Thursday, 20 June 2019

18th June

I checked the water level at the old bridge in Baslow at about 11 and it definitely looked fishable so arranged with Derek to meet him at the works around 2. I decided to give my 7'10'" Derwent bamboo rod an outing too. I decided on a mayfly dun at first just to see if there was any action but after a while at the sycamore decided that I was flogging a dead horse. Not a single fish rose and also the river seemed to have got decidedly more coloured. A dark olive fsn was tied on and even that didn't do the business. If I didn't know better I would think the river was devoid of fish! The river continued to cloud up and even with a slight hatch of mayfly and some yellow sallies that didn't bring much up. Even Derek was not fussed and failed to connect above the cattle drink. I worked my way up and then decided to switch to a mayfly nymph and by sheer floor took a brown. At 4 I decided to call it a day and picked Derek up on my way back to the car. It just goes to show how quick the river can colour up in a few hours, we have been caught out like this before but that has usually been below Bar Brook. Hey ho at least we wetted a line! The river will probably be out of sorts now till at least Friday.

Monday, 10 June 2019

9th June

Today I took a guest, Dave,  and so went down to Beeley again as this part of the river is beautiful, that's not saying the rest isn't!
We started in the pool above the hut using mayfly nymphs, Dave up the left side me crossing to the far bank. I soon contacted a fish which fought well initially but to my surprise it turnout to be a superb PERCH around 15" long. The nymph was well back in its mouth so it definitely wanted it. I have caught perch before in a few other pools but never thought there would be any here. Within a few more casts I landed a superb rainbow around 2 1/2lbs. Dave had switched to a dry as a few mayfly were coming off plus a few spinners were about too. He missed a good take to the dry, too eager! We only fished for about an hour here before adjourning for lunch giving the mayfly time to get active.

After lunch I thought that we would have a repeat of last Monday and fish the same pool. I gave Dave a few mayfly nymphs and duns to try. I led the way and Dave fished the fast water at the tail whilst I made my way upstream. I noticed him landing a few fish, great! I am always anxious that my guests land fish but now Dave was well into it. I persisted with the nymph and a brown was landed but the mayfly by now had started to hatch quite a lot so on went the "usual".  I proceeded up the pool to the cattle drink landing several browns losing even more! Again I reached the stepping stones and noticed a fish rising in the same place a last Monday. Again I covered it a couple of times before getting a drag free drift and up it came, a lovely brown which again had me all over the pool. 

 Notice anything about the above fish and the one from Monday? I think they are the  same fish going by the markings around the gill covers. I was about 4pm by now and the amount of mayfly duns and spinners plus sedge, and sherry type spinners was a treat to see. Needless to say at 4.15pm the heavens opened and for about 30 mins torrential rain ensued. Maybe the flies knew what was coming. We sheltered under a tree and watched the mayfly still hatching and the odd fish taking them even though the surface was pocked by all the rain. A few casts after the rain and another brown was taken but the temperature had dropped and you could see your breath, this resulted in a lack of fly and the fish went down too. I ended the day with 2 rainbows 6 browns and 1 perch. Dave had a better afternoon landing a dozen fish.     

3rd June

I decided to go down to Beeley today, on arriving Bill was also there together with a host of others. Derek arrived and decided it was too congested so went into the park. Bill and I went down to Max's bench pool. I went upstream and Bill down. No mayfly were hatching at this time around 1330 so on went a mayfly nymph and I soon landed a nice rainbow. As I waded up the pool mayfly started to hatch out however the fish seemed a bit reluctant to take any with only the odd one being splashed at. As I progressed the hatch became heavier and a few more fish were showing so on went the good old 1-up-1-down mayfly (Phil Whites pattern!) and I started to connect with fish. Several browns were  landed successfully! I managed to get right up the pool to the cattle drink this year as the winter floods had changed the river bed slightly. I decided only to cast to rising fish instead of fishing blind so although fish were rising they were not consistent in 1 place however a couple of fish covered rose again and I landed a few more browns. I got to the stepping stones and  a fish rose a couple of times in the same position, I watched it for a while then placed my fly on the direct line to it and up it came. A magnificent brown to finish the day which had me all over the pool. Below is said brown.......

