Cressbrook & Litton Flyfishers
29 May 2013
Low water persisted up to the middle of the month, then a little freshet brought the level up a centimetre or two, which immediately improved prospects. Further rain just before the Oliver Edwards Day brought the river back to mid range without too much colour and as a result we enjoyed some decent hatches of Olives in little phases throughout most days.
Speaking of Oliver, he told me over a pint later that he’d really enjoyed sharing his knowledge with our members and has agreed to hold a fly tying Masterclass for us later in the year.
We are so fortunate to have him, (he has officially retired) and I must thank John Glynn once again for making the arrangements and being his driver on the day. Judging from the numerous emails I had from participants, the day was a great success. One member managed to net 18 fish!
I spent the afternoon of the 17th with the EHK and Stuart Crofts, fishing downstream of the Locked Bridge. Stuart and I shared a Tenkara rod and the EHK was trying out a new Wychwood rod. We were surrounded by rises as soon as we started, and quickly started taking fish on a size 18 Baetis Cripple. Stuart used his little stomach pump to extract the stomach contents of the first couple of fish. Olive Uprights on the point of emergence were the main item on the menu. These flies, along with Medium Olives, are our mainstay over the next few months and if we get the right conditions, we should start to enjoy some evening sport with the spinners. Olive Uprights really do give value for money. They emerge on the surface, lay their eggs there and the male spinners, unlike those of most other species, tend to fall on the water after mating. It was great to be able to present the right fly so delicately to rising fish, knowing that, if we had the right track, they would fall for it it every time.
We had a couple of bigger rainbows but all the others were beautiful wild browns, butter yellow, like the perfect fish above.
At the risk of being repetitive, because I know I’ve mentioned it before, the Baetis Cripple is a Craig Mathews pattern which we featured in our Flies for the Wye booklet. It really is the business for hatching Olives and I have the utmost confidence in it. The dressing is as follows:
Hook: Size 16-20 Tiemco 100 SP-BL.
Thread: Grey Uni Thread 8/0.
Shuck: Brown Zelon, half length of hook shank.
Body: Olive-grey Wapsi Superfine dubbing.
Emerging Wing: Grey Zelon as a half-height wing.
Hackle: Grey Hoffman cock, three turns behind the wing and two in front, clipped short underneath. I sometimes vary it with a Grizzle/Red hackle combination, a` l’Adams, and you can also tie it with a black wing to make it stand out more on silver-paper water.
Don Stazicker was out on the river on the 23rd & 24th in the most appalling conditions imaginable. “I fished with Michael Harrison on Thursday & Friday in the most awful weather. Very high winds swirling from different directions with a morning temperature of just 4 degrees centigrade and snow on the tops at Priestcliffe. It hardly seemed ideal for fishy success! We were fishing in heavy rain, turning to hail from time to time. It was possibly the worst weather I’ve ever encountered in May on the Wye. However, we persevered and were rewarded with one of the best baetis hatches I have ever seen. In the gaps between the hail duns poured off the water and we caught regularly on a size 16 Baetis Emerger fished in the surface film. So it just goes to show, the best hatches can occur on cold, overcast days, not those beautiful sunny days we all love. Next time the forecast looks dreadful, get the Goretex on and get out there. You may be pleasantly surprised!”
What Don has modestly omitted to mention was that with his first cast he hooked a 3 pounder!
Apart from a brief respite over the Bank Holiday weekend, the dreadful weather has continued and it looks like the Mayfly are not buying Don’s advice. Apart from the odd singleton, it seems the late Spring has delayed the main event. Hopefully the first half of June will make up for it.