I don’t know about you but it seems that all my fly fishing exploits came to an end sometime before Christmas and are still pretty much on hold and it’s all down to the weather we have been having.
At the end of last year it was the floods that put a halt to proceedings then followed by a serious cold spell with significant snow. Things have thawed out now but we are back to spells of high rainfall, couple this with the melting snow and the rivers are out of their banks again making the low lying land look like one massive lake.
I managed a trip out the other day on a small Stillwater for an article for a magazine. We ending up having to smash ice from the margins to land the fish and the actual fishing efforts were limited to short stints in the open before retiring to the lodge for a hot cuppa and a warm up. All though fishing in these conditions does not appeal to many, as the empty banks proved, I was rewarded for my efforts with several Rainbow trout and one really special Brown trout. This was a full tailed specimen of around 7lbs that lead me on a merry dance and at one point took my line a good 10 yards under a raft of ice! I will publish some pictures of the fish on my web site but can’t do this until the article is published by the online magazine Eat Sleep Fish. Check out this magazine online if you haven’t already come across it, it makes a great read for when the rain is lashing against the window!
This time of year I’m looking towards grayling and pike on rivers as my main targets but haven’t managed one trip yet thanks to high river levels. In fact if you look at the Somerset levels at the moment, where I like to go after pike, it’s hard to see when the rivers there will be fishable again. It’s the same story with the chalk streams and the grayling. They rise then hold their level due to the water table rising and feeding their flows even when the rain stops. You would even be struggling with the heaviest nymphs in the fly box at the moment on local rivers and chalk streams, unless you have some in the 8oz range!
So what’s ahead for the coming trout season? One thing’s for sure, that’s that water levels should remain fairly stable even if we have a dry spell. What will catch out some river fisherman is that they may have to learn to fish their local rivers all over again. This will be down to the fact that with the incredible floods we have had the river bed profile will have changed dramatically. It will have been gouged out changing the shape of favourite pools and altering the depth by depositing debris in slacker areas. This all means that you may find the best fish holding spots are gone and that you have to go in search again to find the fish. This could all mean it may be a very interesting season for you with new challenges ahead.