22nd April, Rowlands Gill… Bloody awful!!




Looking back over my records, it seems to be par for the course for this time in the year, good day… bad day.. and so it goes until the weather settles down.


And so it was on Saturday, arriving at Rowlands Gill for about 12.30, quickly suited and booted and off we went. Fishing with Malcolm again today. Arriving at the weirpool at the top of the water here. Conditions were perfect, not too warm or cold, little or no wind and partial cloud.


Fishing first through the weir pool, nothing doing no fish spotted rising, not too odd on this particular run though.


Malcolm decided not to fish this pool, so off we went to the “split” in the river, again nothing doing except I got an almighty tangle just second cast in so applying a new leader kept me busy as Malcolm worked downstream, I followed after him…. Catching nothing but weed.. about every second or third cast… hopefully some fresh water will help with this as it is a major problem right now.



Anyhow onwards and.. well onwards. Onto BBQ run and I had a slash at my flies but the fish missed them!! Still a little action is better than none at all.


That was as good as it got for me, funnel pool and deep pool after it … which normally has fish sitting in there were dead…. No signs of fish rising at all, nothing a really poor day. Combined with the amount of weed made it more than a little frustrating. Malcolm had one take down from BBQ but neither of us caught…


So back to where I started, last year was actually a little slower early season, before I checked I had this down as a dreadful start but that’s just not the case, hopefully the rain we had earlier this week will freshen things up somewhat, I may even get a trip out this Friday!!

Easter weekend 15th – 17thApril

Another double header report today as I manage to get a couple of trips in over Easter weekend, having done my Bank Holiday home decorating Duties on Friday, I was looking at a Saturday / Monday “COMBO”

Saturday I met with Malcolm at Winlaton Mill and we had already decided to have a walk up past the viaduct, we did   mention that the wind was strengthening on the way  up, there wasn’t a lot to be seen rising as we walked alongside the river.

I wish I had glad tiding about Friday but with a very gusty downstream wind casting at times was nigh on impossible and we never saw a sniff of a fish as we worked our way down to the viaduct, tangles and casting frustration were the order of the day.

As we got down to dog walk casting was considerably easier though as we were now fishing off the right hand bank. I went through dog walk first and spotted a riser.. despite a good thrashing in and about his general location he wasn’t interested in my offerings only getting the gentlest of takes, Malcolm had more luck though and hooked into a fish.


Out we climbed and down to the stone bridge, I jumped in upstream Malcolm just downstream, there was a fish rising right under the bridge and after a slash at my flies I hooked into a small trout.. most welcome he was too after about  2½ very challenging hours without much action. A paltry fish by pretty much anyone’s standard coming in around 7” and taken on the stripey spider!

That was that for the day though, hard hard work and I was done in when I was finished, not a good day but I guess they make the decent days all the sweeter.

Monday was a different proposition all together though, Winlaton was packed…and I mean packed with day trippers so I headed a couple of miles up the road to Rowlands Gill arriving about 12.30, my first trip up here this year… and as is often the case it fished really well….. It was pretty busy up there too , a dry day and a bank holiday meant the place was swarming. As a consequence I decided to just jump in past the BBQ stretch, kitted up with a Greenwell’s spider on the point and a stripey spider on the dropper, off I set.

Oh the job about 15 minutes in and a tangle….so new leader went on and I worked my way downstream, no action in the funnel pool but I did spy a fish rising right on the exit of this pool on the left hand side and I got a very strong take off him as I swung by with my flies but he didn’t stick, felt like a good fish too, stood at the “opening” to the next pool there was a few fish starting to show now, one at an acute angle on the far bank, a tricky short cast but I managed to land the flies somewhere near and had a take.. fish on, a short fight ensued before he came to hand; a decent enough start a nice 9” wild fish taken on the stripey spider at around 1.15pm. This was followed in the next riffly run by a small out of season grayling taken on the same fly some twenty minutes later, then another .. brownie this time , from the same run… same fly.


Now into the slower water just before 2pm and there was more than a few fish taking flies from the surface now, as I worked my was down, I spied an occasional riser.. looked a good fish just sitting next to a low lying tree… slowly slowly I approached, first cast nothing, but second time, watching the end of the fly line..and off it went under the water and I lift into a decent fish, the rod bent and game on! He was trying to get to the tree roots at the far bank but I stopped him, obviously unhappy he made a couple of splashy jumps before sliding into my waiting net. A good fish …wild fish, around 15” taken right on 2pm on the stripey spider.

Just on the bend of the river now and still time for a couple of fish, the first another nice wild fish of  around 10” taken on the brown spider and last but not least past the bend smaller fish of about 8” on the brown spider again.  

