Sunday, 30 November 2008

Winter Dry Fly

The forecast was spot on and the cold weather certainly put in an appearance. As made the hour's drive, the temperature continued to drop and it was a cool -2 degrees when I finally arrived. Several layers under neoprene waders was a minimum. On this beat you have to wade to get the best from the fishing. On the 1st December, this ceases and all fishing must be from the bank. This is to protect the salmon and trout redds as they start to spawn.

Heavy bugs was the call for the first couple of hours with little to show for my efforts. I spotted a few out-of-season browns (one about 2lb) sitting in slack water near the fishing hut. The water was carrying a little colour - the 'misty' colour that even chalkstreams take on when there has been some rain. The call for warm coffee and an escape from wading was essential. The morning passed and we approached the 'warmest' part of the day.

Amongst the seams of current I started to notice a few rises: just one or two at first; then more. Enough to encourage me to uses Klinkhamer with a tungsten-beaded nymph fished New Zealand style (with the nymph's tippet attached the bend of the dry-fly's hook). There was immediate interest in both. Sometimes a fish would pluck at the dry-fly. Other times, the dry just vanished indicating the nymph had been taken. The grayling were responding to the hatch of olives: the emerging insects carried by the current with small grey wings - like tiny sail boats.

Several grayling obliged; as did a big old trout that , judging by the state of its fins had already started spawning. Slipped back, I moved on to avoid catching any more out-of-season fish.

The grayling had their fill and within an hour it was back to the odd rise. The best of the sport was over. Back to the bugs for the last hour, but it was the dry that had reigned supreme today - even in the cold.

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