Sunday, 29 June 2014

Warm Weather & Daytime Lulls

Returning a late evening trout
Over the past month, since my last post, the weather has become gradually warmer (hot at times) and very humid, making the daytime fishing (as we got further into June) much more difficult, as well as switching off much of the insect life too. This effected the optimum catching times, pushing us further and further towards late evening when fishing conditions became a little more bearable, not only for us, but also for the fish, and often the last hour before dark gave us the best results, but also giving us a good excuse to stay on into dark for a spot of Sea Trout fishing, which although sporadic, has had it's moments, with some good fish being caught around the 3lb mark. Not to mention the odd smaller fish around a pound and a half on the dry fly (late evening) despite the distinct lack of insect life. 

A good result Prospecting with the Dry 
With nothing significant to see on the water surface, in the way of flies and with spiders still under performing, (compared to previous years) prospecting with the dry fly became the name of the game, and it did pay off from time to time too, although through the day when the heat was on, the gold heads often out performed them in the faster more oxygenated areas of the river.

Great to see these young fish back
We have also been encountering some good numbers of Grayling on the river recently, especially on the lower beats, and the good news is that the majority of these fish are young fish, around the half pound mark, with some 3/4lb fish thrown in too, and enough in the 1/4lb class to let us know that stocks are seemingly thriving. These new additions certainly gave us some good sport on the dry fly whilst searching for a trout or two, and this potentially bodes well for for those of us who enjoy some good winter Grayling fishing, giving us something to look forward to.

Returning a larger Grayling
Over the last couple of years Grayling did seem to be on the decline, which was quite disconcerting given a river that regularly produced good catches of these beautiful looking fish, and prior to that they were all big fish, in the 1 & 1/2lb to 2 & 1/2lb class. With a distinct lack of these new prodigy over the past few years, this turn around goes some way to proving that this has simply been part of their natural cycle, as Grayling grow much faster than trout and have a much shorter life expectancy. There now seems to be a far better balance with regard to size, and we are certainly still catching some of those bigger fish too as you can see from the picture above. Things are looking good!

A nice fresh Eden Salmon
Before the water began to recede, due to the recent dry conditions and lack of rainfall, there were several very fresh salmon willing to take the fly, especially on some of the higher beats, where it was apparent that these hard running fish had powered through the lower sections of the river, often undetected. Many experienced anglers, and river keepers, will confirm that this indicator can be identified by the obvious scarring on the lower bodies of these magnificent creatures, telling us that they had no intention of allowing low water sections and rocky rapids to halt their upstream journey. This being the case, with the river carrying an additional foot of fresh water at the end of May, and these fresh run fish showing an interest in our offerings, I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to fish as a guest on one of these upper beats, and yes you've guessed it, managed to land one of these magnificent fish that the Eden has to offer. "A quick picture", and back to the water to continue it's upstream migration.

Richard with a good Eden Brownie
Border Game Angling also donated a full days fly fishing and tuition to the Eden Rivers Trust Auction at the end of May, and I recently spent a very pleasant day with the successful bidder Jonathan Airey and his party on the Lower Lazonby beat of the river. The group consisted of Jonathan, Ellis, Richard and James, a four rod lot and great guys to spend the day with. The day also included a riverside BBQ donated by the Tufton Arms at Appleby and cooked by their very own Chef, Michael, and I must say a great spread it was too. Although the fishing was difficult, as warm humid conditions prevailed yet again, they did manage to catch, which is always a bonus,.and as you can see from the picture, Richard landed a particularly nice brown trout.

David with a small trout
A regular visitor of mine David, also faced less than ideal conditions for a couple of days as June continued to warm up, but he still managed a few small fish on the gold heads when the dries proved difficult throughout the day. The same scenario was the order of the day for Phil Craig and Lewis too, with similar conditions, although Phil did tempt a few fish to the dry fly through sheer determination, but unfortunately lost the best chance he had on the day as a good fish parted company with his Klinkhammer.

John with one of many on a sunny day
Following on from this, whilst covering a variety of techniques on the lower river with John Dunn, often fishing in bright sunshine, against all the odds, John had an exceptional day, as he proceeded to land several trout and grayling in these less than ideal conditions, although the majority of takes did come in the broken water, which was understandable. A good result though and one I know for a fact he has repeated since.

However, we could now do with some fresh water (rain) just to inject a little life back into the river, especially for those salmon anglers out there, and certainly for those higher beats on the river, where water levels are now very low in places. That said, the fact that the air has cooled down a bit at the moment and conditions are a little more comfortable, (for us and for the fish) we are still getting some good catches of trout and grayling in places on the lower river, but a little rain wouldn't go a miss. I will keep you all informed!