It’s lovely on the river this time of year, a lot of the trees are starting to come into leaf, some cherry blossom about and a few flies starting to hatch on the river.

Tale of two trips 8th April and 10th April

WOW talk about a tale of two trips,

Firstly Saturday 8th April.

The weather didn’t look too good for fishing it has to be said, not a cloud in the sky combined with unseasonably warm at about 18°C is not a good  combination for fishing, well that’s my excuse.


I had decided to familiarise myself some more with the cricket club to rugby club stretch of water today, having fished it for the first time earlier in the season.

So armed with a couple of cheese pasties and a cold drink, I arrived at the water about 12.30 fishing with a fishing buddy today. We started fishing about 200 yards above the footbridge where there is some fast riffly water, Malcolm fished through these runs before the bridge first and took a couple of small brownies, one either size of the bridge.

We swapped over here and I took first dibs on the next stretch, some very inviting deeper pools but as time wore on…and I worked my way through my fly box, it clearly wasn’t going to be my day, we worked our way all the way down to the rugby club, seeing very little rise and me…..not getting a single bite.

We did try a drive up to Winlaton Mill …. And Rowlands Gill but day trippers were out in force so that looked like that. However if nothing else I am persistent. I parked back up at the cricket club determined not to blank!! And low and behold just above the bridge I had a gentle pull on the black spider…and next cast he was on… and what a monster….he must have been at the very least 4” long.. blank off!! I had another 10 minutes fishing just under the bridge but nothing!! That was that for the day.

I’m not too sure about this stretch of water to be honest, I may give it a go later on in the year see what it is like, there are some very fishy looking pools but not a lot of action in them .. so far.

Monday 10th April was different again, being a weekday and a fair bit cooler the day trippers and dog walkers were conspicuous by their absence , I mooched up to Dog walk run at Rowlands Gill, landing on the water almost on the stroke of High noon.  I was armed with a Greenwell’s spider on the point and black spider on the dropper…. And for the first hour it looked like a repeat of Saturday was on the cards, I worked down to the first run after dog walk then fished it through again but with a Goldhead on the point. Towards the end of Dog walk I had a pull…happy days, some action at last.

A few olives were now coming off and fish were starting to rise around me, one decent looking  and so the fish seemed to switch on, after a few missed pulls I landed the first of the day a nice small brownie of about 9″ taken on the black spider.

Now in the slower water above high dam I spotted a confident riser as I worked downstream. I stopped about twenty feet above him rise after rise sometimes in quick order too, so I set about him! cast…cast….cast…fly change, cast cast, he didnt want to know , three or four flies and 15 minutes later, nothing.So on went a dry…my version of an Adams, although it looks a bloody monstrosity to be honest, first cast and a swirl but no hookup, then nothing. Hmm another change to a Griffiths Gnat this time and this was the one first cast and a solid hookup a short but acrobatic fight ensued before he slipped into my net in the shallow water…a triumph of persistence ! a very nice 13″ brown taken at 13.49.

This was folled half an hour later by a similar sized fish also taken in this slow water..somewhat downstream taken on a wet Greenwells spider.

So out I climbed and jumped back in just above the bridge, managing to cross the river without falling in as I had spectators from the bridge.First cast into the streamy water that enters the bridge and another fish on, a small one of around 6″ a nice silvery brownie taken on the “striped spider”.

I was then approached by a couple of EA  Bailiffs .. which is a rare treat on the Derwent, permit checked and a bit of craic, I was off down stream. Nothing doing until I got to the bend where I had to highstick midstrem to get to a likely spot and a strong pull ….. he was in the fast water there and it was difficult to turn him but eventually he came to hand and another fine fish again about 12″ andagain taken on my now scruffy Greewells spider.

That was about it for me, I had time to take a greedy out of season Grayling of 7″ on the striped spider , it was now just after quarter past three, I had one more very strong pull off a persistent riser who I was bothering right on the bend butI missed this one.

The two trips really couldn’t have been more different, conditions were considerably better on Monday but I was really surprised at the amount ofdecent fish on the fin. I ended up with six fish on Monday three of which were plus 12″ so was pretty pleased with that.

Winlaton Mill 1st April

So the river had dropped all the way down to +2″ and all was looking good for a day on the river.

It was a bright morning, little or no wind and pretty mild at about 12° or so. The carpark was rammed but as usual there was a space for my little motor.I had already decided to walk right up past the viaduct for this trip.

Curiously I spotted a couple of people fishing the weir pool as I walked up then bumped into another gent as I neared my starting point. He had been on the river for about three hours and was enjoying a good day on the river.

