Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Champagne Fishing

As I'd been working in Preston the other day & the weather had been good I decided to swing by the river on my way home, I'd alerted Tom to the possibillity of a session so knew he'd have lugged his waders to work. I got to the water first so tried the nice beat Tom got the Lunker on the previous week - a few fish were rising so I put a gnat amongst them & bagged this beauty!

Tom rang shortly after so I bobbed down to the pub to meet up, after showing him the picture of this fish we bolted our pints and headed off for what would hopefully be a top evening of sport. Decided on wading a fairly new stretch(approx 1/4 mile) slowly making our way upstream with dries putting them on all the spots we could see trout holding. We had some great action, hooking into fish all the way along the length - the brownie pictured below being the best of the bunch.

After grabbing some dinner (raided the folks kitchen as no one was home) we headed further upstream to see if we could spot any big trout lurking. Wandering up through the fields I came across my old friend PA who I first started fly fishing with on the river some 15 years ago, after a good chat about all the trout holding places we know, it seems we've been catching the same fish this season! - what a great argument for catch & release.

There was one spot a good walk upriver where PA told me he'd been snapped by a good fish a few nights back, by this time it had started to get dark so on reaching the pool I tied on a comparadun which I could just about see with its white hackle in the dusk. I located a fish a few inches from the far bank undergrowth where it was just sipping off the surface & after sticking the fly in the foliage a couple times I got a nice drift past its nose & hooked into a steamtrain of a fish (pic below).
Walking back through the fields I came across a frantic Tom hooked into another good fish, as he was about 6ft above the water & stuck between two bushes it was a good job we turned up to help get a net on it.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Trophy trout day

After the heavy down pours over the last few days I wasn't sure what state the river would be in on Sunday as it tends to be quite a flashy river but, plans had been made to get out, so with the lack of a river report(usually courtesy of the folks) I set out with Tom anyway.
On arriving things were looking OK, the level was up & coloured, but not too much - I think this is probably because it's been so dry of late the parched earth had soaked up much of the run off.

Being a true gent I put Tom onto a killer riffle at the head of a glide that I knew was holding a few fish & pretty much strait away he was into a nice brownie. After a good struggle & the usual acrobatics to be expected from these wildies a jubilant Tom was on the bank posing with a real cracker of a fish.

The fish took a humpy - a fly that's proving to be a real winner this season.
Wandering upstream we came across a good fish just sat in the current sipping flies off the surface, I approached this one & creeping up the bank managed to put my fly a couple of foot in front of it's nose... sure enough the fish took the fly and I was connected to a big brownie. The trout jumped a couple of times revealing huge buttery coloured flanks before tearing off down stream & snapping my tippet.

Gutted but undeterred I spotted another trout sipping down flies below the far bank undergrowth. I couldn't quite get a fly to it, so donned the waders to get a better cast & next time it rose I drifted my fly past where it was holding & was rewarded with a beautiful browie.

As forecast the rain started mid afternoon & although a few fish were still rising, mainly under overhanging trees, we decided to call it a day and head for the boozer.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Summer is Here

Had a great May so far - the trees are green and lush, there's insects everywhere, it's light till nearly ten & the trout are readily taking dries. Went up to the river after work yesterday & thankfully remembered the gink this time so I didn't have to keep changing the bloody fly every fish. There were huge swarms of midges about so I stuck on a black gnat with big CDC wings that were really visible through the riffles. It didn't take long for the fish to have a go.The two trout pictured were taken from the same stretch, are roughly the same size but, are a totally different colour - not sure why?

I had a couple more nice fish walking upstream to a point where the river is culverted between high stone walls making it difficult to cast down without spooking them but, I could see fish rising... well, temptation got the better of me, so waderless I ploughed in upsteam in my jeans to get a cast at the leviathan (pictured below).

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Tarn Trout

With the cracking weather were having for April, decided to have a bash at one of the Lake District Tarns on Saturday, so after agreeing pre-beers on Friday that we'd set off 1st thing, we finally left Manchester at lunch. The journey up was jam free & we were in the pub a couple of hours later having a swift one prior to the stomp up the fells.

Although only a relatively short drive from Manchester the Lakes feel a million miles away & they always remind you that its well worth the effort to get up there, the scenery more than makes up for the lung-busting hike(pic is of Tom having a breather on route).
Upon reaching the Tarn we were encouraged by a few fish rising & closer inspection revealed a hatch of Olives taking place, so we ginked up a couple of Humpy's & cast to the rising trout, the buoyant flies were sitting up perfectly in the ripple.

It didn't take too long for a trout to rise to the fly but, being a bit rusty we both missed a take or two, Tom eventually hooked up first & just as I was taking a picture of him - what timing! (the pic captures his expression perfectly)

I decided to have a wander down to where the thick reed bed usually meets an area of deeper water, although the reeds hadn't had chance to grow back yet you could see a few shoots breaking the surface - I suppose it is only April!

I think this reed bed & all the fauna it supports must be a reason for the bigger than average stamp of trout in here for a high altitude tarn.

The switch of spots paid off and I was soon into a decent fish, these wildies really do put up a fight.

These tarn brownies have adapted to the dark peaty water to become a beautiful olive colour. As we were Ferrel camping that night we decided to keep a couple of the better fish for the pan, the plan was to stay until dark for the evening rise then walk down to the lake to camp but, as we'd left our torches in Manchester and a strong wind had started blowing, we changed plan & headed down before dark set in.

Back at the pub we got chatting to a local who happened to know the kitchen staff, so we asked if he thought they'd cook the trout for us, he wasn't sure as the pub was packed with diners but, it turned out one of chefs was into his fishing and said " if you pop yer head round the kitchen door in half an hour, I'll see what I can do". So for the price of a pint and a chat about tactics we were tucking into a nice plate of trout & chips!

Stayed in the pub till last orders as we'd not got a camping spec sorted but, that's the beauty of the 3 second tent, you can literally roll out of the boozer, find a flat patch of grass & throw the thing up. The nice South African barmaid tipped us off to a perfect guerrilla camping spot just round the lake. We were lucky, with it being a clear moonlit night finding a top spec wasn't too much trouble.