10 October – Devon Season Ends

The brown trout season on the Devon rivers had ended. The recent rain had freshened the water and I thought a leisurely walk on the moor might do the same for me. Without a rod. Hundreds of elderly Lycramaniacs wobbled along the roads participating in a Dartmoor charity cycle ride. I changed direction and headed for the privacy of the Tavy valley.

River Walkham

The River Tavy was surprisingly clear. The algae had been sand blasted off the stones by the recent spates and had washed downstream into Plymouth Sound. The cloudless blue sky failed to filter the intense sunlight and the deepest pools were brightly illuminated, I could see every rock and crevice. I stood watching a pool while replaying casts I had made earlier in the season. I had imagined a deep run along the far bank but instead there was a shingle bank, I had been overcasting the best lies.

River Walkham above Double Waters

I wandered along the river keeping close to the waters edge, making a note of the rock ledges, deep holes and slacks. The fast flowing water exaggerated the river’s features. The sand and gravel would shift around during the winter spates but the bedrock would not.

Secret Path

There were hundreds of Blue Winged Olives hatching but no fish rising. A kingfisher zoomed past about twenty feet above the river, unusually high. Grey wagtails rock-hopped along the far bank beneath the overhanging branches. I stood on the top of a heap of mine waste, poisoned with arsenic and devoid of any plant life. Looking down into the deep run I could see brown and amber leaves being thrown around like the contents of a child’s snow dome. Guaranteed to foul a salmon anglers fly or lure on every cast.

River Walkham

It was good to be beside the cool clear river on a quiet autumn afternoon. The season on the West Sussex Rother closes at the end of October, I have a few days left.