22 May – Keeper’s Bridge

During the morning I toured the lakes and the river collecting the catch returns and chatting to other members. Mayfly were hatching everywhere. By 2:00pm the sun had burnt off the clouds leaving only wispy bits, high in a deep blue sky. Very Mediterranean. It was extremely hot and the gentle breeze was downstream,  not very helpful. The water level had dropped after the inch of rain last Wednesday but the water was still slightly coloured. I drove to Keeper’s Bridge and tackled up under the silver birch. It was too hot for fishing. I walked very slowly downstream looking for trout. I hoped that, like the trout,  I could find shelter under the Alder trees.

There were no fish rising so I explored under the bushes and alongside the streamer weed with a black nymph. After three or four bushes a trout grabbed the fly and sulked on the bottom. I thought it had snagged me but a long steady lift with the rod bought the fish up in the water and the usual tearing around and splashing commenced.  It was about 2lb and had a small scar from a cormorant. Filled with confidence I made my way down to the new riffle, stopping to explore under every tree along the far bank. Nothing. The riffle looked good but I couldn’t get a take. I fished my way back to Keeper’s Bridge and found a rising fish under the alder trees just below the bridge. I tied on a Mayfly with a white Neoprene body and presented it carefully just upstream of the trout. It took first cast but got off. Rats. I judged a cast badly and lost the entire leader in a tree. I hadn’t bothered to replace a badly worn joint before I left home. The bodged needle knot did nothing to improve presentation.


I sat and watched the river for a while. Then I sheltered from the sun on the edge of the wood, keeping an eye on the water.  Jerome arrived and went downstream. I saw two fish rise opposite me about twenty yards apart. Definitely not the same fish. I watched the upstream fish. It rose under a tree branch and delicately sipped down a newly hatched Mayfly. Several times. I crawled towards the fish Indian style, sliding the last few yards on my side. The first cast was short, the second cast was perfect. The trout rose and accepted my imitation. I hustled the fish into the landing net trying not to disturb the downstream trout.


After I had released the trout I stood back from the waters edge in the tree line and waited for trout Number 2. It didn’t show. Jerome and I walked upstream looking for another target but found nothing. We returned to trout Number 2 and on the third cast I induced a take by twitching the Mayfly. Jerome netted the fish and released it. We will return tomorrow and swap roles. It had been another very long, hot and exhausting day. It had been fun.