Monday, 1 June 2020

May and Back on The River!

Well it is 11 months since I last fished due to family illness and bereavement. So I was looking forward to getting back on the river after the lockdown was lifted for our fishery last Friday. I met up with Bill and Keith around 1030 at the bottom hut. They had already been in the river and snook a few fish. After the usual pleasantries I decided to go further downstream to see if anything was happening. The odd fish was showing with occasional mayfly coming off. Olives and black gnats too. My casting was a bit rusty after my lay-off but I soon got into my stride. I had decided on a black gnat as there were many around, I worked my up the pool but rises were few and far between here. Eventually a nice brown rose to my fly and a delay to my strike ensured a well hooked fish which was duly landed. As I progressed up the pool a couple of takes were missed so around 1 I reeled in and met up with the chaps for lunch. Lunch was one of Hancocks pork pies, still warm when I collected it too! Needless to say we soon demolished it. I also want to add that all this was accomplished with sensible social distancing, even cutting the pie was done without touching it. Following a leisurely lunch I was changing my fly and rested my rod against my car, I locked the car forgetting my rod was against the door mirror, needless to say it chopped the rod like a guillotine! At least with Sage rods it has a lifetime warranty however it was still going to cost £120 to fix it. Bill and Keith called it a day as they had been there since early doors. Luckily I had 1 of my bamboo rods with me so tackled up again and I went back to the pool I had half fished and carried on. I only successfully landed another brown so I called it a day after an hour, it was great to get out again after such a long break.

Last week I  had a couple of visits just over the road below Baslow Old Bridge. On Tuesday it had been such a warm day and lots of spinners in the garden too,  I had decided to use my bamboo rod a 7'10" #5, such a joy to use as a difference to the carbon rods. I had an olive cdc dun on and landed a nice brown from a run on the far side, always a tricky cast! Progressing up the pool I lost the fly in a decent fish and decided on a change to a griffiths gnat. Another brown followed by a rainbow around 2lbs completed a lovely couple of hours before dark.

The following evening I again went across the road to fish the pool below Baslow Old Bridge. The first fish was another cracking rainbow, fully finned and fighting fit around 2lbs. There then followed a first for me, I hooked into a fish which went wild, it turned out to be a blue trout and as it lay in my net I noticed a fly in its top lip. It was the fly I lost the previous evening to this fish, an olive cdc dun, obviously not affecting the fish's eating habits! I finished off the evening with a final brown to take my tally to 3.

On Sunday evening I went down to the bottom hut again, Derek had kindly lent me a rod to use. The pool above the hut looked inviting with plenty of fly about but nothing showing. I had on a black gnat  as there were many about. In the fast water my fly became waterlogged but whilst I was distracted by a couple of grey wagtails a fish tugged the fly and was on, sheer fluke. A cracking 2½lb rainbow was landed. I tried various other runs to no avail so went to the next pool down but first tried the fast water as I went, again I was distracted by something and the fly was take and a brown hooked itself, fluke number 2! I finished off with another brown from the next pool before calling it a day after an hour. I was feeling a bit vulnerable as there had been several instances of poaching on the river today together with numerous on the Wye and being alone down near the bottom without communication was un-nerving me. Usually it doesn't both me fishing alone but not this time!

May was a quick month fishing wise but a decent start to an unusual beginning. Wishing all my readers a safe and successful season and take care.

Monday, 1 July 2019

22nd June

This evening  I went down to the Willow pool around 7.30 pm, it was a lovely warm evening with a clear sky, a few fish were rising as I tackled up at the hut. Things looked good! Again I started with the grey olive parachute as it represents a small olive dun and there were a few about. Fish were rising everywhere but they were head and tailing however I soon contacted a lively rainbow which was landed. As I worked my way up the pool sedge, midge and duns started coming off with the occasional mayfly too, a real treat for both fisherman and fish. I landed a brown but I was coming to the conclusion that this was not the correct fly as several trout covered ignored my offering. I switched to a small brown sedge again and immediately took a lovely brown around 1.5 lbs followed quickly by a rainbow which flipped out of my hand and took the sedge with it! Both fish head and tailed to the sedge and it took all my willpower to delay the strike. How many times do I strike too soon, wait, wait, strike. It turned out that I only had the one brown sedge with me as I hadn't updated my flybox recently so on went a size 18 grey sedge. This too started working it's magic with the head and tailers plus a couple of splashy risers too. I finished around 9.30 as again the temperature dropped and so did the fish  but 8 fish for a couple of hours was a result for me. Before my next visit I must update my flybox as it's rusty spinner as well as sedge time too!

21st June

On Friday I had a few hours spare so just went over the road below Baslow old bridge from about 7.30 pm. I sat on the bench for a while to see if anything was rising and there were a few small dimples looking up to the right, small grayling I assumed. I had on a size 18 grey olive parachute as nothing of note was about. I also had my John French bamboo rod out for the first time this season. I covered the first dimple a few times but nothing came to my fly and as the fish was still showing I changed to a small b brown sedge and first cast hooked not a grayling but a lovely wild brownie about 10". I continued up and hooked and lost a couple more before landing another brownie about the same size as the first on the brown sedge.

I then went down to the pool below as I had spotted a few rises there too and floated the sedge downstream to a fish which eventually took but was soon off due to the downstream drift I suspect! I switched to the other bank and made my way up but nothing was showing until I reached the top where after prospecting with the sedge two more browns were landed. The temperature dropped around 8.30 and with it the fish stopped moving so I called it a day at 9 pm.

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