Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Washout in December

Unfortunately, the river Eden has been persistently high throughout the month of December making Grayling on the fly almost impossible and with more heavy rain forecast for the rest of this week there is no sign of improvement in the short term. We have certainly had more than our fair share of wind and water in 2011.

So not much to report I'm afraid, but as soon as the rain stops and the water drops I will be out with people once again, targeting those elusive Grayling. It may also help if the temperature drops a little too, which it may still do, as the temperature over the Christmas period has been uncommonly high for the time of year. This usually encourages Grayling to move into the deeper, slower moving areas of the river, away from the chilled surface area, thus giving you much more of an advantage when sight fishing, as any slight movement of your fly line will give you an indication of a tentative take as these subtle takes can often go unnoticed in faster water. That said, if temperatures do remain as mild as they have been recently then spider fishing in the faster flowing water will still be very effective, and worth taking advantage of.

Well here we are again at the end of another year and I hope you all had a great Christmas, with (I am sure) a few additions to your fishing armoury arriving on Christmas day. I look forward to seeing many familiar faces again in 2012 along with a few new ones, and may I wish you all "Tight Lines" for the New Year.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Wet & Windy

Nigel Playing a nice Grayling
The Grayling fishing was slowly building up into the third week of November, and although we haven't encountered exceptional amounts of fish, we have caught some good quality fish, mainly around the 2lb mark, but also one or two bigger than that, as we did previously.

In between a couple of casting sessions with people, I had Nigel McCallister out on the river for three days tuition and fishing, experiencing some unbelievably warm weather for the time of year. Nigel was over from Spain on holiday, but his roots are here in the UK and he loves his Grayling fishing, it was not in vain either as he had a few nice fish during his time here, until that is, the weather took a turn for the worst again. "We thought it was too good to be true". Never mind he did get some good fishing in before the river rose again.

A good Result
Yes, Unfortunately, from late in the day on Tuesday 22nd, the river began to rise and it has been consistently high ever since, never settling, scuppering the chances of any decent Grayling fishing on the fly, and to add to that, the strong winds we have been plagued with over the past few days are certainly not helping matters in any way whatsoever, making conditions ever more difficult. Oh well, we will just have to hold back a little longer. "Let's see what December brings".

Sunday, 6 November 2011

End of Season Deluge

A good Eden Grayling being returned
Persistent rain created the worst possible scenario to the end of the Salmon season on the river Eden. The last few days were a wash out, especially for the fly, apart from a couple of fish taken on a spinner on the last day as the water slightly cleared, but still very difficult conditions.

We are now turning our attention to the winter Grayling fishing to which we have already had some success, albeit in small numbers, but some quality fish up to 2lb, and the results have improved with further visits.

The Grayling fishing was put on hold though, with the intervention of the AAPGAI autumn assessment event for potential new instructors, as well as those instructors who were taking the next step on the ladder. The event was held, once again, in Builth Wells, in Wales, one of two biannual events held at either end of the country to allow people from all over the UK to attend, although several international instructors also attended as usual. The event also included a very successful open day which was aimed at those thinking of taking the instructor route with AAPGAI, or those who simply came along to enjoy the many and varied demonstrations delivered by professional AAPGAI instructors, as well as the one to one tuition that followed. You can read more about these events on the AAPGAI website or Blog.

One of the Demo's by AAPGAI instructor Paul Arden
But home again now and back to thoughts of Grayling fishing on the Eden, but I don't have to think about it too long, as I will be out on the river again tomorrow to put it into practice, especially whilst this period of good weather persists, although I do have a sneaky feeling that when the temperatures do begin to fall significantly we will see some good shoaling up of these magnificent fish in the deeper slower moving areas of the river. "Give it a try".

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Not Long Now!

