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.
A new season brings new hope and beginnings, so I return to fishing and blogging after a few months of being busy with work and tying. I’ve been doing the usual big fly order and trying one or two new things (more of that over the next couple of weeks).
After a delay in escaping I finally got to go fishing on the last day of March, slacking I know with the Usk opening at the beginning but alas the kids kept demanding my attention at the weekend and the general feeling of not wanting to drive due to car prangs which weren’t my fault. It wasn’t my usual start, no tiny streams or the centre of Usk. Nope, I found that an old club, MTAA had changed their subscriptions and all I had to pay was for a season ticket. It also covers the Taff which is an improving river and not just trout but salmon as well. With the salmon fishing very poor I’m not going to really bigger with them so the trout should keep me busy.
The day began with my arrival at 11ish with bright clear skies with a quite a bit of fly life about so things looked promising. There was the small detail of river height, it was a little to high for trout and a little coloured so it was going to be difficult. Straight away I went for soft hackles, just because I like them at this time of year and I was more interested in taking it easy. Nymphs will have to wait another day. The first choices weren’t popular with the trout but after moving to the lower section I changed to a different top dropper pattern which I can not remember the name of but looked right.
I will post the pattern another day but it bought me my first trout of the season but appears to imitate the March Brown that I seem to have missed. It was at this point the clouds rolled in and a chill filled the air so there was no chance of another hatch of Grannom sedges. but it felt good to be out. I also had the chance to speak to two other people fishing and was told that the salmon fishing on the Usk was again poor with the Wye also poor (compared to last year which was good).
I’ve been meaning to fish the small stream that I fished last weekend for a while, been trying a couple of years but never got around to it and I finally managed it. The trouble was weekends were a struggle with kids and keeping up with a couple of fly orders and other stuff. Now with most of the fly orders done and the kids either working or doing weekend stuff I now have the time to explore. This weekend was just busy but hopefully will give another opportunity.
I was glad that I finally found this stream and it was ideal for the little 6 foot rod that I got, it looks bigger in the picture on the web site but in reality it small. Size as they say doesn’t matter, it was fun. Exploring small streams, and larger ones for that matter is one of the reasons why I like doing what I do. There is another stream in the same area which I can fish and that may be on the cards next.
Anyway, I managed to get 7 small browns out of the few hours that I fished, I missed a few as well which insisted on splashing at the small flies that I was using. The best flies seemed to be size 16 sedges, like elk hair sedges but without the hackle and a hi-float fibre underwing. As is typical with small streams like this in wooded areas (try forest), there was not alot of fly life but I did see a couple of large mayflies which may have be brook duns. Some spots were so over ground that I wasn’t able to reach them.
Other things I saw during the afternoon was evidence of feeding wild boar (don’t see that very often) and idiot dog owners who cann’t keep their dogs under control. Plus another idiot who forgot his camera otherwise there would be some nice pictures to show.
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 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 have spent the last two days fishing the River Avon trying to get a few last days of the Trout season in before it closes and then its just Grayling that I can go for. Yesterday was a windless and very warm, too warm for the time of year. I thought that the fish just weren’t interested due to the heat and bright sun but thinking about it, I think they can tell that a change is coming. According to the weather forecast there is a change in the air pressure so I am sure that the fish can feel it. There are a few bugs still hatching namely small spurwings or palewateries but I noticed quite a few large sedge yesterday (sorry about the bad picture).
I tried the sedge/ stonefly pattern that I wrote about a few days ago and the Browns were certainly interested but just coming up and having a jolly look although I am sure they were taking it but not with confidence. I put this down to the fishing pressure and air pressure, etc, etc. I did get a few fish on various flies but nothing was consistent.
I spent most of the time fishing this short section because that was where the fish were and it just looked fishy. Has you may detect, there is a change in the vegetation colour.
Today I started fishing just round the corner from yesterday and upstream a couple hundred yards. Totally different, the water was much slower and more clear. I could see the fish feeding, appeared to be nymphs mostly ( a nymph box review is very overdue after the feeding observations over the past few months).
After lunch I moved a few miles upstream to another stretch of the Avon. This time it was a stretch that I haven’t fished for sometime (years to be honest due to it being wrecked by a so called fishery improvement programme. I knew I could wade some of it but as it turned out after making a few enquiries most of it and it is all wild fish with Browns up to 5-6lb. I alas, I only managed a tiny Grayling but the day wasn’t wasted as I had been able to get this stretch sussed.
So, my end of season bash as been fun and now its time to sort the fly boxes and get shot of the stuff that doesn’t work and restock the tiny fly winter box and the nymph box and the various dry fly boxes and all the others.
In my last post before the crazy busy period started, I mentioned that I thought that a hackle-less Elk hair caddis may work better in the low summer conditions. I tied a few in the caddis olive colour which worked the last time I was out. If this works, I will do a few more colours.
I’ve done these on size 14 and 16 Hanak H130BL hooks which I’m giving a try this year and so far I’m happy with them although they are some what pricey so in the Autumn restock I’ll be doing some shopping around.