Friday, 25 February 2011

With rain forecast for this afternoon, I thought I'd seize the opportunity to get on the river in search of a few grayling. We've had so much rain that, even with the drier weather yesterday, the water was carrying the colour of well-brewed tea. Not a bad looking colour to be fair; hopefully enough to give the fish some confidence to feed in the shallower runs and pockets.

Success came fairly quickly as the leader tip darted forwards and a stuborn, out of season brownie fell to a bug trundled along the bottom. It parted company quickly and thankfully it had not thrashed about too much. Another few casts and the leader lifted again. This time a lift was met with that typical roll of a grayling, a flash of silver flank and some dogged pulling:

The river is literally full of life. The Rhyacophila larvae are a main-stay of food for grayling and trout. It's good practice to turn a few stones and check that your imitation matches the natural. It's also good to see the good health levels of the stream. These indicator species are vital early warning signs of problems.

There's alot of variation in the size of the food on offer. Here you see a Rhyacophila larva above a much smaller larvae. Remember, sometimes you can take fish on a #10; other times they demand a #20. A decent imitation fished through each run is likely to bring some success.

This small piece of submerged bark must have had several hundred specimens on it. The fish's larder!

... and a cased caddis showing itself. Note the green head:

A useful imitation of the cased caddis:


Plenty of fish were willing to take. None of them huge, but on long, light rods, they give a good account of themselves:

A better handful:

The forecast was spot on too. The rain started to fall and the river started to colour a little more. Mind you, Spring is in the air and it's good to be on and in the water.



Daniel Smith said...

Hi Dave,

Great post! Here in Sweden it's still below 0 degrees C, but spring is now around the corner.

I'm wondering what pattern you have there in front in the picture? The one with the green "tag".



Unknown said...


When the rivers up, are you fishing known spots for the grayling, or moving about?

Dave Wiltshire said...

Daniel: that is a cased caddis pattern. See the blog post here:

Hope that helps!

Richard - I move about, but focus on very likely looking water - deeper, faster water. Fish every inch with care.


vgb said...


A couple of nice reports, I had not realised that the Chew carried grayling. Which hook did you use for the bug in the 1st report?



vgb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Wiltshire said...


It's a Partridge CZF Fine wire.


vgb said...

Thanks Dave. Guessing nymphskin and ostrich herl for the body.


Dave Wiltshire said...

Just body streth and some SLF. Very simple really - and tied in the same manner as shown on the River Fly Box.

Won't be long and we'll be back on the Wellow!


vgb said...

Thanks again Dave. I was on the Wellow bank clearing on Saturday. A healthy flow and lots of colour had me thinking that some heavy patterns might be in order.

Counting the days.


Dustin's Fly Box said...

That cased caddis looks AMAZING! Great blog, I just started following