We are once again heading towards the end of the Salmon season on the Eden, and like much of the season the water has continued it's unsettled trend. As I write this, there is more heavy rain forecast for tonight and throughout the early hours of tomorrow morning, which will inevitably raise the river level yet again, putting Wednesday out of commission with only two more days to go, "Grim". Click here to view the river level at Warwick on Eden.

John's Favourite Corner
Since my last post I have been out on the Border Esk with the Borderlines team again, introducing more schools from the surrounding areas to angling and the environment. We were quite lucky with the conditions as the Border Esk has also been prone to high waters of late, but we managed to get out and the kids had a great time. 

Chris with his specimen
All is not doom and gloom though, as the short spells of settled water in between the rising water did produce several Salmon up and down the river, which included a few for Border Game Angling visitors too, as well as some good trout before the trout season closed on the 30th of September.

One visitor did get a pleasant surprise when he encountered a very nice fish of over 20lb on the fly, a coloured cock fish which he returned to the water after an epic battle on an Ally's Shrimp. "Nice One".


Russell with one of four Browns
Had to cancel the last two days due to high water, with today not looking much better, but nevertheless if the conditions continue to keep us off the water until the end of the Salmon season, (Friday) there's still the Grayling fishing to keep us going over the winter months, which I am looking forward to immensely, and I already have a few bookings lined up. "It's a really good way to extend your fly fishing season".

Friday, 23 September 2011

From Iceland to Eden

Into one of Iceland's big Sea Trout
I returned from Iceland on Tuesday to find the Eden running high yet again, nothing seemed to have changed since I left last Thursday, and after talking to a few of the guys on the river it seems I hadn't missed out on much either, although I have heard that there have been a few fish caught during the spells when the water was dropping, but still not as many fish showing as we are used to at this time of year. "Yo Yo water yet again".

A good result
Iceland was certainly a whole different ball game, with plenty of fish being caught by our group over the 4 days we were there, with a grand total of over 100 Salmon between six shared rods, and an additional 22 Sea Trout of over 3lb, a few of which would touch the 10lb mark, and slightly above, not including the many smaller Sea Trout we caught during our time on the river. Just when I thought it could not get any better, I was fortunate enough, (along with a few others)  to land one of these leviathans, a Sea Trout of around 10lb (pictured here). A fantastic trip with excellent guides and a group of like minded AAPGAI instructors who are also good friends, how can you top that. I would certainly recommend it to anyone, and I hope to return next year for a second innings.

A nice Salmon at the end of a day
The Eden was still quite high yesterday, although above Lazonby, (where I was busy giving a Salmon fly casting lesson) it was dropping nicely, with the water clearing well as the day progressed. Therefore the water at the lower end of the river should be coming into good form over the weekend, as long as the rain stays away that is. Lets hope it does and a few fish are caught before the closed season is upon us. "Fingers Crossed".

I will be off the Eden tomorrow, as the Borderlines team will be running a family fishing day on the river Esk at Langholm, but I will be back again on Sunday for a tuition & fishing session for two adults on the lower river, so hopefully we may encounter a fish or two.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Latest Happenings

Allan with a fresh Grilse
A few Grilse started to show up on the river around mid to late August, but not in the numbers expected, with many of the fish caught being in the Salmon category, (generally larger fish) but with the water levels continuously fluctuating Salmon fishing has been hard at times with few fish showing.

Yuichi's First Salmon
Water levels rose yet again today and with only five weeks of the Salmon season remaining, (on the Eden) all we want is the water to fall to hold a few fish up for a while "no more rain please". 

That said, we have certainly had several Salmon, and lost a few too. Here are some of the recent catches from Border Game Angling visitors, including Yuichi Takayama's first ever Salmon "Excellent".

Andrew with a fish of around 11lb
The trout fishing has also continued in good form with some good quality late season fish (when the water has permitted) to add to the exceptional early season fishing we have encountered on some of the Eden beats, and Doug Douglass (pictured below) has certainly had his fair share of quality trout on a couple of trips with me this year as well as landing and returning a nice cock Salmon of around 9lb on Monday.

