big but who cares, after a long winter off rain, rain and more rain any fish will do! The rod performed nicely and felt good in the hand, I will try a few more trips with it before a write a decent write up. The fish were half hearted to come to the fly until I tried a Piechke Dark Olive which was lurking in the fly box for years and never used. A couple of fish quickly came to this fly so maybe it will be worth a few more outings next spring with this fly.
(note- I wrote the draft for this a month ago but had to edit it for now).
Well its that time of year when I get out between Christmas and New Year (or try to) and fish for Grayling when I don’t have other commitments. It used to be called ‘Freeze your butt off’ but that has gone out of the window this year. So yesterday I paid a visit to the Avon near Stonehenge. The clouds were giving that dull light level and it felt damp but the air temperature was pleasant for the time of year. The river was a nice height but the water was murky apart from the slow fast runs where I could see the bottom (just). A few large dark olive were seen hatching from about 11am with a alot of midges about, they seemed to be in very large numbers at times. The midges that I saw appeared to be a brownish colour hence the reason that the small minkie dry works so well.
I started with one of the nymphs that I mentioned in my my last post and got a couple of strikes but nothing positive. Then I tried another two or three in different sizes with the same result. I really don’t think that the bigger fish were munching. I noticed a few smaller fish moving in the shallower, fast runs so through a nymph or two at them. Then I tried a small dry fly, size 16 or 18 which had a red thread tag, peacock body and blue dun palmered hackle. Strikes came think and fast but I only managed to actually attach to 5 or 6 of the little Grayling. Oh, there’s always next time.
The river Avon
While I was driving home I was thinking over my fishing this year and what I learnt, or didn’t.
This past Monday saw me fishing again, would have gone before but my daughter was over on Saturday and stuff needed doing. what was really frustrating was looking down the garden and seeing the Mayflies dancing, I swear that this years hatch is the best for a long time. If this is the case then I strongly suspect the lack of floods over the winter as something to do with it.
Any way, of I went with a stretch of the Avon in mind that I first fished during the winter but expecting it to be crowded. I got there and no, just one other fisher which was a surprise. Speaking to other members later on I found that there was a consensus that the rivers were quiet for the time of year. The reasons are generally unknown at the time of writting. I suspect work and family though.
Upon arrival I saw the odd Mayfly fluttering over the river which in places was covered in willow fluff. I saw the odd fish moving and so did I, heading up river. Near the end of this section of river I saw a few fish moving. I really couldn’t decid if they were big, normal or small. Indeed the first was small, a brown. The second though took me by surprise. The rise said average brown the grumpy fish pull said otherwise, my biggest Grayling of about 1 3/4lb. I always get my best grayling during the Mayfly but hopefully that will change! From this point I really couldn’t go wrong fishing the Annadel (sp) Mayfly. After a while a also managed a couple of decent browns including one of about 2lb, same fly.
I then moved onto West Amesbury, oh, the hatch here was, I am sure the best in years. Flies and fish everywhere. Now, here is a theory. Each fish seemed to either take, look or not bother when the fly past over while rising steady or with a varied frequency. From this I am thinking that each fish is keyed in on a particular stage of the hatch OR colour within the flies spectrum. I did try the Emerger May with a couple of missed fish but nothing (more on this in a other post, it has evolved!). I took a few more fish including one on a foam bodied lively may although this as now progressed beyond the original it needs a new name. This fish took the fly with such gusto that it made the reel scream as it took of but it ended up being only about a 1 1/4, thought I had hooked something bigger.
I got this shot of a Mayfly thinking it wouldn’t work, what a surprise when I got home.
Until next time…
I have managed to get some more fishing in during the past week but not as much as I would like. The reason for this has been family over Easter and a large fly order. Yes, I know I said a few weeks ago I was going to stop this but an old friend emailed to ask if I would do some flies for the club that he is Head Keeper for. How could I refuse! I had previously tied for said club as well as Stuart when he ran a fishing lodge on the shores of Lough Sheelin in central Ireland. He dangled the carrot of a large order (possibly enough to pay for a flight plus some lodging on Cape Cod) plus some fishing.
Any how, the fishing included a day on the Wylie where the river was pretty low like the Avon with a few fish rising. The fish were still spooky though as it is a small stream at the point where I fished as well as now being a catch and release wild stream.The fish appeared to be going for small sedges and olives so I tried the now standard Grizzle Mink and CDC sedge. Most of the fish took the Mink. The colour of the fish was fantastic with edged fins but not very coloured along the body.
A day after the Wylie I fished the Avon near West Amesbury and despite the chill I still managed to catch. I check one stretch and no rising fish but all of a sudden the fish appeared but this coincided with the wind suddenly getting up and the Large Dark Olives hatching. I spotted one good looking fish which once I got it in was thin, possibly due to spawning. Good fight though, I suspect that if it was in full condition then it may well have hit the 2lb mark. The colouration on this fish was totally different to the the Wylie fish.
The weekend saw a total change with clear skies and a rise in the temperature, as it turned out this has put the trout down as the fishing over the past two days (yesterday and the day before) was dire with no sign of trout so I have had to make do with a couple of Grayling. What I did notice was that sedges were now about so the Grannam hatch soon be coming off soon.