Saturday 3 June 2023

Mid April and May

 Mid April was still rather chilly consequently fly life was sporadic and so were the rising fish! The Derwent always takes it's time to get going, April being very slow. Although I only went a few times I did manage to catch fish each time.

The first week of May we were on holiday so by the time I got on the river temperatures had increased which brought out the flies but the fish were not exactly switched on. The third week and the evenings started to look promising, the first evening I went over the road between Baslow bridges. The amount of fly was spectacular, loads of olive upright spinners, gnats, a few sedge and a few mayfly. The mayfly were a bit smaller than those which appear early June, some people say these are one year flies as opposed to the usual two year ones. 

The masses of flylife (splodges!) 

Although the olive uprights were out, I had to trap a couple to take them home to double check. The males have dark brown upper bodies but greyish under bodies, whilst the females are bright yellow with greyish tails and legs with pale grey wings. The females dropped to the water for 2-3 seconds then took off again, occasionally a fish would manage to take one. I tied a few some with a brown rib over yellow superfine the others omitting the rib. Both have dun tails and hackle with a medium dun wing parachute style. My next outing was on 2nd June, over the road below the old bridge, to test the pattern and it came up trumps. The olive uprights were still out and a few fish were rising, the first 3 fish covered were hooked and landed, one being a rather chunky oos grayling. I finished after about and hour and a half with seven fish all to either the plain bodied or ribbed fly.

The female olive uprights showing the dark bands on the top and plain underneath.

  The male olive upright (minus tails!) showing the dark top and pale underneath.

Also on my last outing I noticed some slightly larger duns/spinners to the olive uprights but not as large as mayflies but with 3 tails, I could only catch this one and after some checking through my books couldn't decided on what it was. Does anybody know what this is?

                                                                        Minus a foreleg!

Finally for my outings below the old bridge I used my 5 weight Bakewell Flyfishing bamboo rod which performed flawless including suppressing a decent rainbow around 3lbs!

Tuesday 25 April 2023

A New Season Begins

 Early April saw lots of showers and the Derwent came up and stayed there more or less, too high for fishing as I found out on the 4th when I went down to the bottom end. Although the river was up probably around 6-8 inches it was really pulling, so much so that when I got home I retrieved my life vest for future use. On checking the CO2 canister it expired in 2019! So a replacement kit was ordered and fitted.  

Back to the fishing, as it was cold there was little fly life about so I put a small black nymph with an indicator. After a few minutes a trout took the indicator! I let the fish decide whether to eat or let go but unfortunately it became foul hooked but I eventually managed to land a lovely brown but obviously it doesn't count. A few minutes later a rainbow again took the indicator and again I let it go without striking and fortunately it let go! I went down to the lower pool and crossing the river was tricky even though the river was only shin high. Up to this point I hadn't seen any rises although a few duns were trickling off.  After sitting and watching the various runs nothing showed therefore I called it a day.

Over the next few weeks the river was still up and very stained with peat, nothing like it was just prior to the season starting when it ran gin clear, very frustrating.

It was another 3 weeks until I got out again as I said above the river was too high, by the 25th it had dropped a bit and it was a lovely sunny day but a bit chilly for April with a downstream wind. I therefore decided to go above the works as it would be a bit more sheltered there.  I sat by the sycamore to see if there were any fish showing and low and behold there were a few showing on the far side but couldn't see to what. I tied on a size 18 all black klink as a starter and within a couple of casts I hooked up but only for a minute as a long distance release was achieved by what I think was a brown as it stayed deep. Another take soon followed and yet again a long distance deep release, the hook was checked and was ok! A third was hooked and again a long distance release, but this time the hook was broken, was this going to be one of those days? On went another size 18 klink and the fish were still rising in the run on the far side. The current was faster in the centre than in the run which made drag a real pain but eventually I got it right and a trout took, this time it stayed on and a lovely brown was landed, phew, a real beauty!