Doug with one of his many trout
Plenty of fly casting tuition going on with a couple of people having refresher sessions before travelling abroad, which is exactly where I will be going on Thursday when I will be flying off to Iceland to do some fishing of my own. I will keep you informed.



Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Persistant High Waters

Having a go on Monday
With the exception of the odd day here and there, high waters have consistently prevented the fly fisherman venturing out over the last couple of weeks, although there have been a few salmon taken on the spinners, all decent sized fish too, as we see yet another year where the Grilse are later than normal. Every time it looks like the water is going to come good it rises again, with localised heavy rainfall, and today was no exception. On Monday the higher beats on the river were looking very good, and fining down nicely, and I couldn't help give it a try, but to no avail, although now I know why as the river lifted once more, but there is an up side, and once the rain stays off we are in for a treat, with the river having been flushed through ready for the main back end runs. "I can't wait".

Some of the members attending the course
I have been on the river Nith over the last two weekends with a colleague, running a series of fly casting courses arranged by The Dumfries and Galloway Angling Association. The first weekend saw low water, but the second weekend saw a big lift in water, with several large salmon running the edges of the river on their way upstream, especially on the Sunday when fishing for migratory fish is not allowed under Scottish law, but hopefully all those attending the course will now be able to put their new found casting skills to use, in the near future, and target a few of these fish.

Post code directions for SAT/NAV is DG3 4AQ

I'm at the Galloway Country Fair this Saturday. It takes place at Drumlanrig Castle & Country Estate over the weekend of the 20th - 21st August, it should be a great event. Click here for details  I will be there to help promote Borderlines and to assist with the casting clinic. "Well worth a visit".

Friday, 5 August 2011

The C.L.A. Game Fair and back to the Eden

Something for all the family
Following a couple of tuition sessions, and a very well attended family fishing day on the river Nith, (near Dumfries) I was off to the C.L.A. Game Fair (as planned) over the weekend of the 22nd - 24th July. This year the event was held at Blenheim Palace near Oxford, and apart from the odd shower or two, the weather was fantastic and a good show was had by all. I was working with a great bunch of lads as part of the Guide Fly Fishing team, which I do from time to time, simply because I think their products are very good and I am more than happy to use many of them in my everyday fishing activities.

If you have never been to a C.L.A. Game Fair (Country Landowners Association) it is well worth a visit in the future as there is something there for everyone. Next years show is to be held at Belvoir Castle, Grantham, Leicestershire over the weekend of the 20th - 22nd July 2012. For further information visit the C.L.A. Website

Fay with a cracking Grayling
On my return I had a couple of tuition and fishing sessions booked in on the Eden for trout and grayling, which as it turned out were well timed, because when I left for the Game Fair on Thursday evening (21st July) the river rose again due to localised heavy rain, and it was now in good condition, with, I might add, several good sized salmon running the river, and a few being caught.

One of Sam's fish from the lower river
These sessions produced some very good fish, a couple of which are pictured here, and it was nice to see several good grayling coming to the net again, as they have been few and far between on the mid and lower river, both over the winter period, and of late, but they are now turning up again. Grayling are a very nomadic fish and can migrate long distances within a river system, fish that migrate within fresh water only, are classified as Potamodromous fish.

One of the events for C.A.A.
Flying the Borderlines flag again we organised and ran the annual youth day event, in partnership with Carlisle Angling Association. The day was a great success once again  with around 80 youngsters taking part. Activities included: Fly Casting, Fly Tying, Fishing and Entomology, culminating in a raffle and prize giving session. "A good day was had by all".


Monday, 18 July 2011

The Best of the Weather in Ireland and Wales


Killyleagh Castle
I flew over to N. Ireland on the 1st July for the Irish International Fly Fair, held in Killyleagh. This is an annual event, now in it's 4th Year, which is going from strength to Strength, attracting interested parties from all over the world. The show has a fantastic setting with the beautiful Strangford Lough at the bottom of the hill and the casting demonstrations and teaching sessions delivered within the fairytale style castle walls, where we were staying for the three nights, and to top it off the weather for the show was fantastic, which always helps.

