There had only been a brief shower of rain in Newdigate but the river level had risen to 0.038m and continued to rise. How could that happen? The Rother valley is not saturated, the Greensand should soak up the odd shower. It was very annoying. I’d waited patiently for three days but I probably wouldn’t be able to fish the river.
When I got to Rotherbridge I looked through the railings, the water had a green tinge and was moving faster than normal. I could just see the roots of the streamer weed below me but the river was rising and I was not optimistic. There had been about an inch of rain overnight at Petworth, hence the reading on the gauge.
I had a leisurely lunch at Great Springs watching the Trout jump. A couple of fish were feeding but the majority were trying to shake off lice. After a walk around the lake I drove to Luffs and set up my rod. The water was calm and lifeless but I was confident of a fish or two. I walked around the road end of the lake looking for feeding fish but saw nothing except small Roach. I started fishing beyond the Willow tree because I’d found fish there on previous visits. I’d prepared the tackle carefully. The knots were good and the tippet unblemished. I made sure the line was not looped on the reel and trod down a few weeds around my feet where the loose line would fall. I’d tied on the Partridge nymph that I had created for fussy Trout. Everything was set, I just needed a take.
A gentle breeze put a curve in the fly line and I let it swing round to my left before recasting, Arthur Cove style. There was a very strong take and the fish headed for the far bank. I gave line and was careful not to touch the reel. The fish jumped several times and then continued down the lake. I was almost at the end of the fly line, the fish was nearly thirty yards away. I gained a little line but the fish took it back. The Trout relaxed and I coaxed it towards me, it kited into the trees on my left. Then the fish turned and found clear water infront of me. It had exhausted itself and was soon in the landing net. I was surprised at it’s size, I had estimated it between three and four pounds when I saw it jump but it was exactly 2lb 8ozs. It was a chubby fish in excellent condition.
I moved down below the Willow tree as a couple of Trout were feeding up and down the centre of the lake opposite the gap in the trees. The Partridge nymph was floating on the surface for a few seconds before the fluorocarbon leader dragged it under. I saw a small Trout head towards the fly, rise in the water and nose the fly before rejecting it. I cast again but the fish only gave the nymph a cursory glance and disappeared. The tippet was floating and was easily seen. I changed to a lightly weighted GRHE nymph which would sink slowly and pull the tippet under. I presented the nymph several times and the fish showed some interest but wouldn’t take.
I had a few casts from the road bank and over the dying weedbed by the boat but the Trout had stopped rising. No doubt disturbed by my casting. I packed up and drove back via Loxwood to avoid Billingshurst. It was a lovely drive.