All the commotion put the other fish down so I started moving upstream even though no fish were showing, I even changed to a small black nymph which I managed to hook another brown but this came adrift too! Nothing else showed however the fish further down started rising again so I retreated downstream to do business. On went the same black klink and I continued to cover the risers, eventually it came right and another brown took and was successfully landed, the double (size wise) as the one above but still wearing its winter coat. I continued but the temperature was cruel and I had got chilled so sat on the bench for a while and just watched. I called it day a little later without going back in.

A good lesson I had learnt was the effect of drag even if it looked like none was there, micro drag. Fish which were covered wouldn't take yet a second or third cast when I knew it looked right and the fish took. 

Friday 3 June 2022

Thursday 2nd June

 Well how could I eclipse my previous catch! I do have a couple of videos but cannot attach them for some reason. 

I decided to have a punt down the bottom end so arrived around 1:30, the river was looking good although a bit low but gin clear for the Derwent which always carries a tinge of peat stain. Now is mayfly time but not reaching the peak yet so I was undecided if the fish would be fully onto them. I tackled up and the only other person was departing so I had the whole length from the hut to the bottom limit to myself! I went down to Max's bench pool as this is one of my favourite pools on the river. I had on my version of a mayfly nymph based on Phil Whites mayfly nymph. On my down to the pool I noticed a few fish rising in the upper pools so things looked promising. I sat on the bench to see if there was any movement and immediately noticed a few head and tail rises and the occasional splashy rise to a newly hatched mayfly although there were not that many about. Once I got in the river there were a lot of yellow sallies around with fish taking them. I trapped one for later id. here it is.

The photo of it's top was too blurred as it kept crawling!
Anyway after literally 2 casts I was into a fish, a lovely rainbow around 3lb and then the next another which was it's twin! Things were looking good. I continued up the pool taking several rainbows and eventually a lovely brown around between 1 and 2lb. I was also getting that soggy foot feeling as my waders were beginning to leak again.

There were several different flies hatching including some olives and not all successfully hatched!

Even what looked like some mayfly which had "transposed" into spinners which I think usually happens in the  trees were on the water.

I fished into the next pool too but it was not as "active" as the previous. The odd fish was moving to freshly hatched mayfly so I quickly switched to a dry mayfly and managed to land some and lose some too. Wetness was beginning to creep up my leg and so I called it a day, I finished with a lovely wildy to take my tally to 8 rainbows and 4 browns.

Wednesday 18 May 2022

Sunday and Tuesday

 On Sunday I decided to go above the works as the horse trial were in full swing in the park and I didn't want to get caught up in the traffic. I had my 10'6" #3 with me with the new Barrio line too. I went above the works to the sycamore pool where lots of fish were rising. I had a size 16 black gnat on and covered several of the rises, which were head and tail which I think indicates takes probably just below the surface, before a take and a brown was landed. Several more were covered without so much as a sniff so on went a size 18 black nymph on a curved hook with an indicator 6" above. 1st cast and another brown took and was landed followed by an oos grayling. I worked my way upstream taking a rainbow and 2 more browns. Strangely there were not many flies about apart from swarms of midges this afternoon however at 4.15 the temperature dropped quite considerably, the fish stopped showing as if a switch had been thrown and the swarms of midge disappeared. I called it a day by 4.30 finishing with 4 browns, 1 rainbow and 1 grayling.

On Tuesday it was a lovely warm day with a little cloud cover, after doing some gardening I went down to the fishing hut down Beeley. This is the first time I had been down there this season so was interested to see if the floods had changed the pools here too as further upstream there have been some major shifts of gravel and silt in the river. I got in at the pool above the hut and had on the same black nymph which did well for me on Sunday, I soon landed a bright wild brownie and this was followed by a grayling. I landed another lovely wild brownie before getting to the head of the pool. This area has certainly changed more gravel has been washed into the head reducing the size of the pool. I moved over behind the island as this always looks fishy, a decent rainbow took the nymph and was landed. I worked my way up and as the water was deeper I increased the depth of the indicator so it was around 2' now. Another lovely wild brown was landed before..... The indicator shot away and I knew I was into a large fish, at first i thought it was a large brownie as it flashed in the pool however after a minute I spotted a barbel! This was the first barbel I have caught in the 50 odd years I have been fishing, it had me all over the pool and all along I was  hoping the hook would hold. A size 16 206BL on 3lb tippet. At one point I am sure a second fish was following this. Eventually after about 15 minutes I landed it with some difficulty getting it into my net.