I finished the afternoon with 6 browns and 2 rainbows.

Sunday, 2 June 2019


I only went out fishing the once at the beginning of the month as I have been backwards and forwards to see my Mum in hospital. 
I went into the park and fished for a couple of hours below the cricket pitch. A few fish were rising to the multitude of greenfly and black smuts which covered the surface. I only managed to land a few on a size 24 greenfly losing more! I always have problems getting the fish to stay on with the really small flies.
The mayfly started during last week and Derek tells me the hatch is even better than last year when it was a real bumper year. Planning to get out tomorrow with him............

Friday, 3 May 2019


I went out on day 1 down to the bottom end at Max's bench pool. Although nothing was rising a dark olive fox squirrel nymph proved the downfall for a couple of rainbows. I worked my way up the pool and took a couple of browns to the dark olive fsn too. I called it a day after reaching the top of the pool so not a bad opener!
The following day I went down to the willow pool and after losing a couple called it a "cold" day with a blank.
A couple of trips to the cricket pitch and things began to look up with numerous fish taking a standard fsn and as some fish were rising also on the dry, a deer hair emerger and grey sedge. Flylife was beginning to emerge, large dark olives and grannom were buzzing about.
A second visit to the bottom end again produced some lovely rainbows both to dry and nymph, the usual suspects fsn and grey sedge. As I have said before it never ceases to amaze me the quality of the fish and the fact that the overwintered fish were in impeccable condition. The Derwent had started off crystal clear, the pre-season peaty tinge had gone, it is a long time since I have seen it so clear.
A flood midway through the month coloured the river for a few days and was unfishable however once the level returned to normal again it was clear.
A lovely warm afternoon below the cricket pitch saw plenty of fly about LDOs and grannom again which resulted in 5 browns and 3 rainbows, 6 of them came to a dry, the grey sedge and black klink doing the damage. On my way out of the pool I noticed a very large hawthorne fly dead on the surface, note to self for next visit.
My final visit of April was to the sycamore pool, lots of fish were "smutting" and due the clarity of the water I could spot individual fish coming for the smuts/greenfly on the surface and taking something just under the surface film. I noticed a few hawthorne flies about before I started so on went my interpretation and immediately I took 4 rainbows in quick succession. I thought I had cracked it but alas other fish I covered didn't want to know so I switched to a greenfly and had a couple of offers but they never became "attached". After switching to a small black cdc a couple of browns were landed successfully.
So not a bad month for starters, roll on May!

Friday, 8 March 2019

That was the grayling season!

Following my last post in October 2018 I did manage to get out grayling fishing a few times. I shortly followed the first outing with a second whilst the leaves were still on the trees and the greenfly about. Again I located a shoal of grayling and took 10 again on the greenfly, all from an area the size of a tabletop. The difficulty is trying to locate the shoals.

The Uttoxeter Flyfair was visited in early November but it did not appear to be well visited by fisher folk, it transpires that it would be the last one.

I made another couple of visits to try for the grayling each time fishing above the works by the cattle drink and again located reasonable numbers of fish taken on a both nymph and a couple of dry. I find this stretch good for the grayling.

The BFFI at Stafford was also visited in February which turned out to be very well attended, this event now covers 3 halls at the venue with numerous new stalls and sessions on tying etc. Hopefully it will get "moved" to earlier maybe replacing the Uttoxeter event thus covering the start of the fly tying season?

I finished off my grayling season on the 26th Feb when I went into the park below the cricket pitch. This time locating the grayling was difficult and only at the last shout where I was fishing up from Mary's Bower did I locate four decent grayling in the 10-12" class. Maybe next season I will also fish the Dove as this is a very good grayling river especially through Dovedale where many years ago whilst fishing with Bill I landed a grayling of 21" which must have been pushing 4lb!

