I couldn’t resist another visit to Moorhen Fishery for some more clear water trouting, although the water was a little more coloured with algae than my previous visit a few days earlier. It wouldn’t make any difference to the visibility of my nymph because I can’t see it in gin clear water, it’s that small. I just have to go on the reaction and behaviour of the trout as it takes the fly. I went for a 4 fish ticket this time as I was returning home early the following morning and wanted to restock my freezer. I could clean them on location, bag them up and put them in the fridge overnight then fillet them when I got home.
I began with the usual PTN and picked off a couple of fish fairly quickly from under a tree in the far corner.
Rainbows of 5lb.10oz and 4lb.11oz respectively were bagged up. Once again the majority of the fish were near the margins, as they were before. It was going to be too easy to put 4 fish in the bag in no time at all, but having paid £48 for my ticket, I wanted a bit more of a challenge. I noticed a few stray fish mooching near the surface right out in the middle. They weren’t feeding but I thought a dry fly might tempt them in to having a look and who knows if that inquisitive instinct crept in, they might even take a sip.
I tied on a black Klinkhammer to my 6lb tippet, (the minimum allowed), and commenced casting, achieving good distance in the still air. I induced several takes but missed them all. Frustratingly striking too fast and not judging the take at all well at the long distance. I changed my fly to a CDC Emerger. The fish didn’t spook at all and continued to circulate the middle of the pool, occasionally coming within my casting distance where I would intercept their patrolling route. I hit into my first fish on the dry, which looked a decent size and played up to the spirit of a good sized fish. The commotion caused the other fish to scatter and then follow in excitement as they chased the fighting fish, seemingly wanting to be in on the action themselves. On weighing the exhausted fish, it only reached 2lb.5oz, somewhat disappointing, but I enjoyed the fight. My fourth and final fish of the session was caught using the same tactic and looked a lot larger at distance but again a little disappointing at weighing in at 2-14. Nonetheless, it was a great couple of hours and look forward to returning next time I am back in Hampshire.
The four fish, now filleted and residing in my freezer awaiting their final destiny with salt, pepper, dill, butter, new potatoes and peas.
Amongst the “blankers” at Clay Lane, Kieran and I still manage to catch a few on Buzzers and PTN. Soaring temperatures and bright skies seems to be the excuse for not catching here as the water colours up with algae. Small flies and light lines produce the fish of the small stockie size.
Good fun on a soft tipped rod and indeed so are the little Golden Orfe that oblige as they swim past in between the trout. The habitat here is perfect for them and it would appear even the babies are having babies.
Perseverance on the River Goyt during short sessions produced the odd small wild brown trout and reasonable sized Grayling on little dry flies of various patterns.
But there seems to be something much larger lurking around in the deeper murky depths.
As I was running a nymph through, something grabbed hold and plodded off up-stream, only turning back when it came to the shallow riffles. At first I thought I had hit bottom, but soon realised it was a heavyweight as my rod bent into this leviathan of a fish. As the Titan of the Torrs (Torrs Riverside Country Park) swam past me, I could see its torpedo outline of at least 2 ½ feet long. It didn’t stop to say hello as it cruised out of sight down-stream when the hook pulled. Was it a Barbel, or could it have been a visiting Salmon, or am I just being delusional?
For a bit of a change, I planned a trip to Dartmoor in Devon to have a go at the upper regions of the River West Dart. There were several beats I had to choose from so pre-booking was not required. And am I glad I didn’t. Talk about being on its bare bones.
Doing a day’s recce of the area, I was hoping to see this.
But in most places I found this.
There were a few deeper pools lower down the system where I found a few small wild browns holding up, occasionally rising for midges on the surface, but it didn’t feel the right thing to even attempt a minute fishing for them. Disappointingly I accepted that river fishing was out of the question and a Stillwater would be the only option.
My mid-week destination was Lifton near Launceston, to the west of Dartmoor. The famous Arundell Arms hotel http://www.arundellarms.com/fishing owns several miles of river fishing and a 3 acre lake open for day tickets at £45 to catch and release anglers. What made this option all the more attractive to me was that it was less than 100yds from my B&B and right opposite a very nice, real ale pub that served excellent home cooked food.
The lake was formerly a limestone quarry that flooded a century ago. It has gin-clear water and a maximum depth of 90 feet and at this time of year holds a massive bed of Lily pads.
It is fished from a level grassy bank along the southern shore where the blue water drops away very quickly. The lake provides exciting clear-water sight fishing for browns and rainbows that are clearly visible when cruising the margins as I found out the evening before my session. The fish, I was assured, are stocked as pounders, grow to over 10lb and are in superb condition. The water remains clear throughout the season so is always fishable and totally ideal for my preferred method of stalking with nymphs.
It was going to be a late start the following morning as I had some business to attend to in Launceston, so it wasn’t until 11 o’clock when I wet my first line. It was another very hot, sunny day and temperatures were nearing 30 degrees, even at that time of day, but I was confident in getting one or two fish on the nymph.
I could see the fish and naturally they could see me so I had to keep a low profile; the sun was behind me and casting my shadow across the margins. Sometimes I had to resort to hiding behind the only tree on the bank edge and wait for an unsuspecting fish to come within range so I could pounce with my PTN with anticipation of its direction.
The setting was absolutely gorgeous and the differing hues of blues and greens with the lime stone cliff made for some dramatic scenery as I steered my first fish towards my little scoop net I had brought for the river fishing.
Even though my first fish was only 2lb it fought well above its size in the cold waters of this pit.
It wasn’t long before I got into the rhythm of casting and intercepting the cruising fish with my nymph and further 5 fish to 4lb came to the net in 2 hours fishing before a well-earned lunch break to the pub beckoned.
After lunch I set out with a larger nymph with the intention of stalking the bigger specimens that occasionally came in to view during the afternoon.
By maintaining a low profile it wasn’t too long before one obliged and a hard fight ensued on my 5# rod and 4lb tippet. Struggling to get it anywhere near the net to land it I had to get down and lean over the bank to scoop at the fish before it turned and swam away time after time. I thought that putting too much pressure on the line would pull the hook so taking my time in the hot sun was crippling.
Finally after several attempts the fish gave in and a fin perfect 7lb rainbow was safely landed and returned.
The heat of the sun was now getting too much for me, but the fish didn’t seem to be bothered and I am sure I could have caught more than the 10 fish I ended up with had I stayed on for longer. The Fox & Grapes pub http://www.foxandgrapeslifton.co.uk/ was too much of a temptation and my thirst got the better of me, so I called it a day. Actually I called it a Jollity Hot June Day