On my return I took some time out in the Scottish highlands, where the weather was a bit changeable, but the scenery was awesome, although this was just a stop gap before travelling to Wales in the heart of sea trout country, where I stayed with my good friend Illtyd Griffiths in preparation to spend two nights on the river Dovey. Illtyd's knowledge of sea trout fishing is vast, although he will not put any emphasis on that, but believe me if there are fish about he will put you on to them, and this trip was no exception.

The first night I hooked and lost what felt like a very big fish, and believe me there are some big fish in the Dovey, and just when I thought I had blown my big opportunity, Illtyd took me further down stream and put me straight onto another one, but this time I landed it, a cracking cock fish of 7lb 2oz. "What a night". Anyone thinking of doing some guided sea trout fishing in Wales I recommend you contact Illtyd. His website details are as follows: http://www.sewincaster.co.uk/

Following some exceptionally warm and sunny day time weather, the second night just got better, and when I eventually entered the water, (on dusk) the fun began, and between three of us, we managed to hook around a dozen fish, not all of which were landed, but I did manage to land three of them. Two around the 4lb mark and one about 5lb and that's not to mention the quick grabs and nips that we encountered down the pool. The final outcome was eight fish and the sport was phenomenal.

I returned to the Eden on Saturday to do some casting tuition on the middle river where I saw a couple of nice Salmon showing, and a good sea trout, and my intention was to fish the lower river yesterday, but the water began to rise and colour badly which unfortunately scuppered my plans for a while.

A few casting tuition and fishing sessions lined up for the rest of the week with people coming to learn both trout and Salmon techniques and then I am off to the C.L.A. Game Fair at the weekend. http://www.gamefair.co.uk/ Speak again when I get back.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

More Unsettled Weather

June has continued with some localised heavy rain , although the temperature has risen, which at least gives the impression of a summer month, and the trout fishing, although intermittant at times, has benefitted from these changes, influenced by the general direction of the wind, with some warmer southerlies and westerlies in attendance at times, and a mix of both, which has assissted in producing some nice fish when water conditions allowed.

There has also been an increase in the amount of double figure Salmon spotted on the river, with several being caught on the usual beats, and the lower river will almost certainly benefit from the present conditions over the next few days as the water continues to fall away and clear, with further catches imminent.

I was away from the Eden over the weekend of the 18th & 19th, representing AAPGAI as part of the demonstration team at the British Fly Fair International, which was moved from it's usual November slot at Tretham Gardens, to it's new venue in June at Bingley Hall (The Staffordshire Show Ground). I was also away this weekend, attending an AAPGAI Continued Professional Development weekend, (CPD) which gives members the chance to look at new products on the market and try them out, as well as taking in some of the excellent fly dressing demonstrations given by the members (as seen above). "It was a great weekend".

Off to the Irish International Fly Fair in Killyleagh this weekend to do a bit of demonstrating and teaching, so will probably miss some good Salmon fishing as the water at the moment is looking very promising, but I have managed to do plenty of teaching and a bit of trout fishing in the interim, with some good results once again. "Let's see what July throws up".

Friday, 17 June 2011

Unusual weather for June

Here we are in June, and the weather up to now gives you the impression that it is still March, "what's going on". Never mind, once the river decided to drop in again we did manage to get amongst the fish at times, although during the periods when we encountered very cold East winds it also proved very difficult.

Sasha with a nice Brown Trout
For me, June began with some Salmon casting tuition with a couple of people on the mid river, but I found once again this month that most people were interested in learning how to cast a trout rod and then put it into practice with some positive results. One particular youngster who came along with her family did very well, whilst using a small six foot split cane fly rod which she proceeded to catch a few small trout with and a very nice fish (pictured here) "Well Done".

