Cressbrook, & Litton Flyfishers
16 June 2013
The terrible weather eased off during the first week of the month and at last we started to see some mayfly, although they have been very tardy and spread out. I believe it has been the coldest Spring for 50 years, with average temperatures for March, April and May being a miserable 6 degrees C. The last week of May saw heavy rain which brought the river back up to midrange for a few days. Despite the weather, I have been doing a great deal of fishing, albeit mostly in the evenings. They have been generally overcast, cold and very wet on occasion. I’ve joined Derwent Flyfishers this year and I’ve been alternating rivers, which has been fascinating. The Derwent has very good hatches of Olive Uprights and one of my visits coincided with a vast hatch of these handsome insects and over the course of the afternoon and evening I was able to exploit both the dun and the spinner. One subsequent evening of very heavy rain nearly had me packing up early but the swallows and martins continued to feed near the surface making me think it might be worth persisting.
I’m glad I did because the fish were equally active and I had a very good bag on a s.18 Tiny Black Klink fished on a very short line. The following evening saw me back on the Wye, the water slightly coloured, with only midges and black gnats in evidence. I put the little Klink on again and it was immediately of interest to the trout. The first fish suffered the indignity of the stomach pump and, sure enough, it was full of true black gnats, Bibio Johannis. Ive always felt a little guilty about depriving fish of their supper like this but at least they didn’t have to die in the interests of research. The spinners started to fall at around 8.30 p.m. and I enjoyed a brief flurry with my Parachute Spinner, then the temperature dropped and it was all over for the evening.
Subsequent visits to both rivers in early June saw the same pattern, with Black Gnats for starters and Spinners for dessert, which is just as well, since I never saw a Mayfly until 9 June. The evening of the 9th looked like it might be a likely candidate for a fall of Spent Gnat, so I made my way down to Netherdale, where I found Phillip Spillane and his wife enjoying their tea in the car park. They’d seen quite a bit of activity with the Green Drake during the afternoon, so I was reasonably confident as I made my way down to Monsal Weir. I was early, so I sat on the bank watching the pool intently.
There were a few fish moving, but the rise forms suggested something smaller than the Mayfly Spinner. Annoyingly, what had promised to be a bit of cloud cover had by now disappeared, and a cooling North Easterly air ruffled the surface. One or two Mayfly Spinners were starting to dip into the pool and I saw a few taken but the Poly Wing Spinner was being ignored for once. I decided to change to my Parachute Spinner, a s.18 with a pheasant tail body. This immediately brought up fish. Several more followed from the edge of the riffle and from the little pots at the head of the pool, nothing huge but all lovely wild brownies which materialized from nowhere to seize my fly. I continued in like manner until I reached the foot of the weir, where I saw a very good fish move in a fast run at the head of a deep hole. I could see the fish clearly. Two pounds if it was an ounce, no more than a few inches below the surface in the fast water, just tipping up every minute or so. I pitched my fly on the edge of the current, whereupon it disappeared into a great maw. Like an idiot, I struck before the fish had turned down and I felt it briefly before it pinged off. Damn it!! My heart wasn’t in it anymore so I headed back to the car, thinking how easy it is to prejudge what fly they are taking. Although there were plenty of Mayfly Spinners about, they were probably outnumbered by Olive Upright Spinners by about 100,000 to 1, so why should the fish waste energy chasing Mayflies?
On On the way back to the car, I noticed that some picnickers had very thoughtfully left all their rubbish for me to collect for them and take home. This really makes my blood boil, as it does Lizzie’s at Netherdale Farm, who told me that this is an everyday occurrence at the moment. Morons! More reliable than the Mayfly, the Yellow Sallies are now on the wing and a pale yellow-olive Klinkhamer, around size 16 should be of interest to the trout. The main caddis period is now upon us and any time now the Blue Winged Olives should start to become our mainstay in the evenings. Make sure you are properly equipped for both spinner & dun – and don’t leave the water too early.