16 April – River and Lakes

It was a beautiful Spring morning. The air was clean and fresh. The wind was quite blustery but kept the clouds on the move. As I drove along the lane at Riverhill the landscape looked like it had been painted by John Constable which was quite appropriate. I stopped at the gate, definitely not 18th Century, and watched the clouds billowing over the South Downs. The prevailing wind was driving up the Channel and climbing up the chalk ridge. The light was constantly changing and had a soft pink tint.

I walked around Little Bognor, the water had cleared and the shafts of light highlighted the Beech leaves on the bottom of the lake. There was a solitary bluebell beside the track leading to the top lake. This time last year there were millions of bluebells in the woods. Everything had been checked by the snow and was about a month late.


I left Little Bognor and went to Taylors Bridge. The water had dropped a little but was still very coloured. I drove to Rotherbridge to check on the resident Trout. One of the fish was there but spooked as soon as it saw me. That fish had been in the same location for nearly two weeks but as the water level drops, it will have to find shrimps elsewhere.

I drove to Great Springs and had my usual cup of tea and a biscuit. There were lots of fish rising at Little Springs. They were feeding, not just splashing and jumping. After discussing the catch returns I parked the Land Rover at Hungers Lane and walked down the slope to cover the fish from the North bank. I would have the sun in my face and I could cast to the Trout without it seeing the fly line. There were two flaws in my cunning plan; with the wind against me I could not reach the far bank and a tractor drove along the South bank putting the fish down.


I returned to Little Bognor and had lunch in the sunshine while watching the Trout. Debris from the trees blew down the lake and into the corner under the old Yew tree. Trout were testing the leaves and buds to see if they were edible. There was such a lot of debris that it was impossible for the fish to find a dry fly at that end of the lake. I moved around the lake and covered a few rising fish but they were ultra spooky and disappeared as soon as I cast. I packed up after an hour, I was tired and couldn’t concentrate.

I enjoyed the time in the sunshine and anticipated success on the river later in the week.