I also managed to get out and do a bit of trout fishing with some successful catches on the dry fly and a nice Sea Trout of 3lb just to top it off, (pictured below) which I must admit, went home for the pot on this occasion, as I am partial to a tasty Sea Trout.

Lots of youth days with Borderlines again in the first half of June which saw us taking youngsters out on both rivers and Stillwaters, covering, Entomology, Fishing and Environmental issues, and last weekend I got together with a good friend of mine, Jim Fearn, from Guide Fly Fishing to put on an informal (free) day for the Carlisle Angling Association members (held in Rickerby Park Carlisle) on the river Eden. The day was designed as an opportunity for anglers to come along and try out different products that are on the market and also to receive tuition covering the latest casting techniques etc. The feedback was very good and we will be arranging another day in 2012.

This weekend saw Andrew and Ian Wiper coming along again for some Salmon tuition and fishing, but the fish were not obliging, nor were the trout I might add, as we were plagued once again by an East wind all day, although the last two times they have been here, they have caught some nice Salmon. As from the 16th June (yesterday) anglers on the river are allowed to take two Salmon per day (beat rules allowing) and although many anglers these days do return many of their fish, it is nice to be able to take one home for the pot, and I think we will now see many more Salmon anglers out on the river (water conditions permitting).

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

And The Rain Came

As we moved into May the rain held off for a while, with just the odd shower here and there, which to be honest, did suit me, as I had quite a few people coming to do some trout fishing, and apart from the times when the odd top up of fresh water does often prove productive, I tend to find that low water conditions (not too low) can be just as good for targeting trout if you look in the right places, which once again proved to be the case as you can see from the pictures. We did have a few cold North Westerly winds at times, which chilled the surface, and put fish down refusing a dry fly, but when the South Westerlies kicked in we had some cracking catches (some doing better than others) and with a lot more insect life appearing in the form of, Olive Uprights, Iron Blues, Yellow May's, Large Brook Duns and a variety of Sedges and Gnats, to name but a few, fishing was good, with trout to 2 and a half pounds on our outings, and up to 3lbs reported elsewhere on the river. Excellent!

We did get a small rise in water as the weather forecast dictated on the weekend of the 13th and 14th which produced a few Salmon, with one angler taking 5 to his own rod on the Warwick Hall beat of the river, but fish were also caught on other beats. This was good news for those salmon anglers amongst us, and also, during a tuition and fishing session for trout on the lower Eden, with John Priest, he managed to hook a nice Sea Trout of around 3lb, which unfortunately parted company after a few acrobatic crashes on the surface of the water, but we know they are there.

In mid May (Monday 16th) I was involved in the Cumbria Fishing Festival, which is held annually on the river Eden and surrounding areas in Cumbria. It is aimed at anglers of all abilities and offers something for everyone from the beginner to the more advanced angler. My job this year was to introduce anglers to some of the more intricate casts, which included the slack line casts for delaying drag when fishing a dry fly on flowing water, and showing some techniques to use to reach those awkward places on the river. The sessions went better than expected, as they were just really aimed at casting and fishing techniques, but I encouraged the anglers attending to put flies on whilst they were practicing and the outcome was fantastic, with 7 Brown Trout being caught over the two sessions, up to around a pound and a half (all returned at the individuals request) but we did get some excellent pictures to remember the day, one of which is shown above right.

Last week I was delivering a series of school sessions with my colleagues from Borderlines. This is one of the ongoing projects I am presently involved with, known as "The Fishing for Knowledge Project". It takes the youngsters on a progressive journey which gives them an insight into both angling and the environment. This particular stage was aimed at Entomology (the life cycles of the insects that the fish feed upon). It is also a very rewarding, and enjoyable journey for me too.