I got to the nice streamy run that I like to start at and DSCF0064made a start, I had a red collared GRHE on the point and a black spider on the dropper. I worked my way through this lovely run without a touch, towards the end of this run I notice a little further downstream a regular reser, 2, 3,4 rises…I got within casting distance and dropped the flies right on him…nothing…but he WAS still rising. So mid stream and into my flybox. On goes a Greenwell’s spider and second cast to him I get a confident take and he was on, a small fish of around 8″ but more than welcome and just reward for my 20 minutes persistence, taken around 2pm.



I worked my way down through the ravine the sun starting to hide as the cloud cover increased. I noticed another riser just off the right hand bank as I came out of the funnel run. Slowly approaching I cast over him and had an immediate response but he just pricked the fly and was away and well spooked, hmmm disappointing but at least on the right track. Out I climbed and onto the next run, a nice pool that had a large fallen tree and swirls beautifully at the tail of the pool and it was hear I had another strong pull but missed him.


Crossing back over the stream above the viaduct, putting my “natural” wading staff back against the tree I mooched down to the viaduct run, some lovely popply water that screams fish. Working my way down this run I had what felt like a very big fish absolutely hammer the fly, I will be back for this one.



So back to the dog walk pool it was now about 4pm. Second run past dogwalk and things started to pick up somewhat. I had changed up the flies, leaving the greenwells on the point but giving a swim to a new green spider…which proved to be a good move as I quickly had my second fish of the day to hand, a small …but welcome.. trout only about 5″ this was followed rather quickly by another brownie, slightly larger at 9″ on the new “killer” green spider.


Now at the small run that hides under trees, I needed a sidecast to get under them to the deeper water that is on the left hand bank. Third cast under here and a solid hook up and a better fish on the line. He bent my rod right round a s he sped off for the faster water, it was tough to turn him but a minute or two in and he was sliding over my submerged net. A beautifully marked wild fish of about 14″ again take on the green spider.

That was about me done, I had taken 3 fish in about 15 minutes but was done in! I did have a dabble just down from the stone bridge but there wasn’t a lot doing there.



Out I climbed and headed back to the car..just as a light shower was starting. It was a decent day for early season, a few pulls early on and a few fish lies marked for my next visit to the Derwent




Cricket club – Winlaton mill 26th March

Well it has been a bit of a stuttering start to the season this year. I had booked off the first day of the season last Wednesday 22nd. However the fishing Gods had other ideas and down came the rain on Tuesday. The levels went from a consistent +1” to +16” almost overnight after almost a month at a goof fishable level . Sods Law.



It did drop quickly and by Sunday had dropped right down to +3” still a little higher than I like to fish in but I WAS going to have my first day on the river this weekend. So car loaded up off I set on Saturday afternoon …traffic mayhem on the way tried to scupper my trip but I was not to be outdone. Arriving 15 minutes late at the Bladon rugby club where I met my fishing buddy for the day. We set off up to the cricket club which is a quick 10 minute walk or so.


The weather was unreal for the time of year really, clear skies, bright sunshine and about 13°C.


We crossed the narrow road bridge at the cricket club and walked a further 50 yard or so upstream landing on the water at about 1.40 or so. I started off with a gold head GRHE (with red collar on the point and a black spider (green hotspot) on the dropper.



First cast into the first streamy run and a pull..wow that’s a decent start I thought… working down I had another pull just before I got to the bridge. There are some nice runs upstream of the bridge and a cracker just the other side of it too…where I did turn another…what looked slightly better fish but they would not stick.

Half an hour in I changed up to a greenwell spider on the point  as there was a sporadic hatch of what looked like olives coming off. However this did not have the desired effect, the bites dried up as we worked our was back to the rugby club, there are some cracking pools on the way back but the fish weren’t playing. We fished on until about 3.15pm or so and headed back to the cars.. .both staring at a blank!!



Not to be undone however, I decided to have an hour or so up at Winlaton before I was ready to accept my first trip blank of the season. Needless to say the carpark was rammed full….just one spot was open for my little panda.


Off I went with renewed vigour to “dog walk pool” goldhead now back on the point for this section. Still nothing doing in this pool, which normally fishes well. Next run however a solid thump and I strike into him, a quick fight in which he made for the near bank but he was quickly landed and a quick snap later was back on his way. taken on the trusty goldhead at around 3.45 or so 



It was good to see some new runs which I will definitely explore more later in the season I think, some very inviting runs on this stretch of water between the cricket and rugby clubs.


I managed to avail a dirty blank just through sheer perseverance I think, however good to get the season underway with a few pulls and a fish to hand.


Winter 2016 catch up.

Well it’s been a while since my last update and fairly eventful to say the least.