I hope to fish on a more regular basis next winter as this year I really felt the cold after my op.
Roll on 1st April when the new trout season starts on Chatsworth. I will definitely be fishing L&DFFA waters on the Dove more too, a great little river which is totally different to my home river, it has a great mayfly hatch which tends to come earlier than Chatsworth.

Best wishes everyone and tightlines for the coming 2019 trout season.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

It's Been a Funny Old Season!

Well that was a quick season for me! I managed to get out quite a bit as I slowly built up my fitness. When I did get out it was strange especially with the hot weather in June/July/August. Those especially hot days resulted in very few insects coming off, even into the evenings which were still hot, I recon that the hatches probably happened during the dark hours. I still managed to catch when I went fishing catching excellent stocked fish which Matthew had procured. I also caught quite a lot of wild brownies and some lovely small wild rainbows.

I went to a Bamboo and Silk day on the Cressbrook and Litton water on the Wye in August. A well attended really good day, plenty of very different bamboo rods were cast especially a Bernard Ramanauskas rod which had a perfect action also a lovely Winston rod too with nearly as good an action as the former. I took my 7'9" #4 and 7'10" #5 along and had a fish with the #4 weight late on and took a few browns and rainbows. Altogether a great day which I hope will be repeated next season.

7'9" #4 John French built on a PHY taper with Schukken reel and Phoenix silk line.

7'10' #5 John French built on modified PHY taper with Hardy Perfect and Phoenix silk line
Following my earlier post about my 1st visit, for my 2nd visit I had a good afternoon with Derek and Bill. I used my #5 weight bamboo rod with my Hardy Cascapedia with a Hardy WF5. This works the rod really well, probably better that the DT5. I landed a few fish up to about 2lb and the rod handled them excellently.
The 3 amigos!
Lynn bought me a automatic inflatable life saver as she was a bit nervous about me venturing out alone. I was a bit dubious at first but a couple of reports in the press about some people drowning whilst fishing so that swayed me to wear it!

A "poacher" below Max's Bench Pool!!!

As the hot weather continued the Derwent began to show it's bones, in all the years I have been fishing it I have never seen it so low. This situation continued until the rain came late on, some hope for the final few weeks.

As I said at the start "it's been a funny old season'!

So now onto the grayling, my first visit was last Thursday. I had been into Bakewell and visit that excellent emporium (The Flyfishing Shop Bakewell) for a natter with Peter. I was humming and haring whether to go and have an hour or two and Peter encouraged me to go. So at 1430 I got into the river below Baslow old bridge, I decided to use my Hardy Favourite 7' #2 with a #22 greenfly on. I managed a quick couple of grayling to this fly  then a few trout so decided to move lower down. I noticed a few small rises so worked my way up to them and hit on a small shoal of grayling. the next hour had me hooking loads of grayling from tiny 4 inchers to respectable 10 inchers eventually landing 8 taking my total to 10 grayling for just over an hour and a half and all on the same dry greenfly, RESULT!

So hopefully this sets the scene for the rest of the grayling season, watch this space.

N.B. Grayling Society meetings are held at The Rutland Hotel in Bakewell starting at 1930, admission £4.
October 24: Paul Procter
“Grayling - thoughts and tactics”.
November 28:  Alan Roe
Trotting for game and coarse fish, and including Wallis casting.
December 12: Stuart Crofts
“Put the Fly back into your Fly-fishing”.
January 23: Don Stazicker
“Riseforms, can you tell what they are eating?”
February 20: Paul and Sue Sissons
Fishing for Coho salmon on Kodiak Island, Alaska
March 20: Tim Jacklin
Conservation Officer (Midlands) for the Wild Trout Trust,
Information on the work the Wild Trout Trust are doing in Derbyshire

Friday, 15 June 2018

1st Visit of the season!

