Monday, 27 April 2015

Dry Fly time approaches

The recent weather has done all sorts of crazy things. Three weeks of blazing sunshine has brought out the leaves, and some days were close to tropical, but the nights were very cold. A few trout rose at times, and if you hit it right there was a good chance of some decent fishing, but overall the rise has been at best sporadic, and nymph fishing has been far and away the most successful tactic. As May approaches we should see things improve, although a frost this morning and bitterly cold northerly winds are not helping. There are increasing numbers of flies hatching. Along with various olives there are still a few Grannom, and the first of the Yellow May Duns were out on the Tamar last Saturday. Odd Hawthorns were also in the air, but the prime dry fly for the start of May is the Black Gnat. Stones in the river are already encrusted with their pupae, so their emergence is imminent. The trout are tucking their napkins under their chins as I type!

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 A female Large Dark Olive dun.

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A male Large Dark Olive dun, note the much larger eyes (all the better to see you with!) and claspers at the base of the tails.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Spring update

Alex and David found the Spring sunshine irresistible yesterday, and combined a final tidy-up of Beat 15 on the Ottery with a spot of fishing.In spite of the warm sunshine, the water was still quite cold, indeed there had been a slight frost overnight. Only a few flies were seen hatching, and with the river still fining down from the last spate, we started with nymphs.

David working upstream on a likely run at the bottom of Beat 15.

The first fish of the day, a lean but feisty ten-inch brownie.

The stunning colours of the true wild brown trout. Note the cream edge to the anal fin.

Tracks on the stones show where browsing nymphs have disturbed the silt as they fed on algal growth overnight.

A Stonefly nymph

An Olive nymph

Another Olive nymph

An Olive nymph next to Simulium larvae

The tracheal gills are visible on this Olive nymph

A sea trout smolt, which took a dry Grannom pattern, showing the distinctive black edge to the caudal fin. We await his return as a three-quarter-pound school peal in late July.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

....and Out like a Lion!

March came in like the proverbial lion, and went out yesterday like several lions, all of them in a very bad temper. Winds reached 70 m.p.h., trees were felled across the county, with many main roads and countless minor ones impassable, and 9 feet of surf on the north Devon coast. Fortunately we had no particularly heavy rain to discolour the water, and this afternoon Alex's camera captured these images from the river Thrushel. 

There was very little fly, although we saw several grannom on the Lyd in the morning. The trout came well to a small pheasant tail nymph, typically very fast, in the manner of true wild fish. Easter is predicted to be a little warmer, which should bring out a few large dark olives along with the grannom, and may offer some sport to the dry fly.

Fist cast of the season.

First Trout

Second Trout

Purple Toothwort on Willow stump

One can see why it's called 'Toothwort'.

Friday, 20 March 2015

An Eclipse

This mornings activities in the cosmos ( barely visible through thick mist at Lifton, just a Cheshire Cat smile from the rim of the sun) were eclipsed by Alex and David's endeavours on Beat 13 of the Ottery today. The last major obstruction is now gone, and for anyone who loves small-river fishing the beat is now looking very tempting. Once the mist had cleared, and the moon retreated to its rightful place, songbirds and butterflies revelled in a bit of Spring warmth. If only this nagging north-easterly wind would back to the south-west, the trout would also respond.
Tadpoles are hatching at the lake, and the toads are now spawning there. The Equinox is also upon us, longer days than nights again - pass me the fly rod.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

In Like a Lion...

March is living up to its reputation, the first few days being cold, wet and windy, with rivers high and dirty. But now, despite a grey day, signs of spring are everywhere. Hazel catkins are bursting, classic lamb's tails swaying in the breeze, and spring flowers, including the rare parasitic Purple Toothwort, growing on the roots of alder and willow. There was even a fish rising in the tail of Black Doctor pool on the Lyd, although not much of a hatch of fly was seen.
There are rumours of salmon down on the lowest beats, trout fishing opens this weekend, midges are bringing trout to the surface on the lake - where the rooks are building high in the trees. Oh to be in England.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Winter Update.

David and Alex have braved the crossing into Cornwall and been working on the Arundell Arms' Ottery waters. The Ottery provides some of our most delicious and tranquil water in which to fish for wild brown trout. Come May there will be no finer place to be.

In need of a trim.

Otter tracks in the sand

Spot the salmon redd.