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 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.
I was able to once again able get out to the river yesterday, this time by kind invitation. The river Avon was the target although there was originally mention of the Wylie. I was told by my host that the river keeper who looks after the Wylie for his club had told him that the weed had disappeared this year and that the fish were extremely spooky, after TuesdayI can say that he isn’t kidding. His club also has the last day of September has the last day of the trout season although mine has October 15th has the last day and this on the same river! Why is there no standard? So to days target was Grayling.
We fished two stretches. The first had sections of river that had the appearance of being fishless but the streamy stretches had fish rising. It was simply a matter of working out what they wanted. Has it turned out it was either really small flies size 18 or 20 Griffiths gnats or small spurwings/pale wateries. But the better fish took heavy nymphs, namely the Red Spot shrimp size 14 (always a great fall back) and a pale pink czech nymph. The best grayling came to the Pink fly which doesn’t really surprise me as the bigger Grayling rarely venture to the surface preferring to feed near the bottom unless there is a really heavy hatch such as the Mayflies in May/June. Unfortunately I was unable to interest the really big 2 Grayling that I saw in a section of river that was now more like a canal due to a bank breach during last winters floods which means most of the water is going else where.
The Grayling themselves appear to be taking the beautiful Autumn colours although at the moment this seems to be confined to the larger fish.
The second stretch was a little wider and streamer but the was a section below that was calmer and with visible Browns which my host had told me in the morning were out of season. I couldn’t help it when they took my size 16 hares ear version of the snowshoe rabbit emerger. Nice fish to, one being about 2lb and the other closer to 3lb. The fly also took a couple of grayling while the fish in the streamy section liked the size 20 palewatery version.
Well, all I can say its the Dentists fault I headed south instead of west. I had it all planned, go to dentist the tooth filled and get back in plenty of time to just jump in the car and go. I had the kit in the car, but the dentist was running late, really late and then I was in there longer than expected so I admitted defeat and totally changed my choice of stream. The Wylie is closer by at least 3/4 of an hour, even going on Google maps time (its always waayyy out). So I headed of and found the Wylie devoid of people, had the place to myself. The river was clear and still at summer levels so the fish were really spooky, either that or I was just scary today. Apparently we have had the driest September for a long time and I am of the opinion that because its still hot/warm and the weather thinks its summer so do the trout. They don’t seem to be following normal Autumn feeding patterns and eating everything to get the winter fat on instead they seem to be ‘gone doggo’ and laying up on the bottom with the odd one venturing to the surface. This really cann’t be good.
After a while I decided to move on, I ventured up the A360 and A303 and fished at Woodford for a while. Same kind of behaviour, but at 4ish bugs started to appear in some number which woke the fish up. I had some interest to a cinnamon coloured klinkhammer. Then nothing, so I tried a size 16 rusty para-spinner. Second cast and a nice Brown was on, full finned wild fish.
Its that time of the year when the beautiful mornings give way to hot sunny days. Perfect for romantics and sun worshippers but not for the fly fisher. Its the mornings and evenings which give hope. It was a couple of evenings ago (Sunday) that I got out to start the summer campaign for Trout and Grayling. I visited the Wylie, a small stream which I paid a visit to back in April and caught a fair few. This time was different, a few large Mayflies were still about, a few PMD’s and loads of sedges. A few fish were rising and from what I could see they wanted sedges.
I started off with a size 16 green bodied Elk Hair caddis (should read deer hair) without even seeing the river. I’m sure that with these kind of fishing conditions the hackle on this fly should be much shorter than in the books or else gone altogether. I found the river a bit more overgrown than I remember but no grave difficulties. A small trout took the fly pretty quick, then several misses. A Grayling took a CDC sedge about 2 hours later. The first sedge pattern got most interest, with the odd rise to the CDC sedge but an identical fly to first got very little interest. Why? I am strongly suspecting that the wing was wrong, it seemed to stick up to high. The river was clear after having the early season silt go but still seemed to have a pretty good water level.
Oh Well, back to the vice.
Another day finds me out on the water and its back to the River Wylie. As is happening this season another new stretch is found and fished. I’m slowing making my way around the waters I’ve been trying to get to and now need to get to know them better. It really wasn’t that hard to find as it was on the other side of the road from the last time I fished this river. The clubs that run the fishing on the Wylie have got together with the aim of running it has a wild water with catch and release as the rule. There is no stocking and I hope that this spreads to the rest of the chalkstreams as it appears to improve the fishing. Although I fear that it won’t happen in some places due to impracticalities and some traditionalists who like to kill everything. The fishing on the Wylie centres on its population of Brown Trout and Grayling (for some reason these are larger than those on the Avon).
On arrival I found that the river had cleared a lot since the last visit and was running semi clear making fish spotting much easier. This stretch has only just opened due to the club waiting for the banks to settle after the winter floods which reduces any further damage being done. After a somewhat chilly start, the day soon warmed up and bugs were flying around in fairly large numbers, sedges, olive crane flies and little black bugs. A few fish were seen rising or finning but once 12.30 was hit, the fish really started to move. Considering that it was clear and the fish wild and so called spooky there was no stopping them from attacking the Hawthorn fly from yesterday (lucky I tied a few more last night). Some fish were seen to move a couple of feet to take the fly but what I cann’t understand was why? Why were they so keen on the fly when the naturals were no where to be seen (although they are supposed to be hatching now). All the fish ranged from 4 to 12 inches and had fantastic colouring including a white edging to the fins.
I planned to go yesterday but the weather said no so I went today (I was going today anyway). The plan this year is to explore and find more waters and I’m certainly doing that. I added another section of the upper Wylie to the found and fished list. Actually, I found two but my club has closed the section below the bridge so that it can recover from the winter floods. I also know there is another stretch available close by but that is for another day. Being roughly an hour away from home this could be handy place to go and is actually a nice pleasant small stream (compared to the wide areas lower down the valley.
The stream was rather murky but fish able, not surprising considering it was raining most of yesterday. There is also the factor of an algae bloom caused by the high level of nutrients in the water and the recent warm, bright sun. Very little was hatching off but there were still a few Grannom sedge and large olive about (which I think the fish were taking at the hatching stage). A size 16 dark bodied version of the Snowshoe emerger produced most of the takes with some interest in a Grizzly Mink. I missed or bumped a couple of fish including a nice looking brown. The final tally was 2 nice wild browns and a Grayling, all returned because the Grayling was out of season and the Wylie is also being developed as a wild brown water and all fish have to be released. I love this idea and believe the fishing will actually improve. I also don’t like the taste of trout!
The only downside of today was that the camera got left at home, I rushed out the door and forgot it.