This weekend saw another big change in the weather system, (in Cumbria) which has brought in more rain and very strong winds up to 80mph, putting the rivers up to unfishable levels, and keeping us all away from the fishing. So I sit peering out of the window at even more rain as I am writing this, and although we did need some water for the Salmon fishing, (and the flora) I can't help wondering if it is going to forget to stop again, as it often does, although the rivers are dropping again at the moment and the forecast does look promising. "I think April and May have swapped places this year".

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Persistant Low Water Conditions


The river has continued to shrink throughout the month as we have just endured the hottest April on record. Great sunbathing weather, but not the best of conditions for fishing. This was not entirely down to the glaring sunshine though, but the easterly winds that have accompanied it.

Despite this, we have at times, encountered some very good trout to 2lb, continuing the trend from last month. We have often had to fish a little deeper with a gold head or two, as the spiders have not been the force they can be at this time of year (yet), although if you were prepared to persevere with a dry fly on very baron looking surface water, you could bring up a good fish or two, as Doug Douglass, who was having a session with me on the lower river will tell you, as will Simon Harris with a nice trout shown in the picture above taken on his mobile phone, as my camera decided to pack up on me, and Fay Larkins who has landed a couple of good fish recently on the middle river of around 1 1/2lb and 1 3/4lb (pictured left).

Adams Dry
When having the patience to persist with the dry fly, the adams was once again top fly and has been quite a consistent fish catcher as there has not been a great deal of fly life in attendance, although we have had some good grannom hatches which did not seem to inspire the fish in any numbers to take the adult fly.

The dedicated Salmon anglers are pulling their hair out at the moment with very low water and generally poor conditions for this type of fishing, but that said, there seems to be a possibility of light at the end of the tunnel, with rain forecast as we move into May toward the end of this week, but the long term forecast seems to predict more of the same dry conditions, we will soon find out. It hasn't stopped anglers coming along to brush up on their casting though, which is what I will be helping people with over the next few days. It makes sense to do it now before the rain does eventually come, because believe me it will, and when it does it usually forgets to stop. Anyway very busy in May, so hopefully there should be a lot more to report. See you next time!

Thursday, 31 March 2011

March Update

A series of youth days took us into March, which included some Grayling fishing events that did produce a few fish, although continuing with the recent trend, not in the numbers we usually encounter. A few spring salmon have also been taken on the fly, mainly on the lower river, and tuition sessions have begun to increase as the weather begins to improve and people are brushing up their skills preparing for their salmon and trout fishing trips this year.
 
Mid March saw high water on the Eden, which soon gave way to some good trout fishing that provided some excellent sport with fish to around 2lb coming to a selection of dry flies. This usually followed some reasonable hatches of Large Dark Olives during the warmer parts of the day. The successful flies we used included greenwell's glory and Adams in size 14's.

I also got together again with the editor of the Trout & Salmon magazine, Andrew Flitcroft, to do a follow up test of the new 9ft #5 weight rods on the market today. If you read the T&S magazine you may remember the test we did last year on the #5 weight models at that time, well this time we tested the new rods against the winners of the previous test to see how they compared. The results will be in the May issue of the T&S magazine. "Take a look".

The AAPGAI open day and spring assessments event for potential new instructors, was held at the Trout Hotel in Cockermouth, which was a fantastic success once again, with no less than 25 people attending the open day and watching the many demonstrations presented by some of the current AAPGAI instructors. This is a biannual event with the next dates being set for 27th - 29th October which will be held in Builth Wells in Wales. "Well worth a visit". See the AAPGAI website for details on the following link http://www.aapgai.co.uk/home.html

Monday, 21 February 2011

Season Getting Underway


Despite the cold weather there are early signs of Spring in the air, with Snowdrops appearing, and Daffodils beginning to push through in places, but despite some really good catches of quality fish in recent years, the Grayling fishing has continued in its trend to prove difficult this winter, most certainly on the mid to lower river anyway.