Today has been a long time coming following my triple heart bypass in March! Don kindly offered to accompany me on this visit as I felt a bit nervous about wading however I needn't have been as it was a "doddle"!
I met Don down at the bottom hut around 12 and after a brief chat and one of Mr Hancock's pork pies we set off. We started in the pool below the bend and it felt strange to be out for me first trip with the season almost half way through. There were still plenty of mayfly spinners about with the odd dun hatching but unfortunately rises were quite absent possibly due to the bright sun. As I worked my way upstream it felt good to be on the river and suddenly I was into a fish, a rainbow of about 1½lb to a mayfly nymph. Don was also taking fish to the dry and nymph.
Matthew arrived and after a long chat about the river, crayfish, insects etc. we made our way down to the next pool down. The small run just above usually produces some lovely small wild browns but not this time babe due to the river being exceptionally low. I put Don in the run-in and he was soon into fish, myself I struggled to get a knock so switched to a Phil White 1-up-1-down mayfly dun, this mayfly is my go to fly when the mayfly are about, I do not fish with any other dun pattern. Soon I was into a lovely brown soon followed by a second. Mayflies were everywhere together with plenty of small dance flies, some sedges, blue winged olives and yellow may duns. I have still to see a fish take one of the latter!
Derek came up about 4'ish but had completely missed us so was further downstream any it was a good time to break for a cup of tea. We spent a good hour chatting the 3 of us before Derek departed. Don and I went down to Max's bench pool but there was someone in there so we got in above and proceeded upstream. This is Derek's favourite pool too and it was not long before we started to connect with fish using the mayfly dun. We both had some lovely wild browns topped off by some in the 2-3lb class with spade like tails. We made our way back to the pool below the hut arriving around 8 to a mass of mayfly, two, yellow may dun plus unrecognised (so far) spinners, it was a magnificent sight. We spent the last couple of hours covering rising fish with the PW's mayfly dun which also does a good representation of a spinner taking fish a losing some!
We ended around 2145 Don taking well in the teens of fish, me finishing with 9 landed. It was good to get back on the river again and many thanks to Don for his support.
Roll on my next visit!

Monday, 2 April 2018

A Wet and Cold Start!

April 1st was very wet and the Derwent was well up although I suspect that there may have been one or two people out fishing especially if they had travelled a distance as the river was only carrying a small amount of colour. April 2nd dawned  with snow and the Derwent was even higher and very coloured so nothing down for today.

As for my season, well, it will be a while before I get out following my triple heart bypass just over 2 weeks ago! I am hoping that by the end of May I will be fit enough to wet a line in the meantime all my piscatorial DVDs have been viewed again and numerous books re-read. I am looking forward to those balmy evenings when I can get my new bamboo rod out.

I have cleared out all my fly boxes of the flies where hackles are a bit awry or I just don't like the look of them also those flies which you tie and never use. So at least I will have plenty of time to replenish my stocks.

Here is hoping everyone has a productive and enjoyable season.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Friday 23rd February

Today was an odd day, we were eagerly awaiting the birth of our second grandchild so plans for a reunion of work colleagues was cancelled so to appease me Lynn suggested I go fishing. Needless to say I did not need prompting twice.
A raw day looking upstream from the cattle drink
It was a bitterly cold day although the sun was out and I knew that 2 hours would do me before I started to lose the feeling in my feet. I decided to go above the works again and get in at the cattle drink. The river was still up by about 8" and was running reasonably clear with just that peaty tinge. Naturally there was nothing hatching not even any midges so it was on with a fox squirrel nymph with a tungsten bead to get it down. I worked my way up but only landed an out of season brown which whilst it was quite thin was otherwise in exceptional condition with a large spade of a tail, in a few months time it will be in even better condition. Needless to say no grayling came to hand, maybe the higher than average water had moved them. By the time I reached the top of the pool I was quite chilled so a walk back to the cattle drink and a 5 minute warm was enough to get the feeling back in my feet. I got in again but went downstream for about 10 yards and started again but this time with a pink shrimp. After a couple of casts a lovely grayling was landed soon followed by a second from practically the same spot, could this be a shoal? Again after a few more casts a grayling was dropped off however immediately after two more were landed successfully. By the time I had got level with the entry point I had another out of season trout and the breeze had got up and I was cold so although I could have carried on I called it a day with four grayling landed in a couple of hours, a good day. Only a few days left of the season now when it will be closed for March then open on 1st April.