20 April – River Tamar

I crossed the border into Cornwall, on a bright warm afternoon, to fish the River Tamar for the first time.  The conditions were not ideal but I wanted to walk the Beat and find the fish holding areas. I walked across the field to the bottom of the Beat and sat on the grass to watch the river. Grannom and Olives were hatching and a few fish were rising in the bubble lane along the far bank. There was a lot of Spring tree debris on the surface of the water and fishing a dry fly was pointless, the Trout would never distinguish the fly from the catkins and Hawthorn petals.

I tied on a size 14 weighted GRHE which would imitate both an Olive nymph and a Grannom. Flicking it beyond the gravel bed under my bank was tricky with a restricted back cast and a ten foot drop to the water. The new small stream line from Rio helped me roll cast about ten yards. After a few casts there was a twitch of the leader but I was too slow. A few minutes later a brownie grabbed the fly and charged around the river putting an end to the rise in that pool. It was my first West Country trout of the season and was very welcome.

I moved upstream and lost a small fish on the same fly. As I wandered further upstream the hatch seemed to peter out. Access to some of the pools was down a long aluminium builder’s ladder which was a bit hairy. The river bed was layered with rocky slabs covered with brown algae, wading was out of the question even in low water levels.

I reached the top of the Beat, turned and walked slowly back to where I had started. I hoped to see a fish moving but the hatch had ended. After the walk back to the car I was hot and thirsty, I must remember to take a flask of chilled water.

It had been an interesting afternoon. The combination of a wide river, overhanging trees and very difficult access to water level had been a challenge. I’ll visit the Tamar again in a few weeks when the trees are in leaf and the Trout have shelter from the sun.