Following these photos and returning the fish I had to sit down and calm down as I was shaking! After this I couldn't concentrate so retired to the hut for a cuppa, Matthew turned up and I had to show him the result. I called it a day with 3 browns, 1 rainbow, 1 grayling and a magnificent barbel (by my standard).

Tuesday 10 May 2022

Sunday 8th May

 A lovely warm day and after cutting the lawn I decided to have a couple of hours between Baslow bridges. I had my 10'6" #3 but this time with a DT3 as I wanted to see if I could  make short line nymphing any easier. I had my usual FSN nymph on and started at the pool below the old bridge. The DT made casting/lobbing a bit easier with a 12' tapered leader with a 4' tippet. I landed a rainbow and a small wild brownie from the pool then went further downstream and lost a couple before reaching the new bridge. In the upstream pool a few more rainbows were landed to the FSN before i moved below the bridge and fished the pool immediately downstream. Another couple of rainbows and browns were landed to the same nymph. I was surprised that not many flies were about nor any rises but the fish were obviously feeding on the nymphs. Above the bridge again and a lovely oos grayling was brought in but it had a large gash on it's side, probably from a heron which I have spotted from time to time on this stretch. 

I finished around 5pm with 5 rainbows, 3 browns and 1 grayling for a couple of hours dibbling about!

Friday 6 May 2022

Tuesday 3rd May

 I went into the park this afternoon as wanted to see how the river had changed. It was a bit chilly but no wind thankfully, cloud cover blotted out the sun too. I got in at the stump mid way between Mary's Bower and the cricket pitch and immediately noticed how the run on the house side had been silted up forcing more of the river across the other side. This had a positive effect creating a deeper run with more current. It meant the pool current had increased but the drop off appeared to be steeper too. 

I had on my usual FSN as I wasn't sure there would be anything hatching. I was "cheating" a bit with a yarn indicator on a 14' Orvis tactical leader with 4' tippet. This "cast" better than the 30' Czech nymph leader I previously used on my Orvis 10'6" rod. Whilst the Orvis tactical nymph line is rated #1 and the rod #3 it did not seem to load the rod enough for a proper cast only a lob! I suppose if I want to use the rod for that kind of nymphing with the occasional dry fly then a heavier line will be required.

I took a lovely wild brown which was still relatively dark after its winter spawning, this was followed by 2 oos grayling. These were 2 good fish larger than the average I seem to contact in their season. Some LDO's started to hatch together with larger olive uprights so on went a size 16 dry olive. Fish started to hit it but I missed a few before another oos grayling came in and another good wild brown similar to the first. The hatch was active for maybe a couple of minutes then ceased for a few minutes before starting again and this went on for an hour or two. There were certainly more fish rising all the way up the pool whereas in previous years the fish seemed to be congregated in the lower half of the pool.

I then went up to the cricket pitch but there were only a few flies knocking about so on went the FSN again. I lost a couple before a rainbow came in, probably one of this years stocking. This pool has also changed due to the floods, it seems to be shallower nearer the bank than normal with the run being pushed further out. I worked my way up the pool with the FSN taking another brown and 2 more rainbows, the final one an absolute cracker of around 3lbs fully finned with white tips, lovely!

I finished around 5.30 and another positive from the floods was the place where I usually get out, it was much easier now as a new exit point had been worn in the bank so not having to stumble over the large stones right at the head.

A good afternoon with a triple Mc"Chatsworth" Nab, 3 browns, 3 grayling and 3 rainbows!

Tuesday 19 April 2022

Well Hello Again!

Well it's a while since I have added anything to my blog! So what have I been up to?

I spent 4 glorious days last September at Dairy House Annexe in Dorset on the Frome. The river was in good condition but my effort to get to grips with a new river sadly failed. I did manage to catch fish on each day, grayling and a couple of trout but the fact that fly activity was lacking didn't help. Needless to say it did not put me off a re-visit sometime. John Aplin was an excellent host and I can recommend the place for a fish and to stay at the Annexe too, very comfortable.

