I saw a Trout upstream of the bridge and a small shoal of Dace flashing silver on the sand between the beds of streamer weed. Rotherbridge was exposed to the strong prevailing wind and it looked like casting was going to be hard work.
I walked up to the New Riffle and crept to the top of the pool under the trees. The flow had increased and the river was a transparent shade of jade green. A few Olives and Mayfly fought against the wind but inevitably crash landed on the ripples. I worked a copper ribbed Hare’s Ear nymph down the deep channel and just as I was off-balance, shuffling through the nettles, there was a rattle on the rod. I cursed my bad luck and steadied myself. The next cast across the channel ended with a take from a fat little wild Trout. It was in good condition and had obviously been feeding well on the shrimps and nymphs in the riffle.
I moved upstream to the big bend above the cattle drink and sat in the sun for a while admiring the soft light on the water meadows and trees. I fished the deep water on the outside of the bend without a response. I walked further up the river, past the long straight, through the tree tunnel and rested opposite an Alder tree where a fish had risen.
The trout ignored a series of nymphs and I decided to swap to a dry fly. If only I had remembered to put the box in my pocket. I scoured the nymph box and found an emerger that had a hackle. The Trout looked at it a few times but was not fooled. It wanted newly hatched Duns and had plenty of naturals to chose from. The fish was moving around the pool, it didn’t have a patrol route or station. At first glance it looked like a group of fish. Eventually it tired of my casting and went down.
The wind dropped and a good hatch further upstream encouraged several fish to rise. Three or four small fish and one better Trout were rising together, picking off Duns before they could free themselves from the surface film. I tried the emerger Mayfly with a short hackle. It was rejected because the tippet was too visible. I swapped to a pale yellow nymph with a short grizzle hackle. I had a couple of violent takes but missed both.
I watched the Duns float downstream and dropped my fly under the tree next to one. The biggest Trout took the fly and I connected for a second. That put the fish down and I made my way back to Rotherbridge.
I fired a long cast across the river to the far bank where I had earlier seen a Trout. It rose immediately and surprised me. I missed. It was cold and the light was failing. I had a pint at The Badgers before driving home through the deserted lanes.
Would a proper dry fly have made a difference ? I doubt it, the tippet was visible and the Trout had plenty of natural Mayfly.