During the four days since my last visit to the river the weather had been very hot and humid. Most days exceeded 30 degrees and it had sapped my energy. The temperature of the lakes had reached 24 degrees, dangerously high for rainbow trout. The fish had disappeared into the deepest part of the lakes trying to find cooler water.
In the evening I went to Great Springs for a meeting. Club business was conducted, cool beer and nibbles were consumed. It was 7:45pm before I set up my rod and wandered down the farm track to Keeper’s Bridge. Another member was casting to a frequently rising fish under the big Alder tree. The casts were accurate but the trout was not impressed. I went upstream towards Perryfields Barn, pausing at the holes in the tree line to look for rising fish. Just below the old riffle I saw a fish rise and sat down behind the nettles to select a fly and sort out my casting angle.
I tied on an Adams as there were loads of midges hatching. There were also plenty of horse flies dropping out of the trees and trying to eat me. I put a short line along the grass to get the distance and casting angle then flicked it up into the Alder tree above me. It took a while to untangle everything but the fish kept rising. On the second attempt the cast was perfect, the fly settled on the water just above the fish which immediately rose and took it. The fish was a small chub that fought like a trout.
I returned the chub downstream because another fish was rising at the end of the pool. By the time I got back to the second fish it had disappeared so I moved further upstream. I wanted to fish the big, wide pool with the sunken tree. When I arrived at the pool there was no sign of a trout so I sat on the grass and preened the Adams which was slimy from the encounter with the chub. I dried the hackle and stretched the tippet. A fish rose at the bottom of the pool, near a large bush. I lengthened the line and flicked it towards the river. It hung from the top of the Alder tree on my left. I had repeated the earlier amateurish mistake.
It took a while to untangle the mess as the fly line had caught in a particularly nasty clump of Alder catkins. By good fortune, during the interlude, the rising fish had moved up the pool and was rising opposite me. I checked the Alder tree and the electric fence, then flicked the fly towards the rise. The Adams landed perfectly and was immediately grabbed by the trout. The fish fought in exactly the same way as the previous trout from that pool. Lots of splashing followed by circuits of the pool then a couple of long deep runs upstream. Spooky, I wondered if it was the same fish.
The horse flies were attacking in squadrons so I walked quickly back to the open stretch of river below the Sandy Pool. I sat on the grass for a few minutes and eventually a small fish rose in the tail of the pool below a fallen tree branch. As I was approaching that rise a bigger fish rose about ten yards further downstream. I sat behind a gap in the bushes and watched the fish. It was feeding confidently. I got the landing net ready and flicked a Mayfly towards the trout. I had seen a few hatching. To my surprise there was no response. I rested the fish and it rose again upstream, a big splashy rise. While I was deciding what to do there was a tremendous, thumping swirl downstream, to my right. I was convinced the fish would take but after trying several different patterns there was no response. It was either a sea trout or one of the recently stocked monsters. I left at 9:15pm and drove home with the windows and vents open, it was still hot. I will return to that pool. Soon.