Five days ago the river had risen dramatically and was coloured by the run-off from the newly tilled fields. The soil in the river valley is very sandy. The rain came at the wrong time for both harvesting the wheat and planting winter greens. Yesterday the water level was high and the water was quite coloured. I decided not to fish. Today’s weather forecast was very confusing but I thought the river would be in good condition and the trout would be hungry after sheltering from the high water.
Before last week’s rain there were lots of fish around Rotherbridge. The New Riffle is only a short walk from there and I decided to fish Beat D, upstream of the bridge. I arrived about 4:00pm and tackled up beside the Land Rover. As I approached the river I saw several fish rising along the two hundred yard stretch above the bridge. There was also a fish under the bushes beside the bridge.
I hid behind a tall clump of Himalayan Balsam opposite the farm and cast a size 14 dry fly to a rising fish. It took second cast and charged off downstream. A loop of fly line caught on the reel handle and the Trout escaped as my fly pinged back towards me. How annoying. I moved a few yards upstream to another rising fish. I presented several flies carefully. They were inspected, carefully, before being ignored. Even my Neoprene Nymph was rejected. I rested the fish, had a toffee and started again with a size 14 Pheasant Tail. The fish took the fly even though it had previously been rejected. I returned the trout from the landing net and it dashed off into the weeds.
A much bigger fish was crashing about close to my bank just above the big Alder tree. It was feeding with attitude. I tried all the dry flies in the box but the fish eventually disappeared. It was probably my poor presentation that put it down.
I walked up to the straight below the riffle but I couldn’t find a rising fish. On the way back downstream I saw a fish rise by the small landing stage and spent an hour trying to entice it into accepting various patterns. Then the fish changed position, it was feeding closer to me. It was close enough to drop the fly over it with just the leader outside the tip ring. Through a tangle of balsam flowers I saw the fish take the fly. It screamed downstream close to my bank, across the river and into a clump of streamer weed. I bullied it back across the flow and drew an angry Trout into the landing net. It was a short, thickset fish about 2lb. It gave me a dirty look as I released it. Everything about that fish was aggressive.
I tried to find the Trout by the bridge but two swans had stirred up the weeds and put all the fish down. I left just before 9:00pm. Four takes, four hooked fish. The fish had been hungry as I expected but they were fussy eaters.