The overnight rain made the river rise, it was 0.032m and rising at lunch time as I left for Petworth. I parked the Land Rover and walked down the hill to the north bank at Rotherbridge. From the bridge the sandy bottom was just visible with polaroids and I decided it was fishable. There were several small Trout rising and taking midges below the bridge along the edge of the Potamageton.
We discussed the catch returns over lunch and then I drove to the Fish Pass to take some photographs. I walked slowly up the Beat looking for Trout but didn’t see anything except shoals of Dace and a small Chub. The sky was overcast and there was no wind but it was over 70 degrees. It was too hot and humid for fishing. I found some blackberries and had a snack, they go well with toffees.
I visited Taylor’s Bridge to see the improvements the Estate Maintenance Team had made. The Cow Drink and access points were complete and a lot of the mature trees had been sensitively trimmed. I walked along the north bank of Beat B, downstream of the bridge. I saw a couple of Trout taking midges under the trees. They were very spooky and although I was careful, both of them stopped rising when I crept closer. The streamer weed had started to turn an untidy brown colour at the edges signaling the approach of Autumn. I wandered back upstream and headed towards Keeper’s Bridge where I met Jerome for an evening session.
At 4:15pm I threaded the line through the rod rings, filled my pockets with tackle and set off upstream towards Perryfields with Jerome. A Trout rose in the First Pool, below the willow bush where I saw a fish last week. The bush covers most of the width of the river and could hide several Trout. After twenty minutes trying to tempt the fish with a GRHE nymph we moved up to the Long Straight. Casting across and allowing the nymph to swing round towards the near bank covered most of the pool but without a take. The clouds had thickened and a light rain fell. It was not enough to warrant a coat, more like a dense mist. I was convinced that the Gaps would produce a Trout but the water seemed more coloured and we moved up beyond the Old Riffle to the Wide Pool. The submerged tree branch in the centre of the pool was barely visible and the current was quite strong. After casting into the overhead tree and losing a couple of flies, we walked further upstream but the river was too coloured. On this day last year I fished the River Wye. It was also high and coloured but I managed a few fish.
I returned to the Old Riffle and found a Trout above the apron but it ignored my Black Nymph. I’d lost all of my GRHE nymphs in the trees. I found a fish rising in the Sandy Pool and left it for Jerome while I went to fish the tail of the pool. With the river rising we went back to the First Pool and positioned ourselves either side of the big bush. After a few casts I extended the line and dropped the nymph between the edge of the bush and the far bank, right in the main current. A large Trout rolled over and drew the leader taught. I lifted the rod and held the fish firmly to keep it out of the Willow. Too firmly. The hook pulled. That was a shame, it would have been a nice way to end the evening.
I left the river at 7:15pm, the Environment Agency gauge on the River Lod at Halfway Bridge registered 0.044m. A significant rise in an afternoon, too high and coloured for fishing.