Saturday, 30 June 2018

Brown Trout colours and spots

A constant fascination for me is the variation of colours that the Brown trout in the local streams exhibit, even within a single stream the colours can vary from pool to pool.  The range of colours fascinate me as do the reasons for it. Not sure that I am really very interested in a scientific explanation  but my experience tells me that the more alkaline and richer in invertebrate the river then the fish are lighter with less vivid and smaller are the red spots. But I stand to be told otherwise.  The first two pictures show a trout caught from my local river last Sunday

The adipose fins of many show the most vivid colours .  This dark fish was caught from a small pool that is quite heavily shaded .  Perhaps partly the reason why the fish was generally dark?.  All the fish on the post whilst being from three separate rivers are all from within a circle of twenty miles diameter. The issue of age of the fish is a difficult one as in this stream the fish don't grow large  12 inches is a good fish 14 inches a potential seasons best .  I do get the impression that the darker fish are more mature . 

This fish below was caught from the same stream no more than 100 yds away.  It was an an area however of sand and gravel rather than the rocky pool the first fish was .

This fish was caught in the same river about a couple of miles upstream 

The fish was from a very small stream a few miles inland ,  better water quality and certainly less acidic , the stream rises as a spring out of limestone but does carry a lot of surface run of as well. The fish there tend to be a bit heavier and lighter coloured with smaller red spots although you do come across the odd darker fish, also the water  does have good invertebrate hatches .

The last is from a local chalk stream .  Whilst been a very rich stream it is not a large river with few deep pools and the fish whilst been fairly prolific do often reach substantial sizes .  Fish generally have smaller and fewer red spots.  

One interesting fact from the Wild trout trust website."Brown trout are one of the most genetically diverse vertebrates known. There is far more genetic variation present across British populations of wild brown trout than between any populations in the entire human race".  So it seems to me that you have possible genetic variations as well as local responses to habitat and water quality.  Also on a lighter note. " All fishermen know that trout get progressively larger after they have been caught!"

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Fathers Day

Fathers day this year was pretty good.   Lunch was the last of the frozen sea trout from last year . Herbs , lemon and capers with just a touch of white wine....( Dont take many but do kill a very few every year ) 

Then after lunch down to the local river .  The mayfly were still about together with decent numbers of various different olives. 
Lots of small wildies came to hand from the shallow riffles where the broken water was well oxygenated 

Had three from this little pool .  When I arrived there was a kingfisher on that fallen tree.  It just screams Trout doesnt it 

Our little wild brownies are perfect and put up a great scrap on the three weight . I had  not used this rod for ages ,  I think I had forgotten how much I love fishing it .
R L Winston B2T 8ft 3 wt .  Perfect for small streams . 

I love these small Yorkshire streams , so picturesque so peaceful...Great day....

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

In full swing

Up here in the north of the UK the “ Mayfly” generally hatch in the first two weeks of June ,   As we are a couple of weeks behind the seasons down where the southern chalkstreams flow . Well I am pleased to say that it is that time of year again and the mayfly hatch is in full swing and this year it looks like being a good hatch .  Some years the hatch is almost non existent or over so fast the fish do not get into feeding on them .   Last Friday after work I got to one of the local streams to find clouds of spinners doing their amazing dance and big fat ladies like this out in good numbers .  The trout were certainly taking them with enthusiasm.  There is something pretty special about a warm summer evening on a wild stream with mayflies hatching.

The stream is only small and runs across farmland .  and its pretty unkempt and even better its not stocked, it has a good head of wild brownies and a decent grayling population.  The extent of vegetaion around the river , in the river and even blocking the river makes for fascinating fishing and also gives plenty of fish holding lies.  Getting the fish out of them is an altogether different problem.

The mayfly pattern I use is dead simple and I have put it up on the blog once before so I won't bore you with it .  basically a simple variation of an ethafoam body mayfly .  All my flies fulfil a simple rule. easy and quick to tie,  I lose a lot to bankside trees. 

This picture is pretty typical  of the stream although there are also some pools that would over top my chesties if I was to show to much bravado . Its a lovely little stream and I have fished it for quite some years . Long time blog readers may well recognise it .  Its a very small club that controls it it is perfect .