I also spent some time down in Cornwall just outside Kingsbridge, this enabled me to have a couple of afternoons fishing in the estuary there with both fly and spinner, this did not prove very successful as only 1 small bass came to hand on a spinner. At the eleventh hour just as I was about to pack up the last cast smashed my new spinning rod! This was the first (and only!) time I had used it. Just shows how rubbish cheap rods can be!

Following the close of the trout season I didn't do any grayling fishing during the winter, it was DECORATING season here in Baslow this year.

The winter produced sone big floods culminating in a rise of 5+ metres just prior to the start of the trout season. This was one of the highest recorded levels for years. I only hope that the river has not suffered from excess erosion and deposition etc.

My 2022 season started on Saturday 16th April, the day was warm which followed from the previous day so I assumed the fish may have got used to it as prior to this the temperature had been much lower than average for this time of the year. I had kept an eye on the river by the church in Baslow but little had risen during the times I had been down to check, I decided to go above the works as there is a mixture of slow and fast water there so I was hoping for some surface activity. I got down there around 2.30 and 2 people were coming back and both had taken fish. This looked promising. I sat by the sycamore for a few minutes and noticed several fish rising but couldn't see to what, nothing obvious, no LDOs or any other type of olive. I had taken my Orvis 10'6" #3 weight as I thought some nymphing would be in order but before I started I took off the long french leader and put a normal 12' leader and a size 18 black klink as there were some tiny flies stuck in surface. I covered several fish but was finding the Orvis line difficult to cast as its meant for czech/french type nymphing. Eventually I must have got it right as a fish took my fly and was on! It turned out to be a lovely brown knocking 2lbs and fin perfect! 

Not one of my best photos!!!

I continued with the black klink and soon took another trout this time a rainbow in perfect condition. Things were looking good as I had only been fishing for about 15 minutes! Fish continued to rise but my casting was definitely rusty and several times I put down risers however if I just rested the spot for a few minutes the rises started again. Several fish were contacted but lost but another 3 rainbows were landed before I started to feel the slow creep of wetness down my legs and left foot, my waders had started to leak and not the problem gentlemen of a certain age sometimes have thankfully! I called it a day at 4.30 just as Tim was coming down to fish, it was good to see him again and catch up.

So now to get my waders patched up although they are probably 5 seasons old so could do with a good service. I will probably send them off to Diver Dave unless anybody has any other recommendations.

My good friend and fellow fisherman Derek has decided more or less to hang up his rod now but I hope to still get him down to the river even if I have to take him in his bath chair! There are places on the river which are fairly easy to get in so hopefully I can persuade him to join me especially when those mayfly are streaming off.

Hope you have enjoyed reading my resurrected blog and I will endeavour to keep it up to date!

Tight lines and I hope you all have a productive season.

Sunday 6 June 2021

Normal Service Resumed

 I went down to the cattle drink above the works on Friday evening and what a sight greeted me. Lots and lots of flylife about, clouds of sedge and olives fluttering about. This photo doesn't do it justice!

Just a dusty lens to some people!

The olives were olive uprights I think. Example below:

Male Olive Upright?

At 1930 there were not many rises only the occasional one however within 10 minutes more and more fish were on the move. Whilst the amount of flies around were epic I could not make out what they were rising to as the rise tended to be more of a roll or suck. I had on a size 20 black klink and covered a few risers but couldn't get the drift right. Eventually it came right and a rainbow sucked in the fly and was duly landed on my 7'10" bamboo rod. After losing a couple I noticed a few spinners dead on the water so switches to a size 14 rusty spinner, a bit bigger than when the BWOs are about. 

As I moved up the pool I noticed a small sip several times not much more than a rod length away, I cast ahead and let the spinner drift back and a beautiful brown sipped down my fly. After a bit of a tussle this was landed and duly "snapped". A wild brown trout I'm sure as fins were arrow straight and a spade of a tail. I hope Mr PP would be proud?

