12 July – Summer Spate

Heavy rain yesterday had cleared the air and settled the dust. The temperature was in the mid sixties and the wind was a light north-easterly. A very strange direction for July.

I got to the river about 1:00pm, earlier than planned. I was relieved to see that the water had only risen a couple of inches and was not too coloured. It was humid and thundery but when the clouds parted the sunlight was intense. The air was thick with summer perfumes, butterflies and blue damsel flies. There were thousands of common red Soldier Beetles (Rhagonycha fulva) on the flowers, they seemed to prefer the cow parsley.

I signed in at the Fish Pass and went to have a look at the pool where I had seen a monster sea trout on Monday. The wind was blustery and it made casting tricky. When I eventually got the fly in the water a sea trout shot out from under the Willow, grabbed the fly and zig-zagged around the pool before dropping the fly and disappearing downstream. It all happened so fast, I was unable to react.


The Badgers looked inviting but I resisted the temptation. I moved up to the Long Straight and worked a nymph down and across but the water was too coloured for the trout to see the fly unless it passed very close to them. I persevered, moving upstream but the water was dead. I decided to cut my losses and change to another beat. Somewhere a bit shallower so the fish had a chance to see the fly.


I drove to Keeper’s Bridge and decided to walk downstream, fishing the usual pools until I got to the New Riffle. There were a few fish splashing around in the riffle and in the pool immediately below it but they were not feeding. After thirty minutes of searching the riffle with a Mayfly nymph a fish rose and took a fly in the tail of the pool. I spent about an hour chasing rising fish around the pools but I didn’t get a take. The majority of the splashes were sea trout larking about. Very frustrating.

I walked back towards Keeper’s Bridge, the splashes became more frequent and more violent as the sun went down. I worked hard all the way back to the bridge but I had no response. It had been an interesting afternoon. When the water level drops back to normal it should be possible to find a few sea trout.