That was Friday night but on Sunday I had arranged to visit Foston beck again ,  I had offered a day to a friend and also had just discovered that weed cutting is about to start.  That will destroy the fishing for a week or so and therefore the opportunity needed taking .  This season the little chalk stream has fished wonderfully . The wet winter has filled up the aquifers and it is running at a sublime level.  The weed is growing fast but I reckon that the cut could have waited a week or two.

The Wild brownies here are pretty but in a much more subdued way than the spate river fish I catch so often ,  more silver and less vivid spots mark them apart .  But also and by comparison the stream is stocked and the stockies whilst been bigger do not possess the same glorius colours.   

This is such a pretty stream though with thick ranunculas beds and heavy reed growth at the sides .  Also and unlike most chalk streams wading is allowed and in many places is an absolute requirement due to the overgrown nature of the stream.  It is this overgrown nature that is much of the attraction to me . I have fished some of the legendary southern chalk streams and for instance the Itchen whilst fascinating did not inspire me .  Mown banks and pristine trimmed Bankside vegetation is a little sterile for my rough stream Northern upbringing . 

Pretty isn't it....No mayfly though they don't like the hard bottom....

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Savour every day like its your last

There is no doubt that if ever I was given the chance of starting again in life then becoming a fly fisherman is one thing that would not be changed .  I am hard pushed to think of anything other than my family which has given me such pleasure during my life .  It isn't always easy and doesn't always bring you the success that you want but it is always gratifying .  I wrote a piece recently in Fly fishing and Fly tying magazine taking a humorous look at growing old and fly fishing ,  one of the serious points in the writing was how the pleasure gained from fishing has become more holistic as I get older .  The pleasure coming more and more from the whole experience ,  the catch whilst important is not the be all and end all .  

The places that I am privileged to fish are in themselves places of true beauty .  Peace, tranquillity and nature combine to provide me with a place where the everyday stresses are banished .  I know I am fortunate that the corner of the country where I live is a little less congested and a lot less unspoilt than so many parts of the UK .  But for many of us when we are fishing the "place " where we are has little to do with the physical surroundings .  

I visited my Dad the other evening as I do a few times a week.  He is nearly 90 and due to ill health is in a nursing home .  My interest in angling was stirred by him and also encouraged .  Sadly he is increasingly frail and struggling with Alzheimer's. Recently we chatted about fishing and it saddens him that he can not recall so many of the incidents I remind him of from when we fished together .  He said to me "Savour every day like its your last" You will never know when your last days fishing could be and you damn well will want to remember it.  A sobering thought but I guess none of us knows what lurks around the corner. 

Dad was a coarse fisherman , his favoured quarry was the roach and I think he always thought I had betrayed my roots by becoming a "posh" fly fisherman .   I have to say that there is nothing coarse about fishing for Roach its a fish that demands a high level of skill and delicate tackle.  He always loved fishing in rivers , he went to a commercial still water once many years ago that day he caught the biggest roach he had every caught and also the biggest perch but he never wanted to go to one again . There was no wildlife and it was like fishing in a bloody goldfish bowl was his considered opinion.  I showed him the picture above , ( ipads are great for that ) and I was pleased to say that he did say it was a river he could enjoy .   He also asked if the bluebells were out last week and was there plenty of wildlife around the stream.  I guess old Dad understands about the holistic thing as well.  

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Worth the Wait

They do say that is something is really worth having then its worth waiting for .  Well this last month I got the phone call I have been waiting for for over eight years ,  a place had become available in the small fishing club on a beautiful North Yorkshire stream.  This isn't a expensive club but what it has a few miles of the most pristine of wild streams in some of the prettiest surroundings anyone could wish for .

Tree lined and pretty much unspoilt ,  challenging fishing in a pristine stream for wild fish what more could you want... 

My first day was on a work party , an ideal way to meet some of the other members , have a chat and generally relish the thoughts of warm summer evenings here with rising fish,,,

I know it sounds weird after waiting so many years but knowing that the river is there for me now whenever I wish meant that yes I needed to fish but I also knew that if I couldn't catch one on the dry then I wasn't going to bother,  now it was bloody cold and I hadn't seen a rising fish all day .  My back was hurting and my dodgy knee was playing up.  But I did want one fish .  Well after wandering and watching I saw a rise and after a few casts with a little cdc IOBO.  This was the result.  Small but a definite harbinger of things to come. Roll on Summer .......