I have fished sporadically throughout the winter this year. Winter 2016 has been considerably drier than the previous year and I have found the river levels at a fishable level almost throughout the whole of the year. Almost the opposite of the previous year

Fishing did slow down somewhat from mid-January but having said that there are still fish to be had with all the fish taken during the winter being grayling with the very odd exception being the occasional out of season wild brownie and the rare treat of a small(ish) salmon at the beginning of the year caught just above High Dam on a size 14 pink Gold head. I only really went out to try out my treat for my 50th birthday and was fishing a spot where I had previously caught a half decent grayling.


Persevering more than usual due to this I had a hook up, initially it didn’t feel that big then I saw him mid-stream doing his own thing. I was only on 3lb cast and it was all I could do to try and keep him out of the main current, backwards and forward we went, me unable to raise the rod much, him making a dash for the faster current, and so it carried on for a good 15 minutes or so. My 6’9” Mr. Zhu coped admirably eventually getting him close enough to slip into the net. Shock didn’t cover it. My first ever Salmon on the fly, indeed a good start for my new rod!

I slipped the hook out and took a quick snap before making sure he was fully recovered and off he swam, leaving me with a big smile on my face. Looks like the fish passes that have been installed on the river are now letting migratory fish get upstream. Looking at my pic I estimate he was about 25-26”.

My last trip out was right at the end of January and was tricky fishing for me and much less spectacular than the previous trip. I fished up at Rowland Gil and it was a short session of about 90 minutes. Fishing was slow (for me) and was looking like a dirty blank until I got to the end of the funnel pool that runs into a deep slow pool. Again I was fishing with a bright pink sz14 gold head on the point which eventually came up with the goods in this pool.

I had a couple of plucks before eventually a hook up with a decent grayling of about 12” coming to hand, which was quickly followed by another slightly smaller grayling on the same fly, both fish coming within a couple of minutes of each other at around 11am. That was it for the day still, a couple of fish in January are very welcome.

I did have another day volunteering on the river with the Tyne rivers trust and spent the day doing some “Willow weaving” and destroying my back muscles (must remember I’m 50 not 30!)!! Still it was a fascinating day and it felt only right to give a little back to the river I get so much enjoyment out of.

This weekend just gone I had a walk along the river with the missus and was pleased to see a couple or three trout rising to something on or near the surface just above high dam, just what you need to whet the appetite for the coming season, I followed that up with a session in front of the fly tying table to get some spiders lashed up for the coming season, just a few more to tie then that will be me ready to go in a couple of weeks or so.

All being well I do intend to have a trip out this coming weekend, see how the river is looking before opening day on 22nd March

14th May Rowlnds Gill

Fished alone today on the Rowland Gill stretch and it was something like back on top form.

It was a bright day and around 13°C although the wind that there was made it feel considerably cooler especially late-ish afternoon when it was fair chilly. I had the car packed up and was good to go at around 11.30


I did however manage to forget my log book that I record all my catches in so it might be a bit more sketchy than usual! I was on the water for something like high noon and started at the weir pool.I had a greenwells spider on the point and brown spider on the dropper.

I had 2 decent pulls at the end of this run and missed them both! a good start all the same though at least the fish were feeding. Next run was the split and I ran through without as much as a sniff. Similarly at the run under the trees that sometimes produces a big fish hiding in the strong current.



Despite fishing the nice run at the BBQ’s it didn’t stop some kids throwing stones in , their father seemingly happy with this.. So I worked a little way downstream and a nice run which I don’t always fish opposite the caravan park deep and riffly a nice pool.  Second cast in and a savage take and the rod bent.. to say he lead me a merry dance would be an understatement, he curiously made for the left hand bank then back off to midstream it was difficult to see him in the sun, he then made for… and got to a weed bed , thankfully I got him out of there and he was soon in the net, a very nice brownie indeed just under 17″and off he went to fight another day





Excitement over, I sorted everything out and cast again into this run, I had an instant take and this was something a LOT bigger.. my rod bounced as he shook his head and shot off like a rocket to the far bank, I couldn’t stop him I had to give him line as he flew off …and then everything went slack….god only knows what size he was , I’m not sure my 6′ Shakey would have coped with him….I would guess he was at least the size of my PB in this river at around the 2lb mark, I now know where he lives though.


I did climb out and fish from around the bend where I took a few more fish in the 8-10″ and also some of the smaller ones in the river that I had previously not seen before.The river now seems to be properly in spring mode now with loads of fish showing and the odd hatch here and there.


I fished on until about 3.30 when the temperature had seemed to drop off a fair bit. I ended up with 6 fish to hand a couple of smaller ones which is nice to see, also dropped a couple after a brief fight so all in all a nice day out on the river.