Within another couple of casts another sipper was spotted and another cracking brown landed slightly smaller than the previous. I continued to be a lovely warm evening until about 2045 when the temperature started to drop. The flies continued to flit about but there were noticeably less rises, even in the fast water at the top of the pool.

Looking downstream from the cattle drink.

I became chilled so called it a day in this pool but on my way back I saw a rise by the pulpit and after a few casts landed another rainbow. Only landing 4 for the evening but a start.

This badger was spotted during my last outing, I watched it from the river and I am sure it didn't know I was there!
Mr Brock!


Wednesday 2 June 2021

Latest Update and Start of The Season

 Well since my last post I lost my Google account which lets me update my Blog! After much to'ing and fro'ing I may have recovered it!

So what's happened, not a lot! I only managed 1 outing during the winter for grayling, this was into the park and I did get a few grayling on a czech/french leader setup. I was finding it difficult with the Orvis 10'6" Helios, I need some coaching in how to use this method!

Then onto the trout season from 1st April. As most of the UK trout fishers know April was wet and cold followed by much of the same in May! 

I ventured out once in late April and decided to start below Baslow old bridge, I had on a parachute Adams and soon landed a small wild brown. This was to prove the only fish feeding for a long while! There were no rises between the bridges and an apparent lack of any fly life. As i said previously the weeks prior had been wet and cold and this must have left any nymphs secure in their hideouts. Below the new bridge I went down to the cattle drink and did spot a couple of risers but that was it, literally. Although the river was up a little it was still chilly so after that I made my way back upstream rather dejected and called it a day.

During May I constantly kept an eye on the river from the old bridge but rises were no existent. Fly life was very dour and I can only recall seeing the odd sedge and willow flies. LDOs were very absent. 

It wasn't until last Friday that I ventured out again down to the bottom end. I started around 2'ish. The river was at summer level and clear and the sun was out, temperatures had been low for the time of year so I wasn't expecting much however fish were rising in the fast water to something small or emerges as the only duns around were yellow may duns, again willow flies and the odd sedge. I decided on a small black parachute and as I worked my way up the faster water landed 2 browns and lost 2. I tried various dries and emerges but could not get the fish to take really. I ventured further downstream to Dereks pool and caught a rainbow and lost 2 browns at the head  of the pool on a parachute adams. Getting in at the bottom again I lost a good rainbow and a few casts later landed a nice one around 2lb, these on an olive nymph.

So although the 3-4 hours was frustrating at times at least fish were moving and some semblance of insect activity was happening. Usually by now the mayfly have put in an appearance but not this year yet!

The Bank holiday weekend was lovely and warm and the 1st few days of June too so hopefully things will take a turn for the better.

Wednesday 14 October 2020

Was That It Then?

 No sooner had we come out of lockdown when the rivers opened than it was the end of the season. September continued to offer pretty poor evenings to fish the last couple of hours with very little activity from both fish and insects. Temperatures were on the low side. I tended to fish more in the afternoons. One particular afternoon I went down to the bottom end, I was using my bamboo #5 weight. Usually as you progress up about half a mile fish can be picked off or raised with a neatly cast griffiths gnat or black gnat. I tried both these but could only muster a couple of browns. There just were not the insects about nor the usual rafts of weed. Afternoons spent by the works with Derek produced fish to terrestrials and small black gnats. Talking to the keeper about the issues he agreed that probably due to the biblical floods in February (highest in 50 years) this would have ripped out the weed and shifted many many tons of silt. One of the most amazing examples being down by the bottom hut were the bend just above which was very deep on the near side now has a dry silt area. Unfortunately the last days of the season was a washout with high levels.

So its on to the grayling, maybe a few hours on Thursday or Friday (16th). I will be able to christen (hopefully) my new Orvis Helios3 10'6" #3. I have been reading up on the Czech/French/high sticking practices, Paul Gaskell ( has just written a book which includes pieces on this method plus videos/tutorials about leader setup etc. I am in the midst of reading it and it is very informative. So onto the various "nymphing" methods with hopefully some dry fly on those clear days.