15 September – River Tavy

Summer had come to an end, the morning was chilly and the lawn had a silvery coating. The leaves were starting to turn and the roses were all dead. I checked the end date for the Devon trout season and was surprised to see that I only had a couple of weeks left. It’s the same date every year and therefore it should not have been a surprise !

The bright sunshine and gusty wind dictated a sheltered river valley and I chose the River Tavy mainly because of the lovely scenery, a trout would be a bonus. I started later than normal, arriving at the river mid-afternoon, planning to fish until dusk.

The river looked great, slightly above the normal summer level and with a little colour. Perfect conditions. I managed to loop the line around a reel pillar while setting up and the line felt odd until I realised and started afresh. While I re-strung the rod I saw an osprey directly overhead, just above the tree canopy. I checked later and it had also been reported over Lopwell. That lifted my spirits and I fished down the runs confident that I would find a few fish.

I reached a wide riffle with a long flat downstream and decided to sit on a rock while covering the water. I misjudged the position of the rock and ended up sitting in the river. The water temperature was about 13 degrees. I laughed and tried to remember the last time I had fallen in the river. I couldn’t recall, it must have been years ago.

I rolled the line across the main current and drifted the nymph down and across the likely holding places on the edge of the bubble line. I had a tap on the rod but missed it. The bedrock had been exposed during the spates, deep crevices and holes must have held trout but I could not encourage them to take the fly.

The sunlight became a grey overcast and a few upwing flies hatched. A couple of trout rose in midstream and I changed to a dry fly. I waited for a fish to reveal it’s position and flicked the fly well above the rise. Nothing. The first cast had failed and the fish went down. I felt a bit chilly in my wet clothes and at dusk I left the river fishless but having enjoyed the scenery and wildlife.