It was a grey day. Damp, no wind and warm. Perfect weather for fishing but the gauge at Halfway Bridge read 0.294m, more than twice the height seven hours earlier and the river was still rising. I had hoped for a dry weekend but the occasional showers had fallen on saturated ground and drained straight into the river.
I was determined to fish the river and I had a cunning plan. On a previous visit I had surprised two Trout feeding on shrimps in the shallows between a weedbed and the river bank. With food and shelter, they might have remained in the area. I checked the lakes and collected the catch returns. There were fish rising on all the lakes but I stuck to the plan and ended my tour at Rotherbridge. The catch returns revealed that on one of the lakes, the total number of fish caught had exceeded the original number stocked. After a month of catch and release that was probably not a good thing. The fish would become uncatchable as the season progressed.
I crept behind a leafless bush below the bridge, it was not much of a hiding place but I didn’t want to frighten any fish in the margins. The water under the bank was not too coloured, I could clearly see the green shoots of the weeds. I worked a black fly down and across, leaving plenty of time for it to sink before retrieving it along the edge of the weeds. I stepped to my right after a few casts and explored the margin further downstream. I repeated this for about an hour and had one heart stopping moment when I hooked a sunken branch. Eventually I lost concentration and packed up. The water was too muddy.
As I drove away from Rotherbridge I saw a tractor spreading Nitram on a field beside the lane. The furrows ran downhill and were waterlogged. The next shower would wash the fertilizer down the slope, across the lane and into the ditch which drains into the river. It was not a pleasant thought on which to end the day.