There have been many reports of Salmon still spawning into February this year, which is probably due to the extremely low temperatures we have experienced through the winter months, as low as minus 17 degrees at times. I think that would slow me down a bit too if I were a Salmon. There has also been a few baggots reported, caught and returned, but the good news is that there has already been a handful of spring fish caught too, which is always a good sign.

Still relatively quiet though at the moment, apart from Salmon Kelts, which at least tells us that many fish have already spawned, despite those noticably late spawners. If you do catch a really "well mended" Kelt on your travels, and you are not sure how to distinguish it from a clean fish, (which can be difficult at times, especially if you are new to the game) look out for some of those tell tale giveaways displayed by many Kelts, such as Gill Maggots, (a small parasite living in the fishes gills) or an extended vent, denoting spawning activity, (see pictures) they are also generally narrow in feature with a distinct level belly, and although clean looking, they will not display the lustrous sheen that you will see in a Spring fish.

One or two people are now beginning to venture out though, even if it is only to get in some casting practice, ready for the new season, which I might add, did start (for Salmon) on January 15th on the Eden. Let's hope it's a good one!

Monday, 17 January 2011

High Waters Contribute to Difficult Conditions

As if we have not had enough to contend with when taking into account the poor Grayling fishing we have encountered on the middle and lower beats of the Eden over the winter period, we are now having to contend with high and coloured water conditions at what is the start of our Salmon season which opened on 15th January. With early spring fish being few and far between these days and with a shortage of anglers out on the river at this time of year, (which does not always help with true catch figures) which is down to a multitude of reasons, such as the catch and release laws that are now in place until June 16th as some anglers used to like to take a Spring fish for the pot, whether right or wrong, as they were once a great prize, and with some anglers not wanting to stress these magnificent fish if they are to be returned anyway. There are also the anglers who do not like to hook Kelt's that are making their way back to sea after spawning. You will find there are many differing opinions on all of these aspects of Salmon fishing which makes for interesting debate at times.

Personally I do not think it is rocket science and I have been in the frame of mind for the last 15 years now that a good gill tagging system (administered correctly) would solve many of the problems we are faced with in both fishing and conserving stocks. If every Salmon angler was given "say" 6 tags (just as a ball park figure) 5 red and 1 blue for instance, then the angler has a choice. He/she can use their 5 red tags for keeping fish throughout the main season and their blue tag can be reserved for a spring fish if desired. This would do away with the need for silly by-laws regarding hen fish etc. and at the same time definitely help to prevent the illegal sale of Salmon and also go some way towards the prevention of poaching as any fish caught by rod and line "if killed" would have to display one of the anglers tags (similar to the tags shown on this Irish Salmon in the picture above). The angler may even choose not to use his/her tags at all if they so wish. If we are all really honest with ourselves, three Salmon is more than enough in a season for any angler to consume and I personally make a point of only keeping up to 3 Salmon in a season anyway and the rest go carefully back.

If the tagging system was adopted by all, there would be no need for restrictions on numbers of fish caught in any one day on any one beat as once your quota for the season has been taken then that's the end of it. The choice would then be in your hands and rather than be forced to put a fish back that has a slim chance of recovering e.g. a bleeding hen fish, you could add it to your quota by using one of your tags (no waste). There are a few other benefits too, but I won't prattle on as I think you get my drift.

So anyway back to the river! I was out fishing over the winter albeit not much due to some severe weather conditions, but the few times we were out the Grayling fishing was unfortunately still very dour even in places that have fished well in the past. I had Jim and Silas out on the river last week and although the water was up a little it was in relatively good condition but the Grayling were being their recent stubborn selves once again and not giving much away, although Jim did get into what was most definitely a very good fish but it unfortunately parted company after giving a good initial account of itself. I am just waiting for the water levels to drop again now before venturing forth once again to do some early season tuition and fishing sessions. The forecast seems to be improving. Finger crossed!