Well it is already the middle of August with all the rain finally stopped (thankfully) seems as good a time as ever to have a look back over the first half of the season on the River Blyth.
To say the first half of this year has been rain interrupted would be a major understatement, at times there have been some almost tropical downpours putting the river out of action for long periods of time. From my limited experience of the river Blyth I have found that in general it does seem to always have a fairly peaty colour even when the levels on the river are fairly low.
The season started fairly well on a bright, hot day in March, being ably guided around the river by Daz and if I remember rightly he put me on some quality fish., catching my first decent stockie after about an hour on the river, just on the bend at the farm. Then taking another couple later on in the day.. one comically less than a rod length away whilst dithering over a fly change with my flies just dangling in the water.
I also lost what I think would have been a PB for me on the very first day; a beast of a fish that I couldn’t turn as he tore off toward sunken roots on the far bank – I wouldn’t like to say what size he was but just totally unstoppable, he took my Cochybhondu with him though.
The early part of the season was very strange in as much as there seemed to be only stock fish in the river with not a wild fish in sight until later on in the year, Whickham’s spiders, partridge and orange and cochybhondu all doing very well early season.
From April until June it seemed fishing was frequently interrupted by the deluge of rain that we had over the Summer, the river sometimes taking an age for the level to drop, however in between times there was some top notch fishing to be had and now the wild fish had also turned on there is certainly a vey good head of Grayling as well as Brownies in there too.
I remember my first stroll up to Stannington Bridge to fish all the way back down towards the farm. A curious day in belting sunshine and clear blue skies, I hooked in to a very nice stockie after about 20 minutes just downstream from the bridge then ZIP all very quite bar the odd pull here and there until they came back on later in the day, GRHE and Coachmen were now coming in on the scene and starting to do well as well as were gold heads too.
June brought what I think was my first run out on the Hartford stretch of water, some very nice runs to be had and the “famed” garden pool. Again directed by Daz, we had a nice day.. the first of 3 broken Sonik rods in 8 weeks and a nice stockie to hand out of a shallow slow pool on a gold head, this day was also my first cast of a dry fly … and a rise… I was like a kid at Christmas!
There was more dalliances with the dry fly to be had later on in the season.
Oddly I have never caught a fish out of the garden pool yet, plenty just up and downstream from it but nothing from the pool itself, although it does look very inviting.
Out of the 2 “halves” of the river I think I prefer the Farm stretch, some much nicer runs .. maybe I need to fish Hartford stretch a bit more and become more familiar with it as I have fished the other half much , much more so far
More rain came putting a halt to my river fishing for almost a month so I decided a day on still water was the order of the day.. not my favourite type of fishing and a bit too pricey for my liking..BUT I had a great day of firsts up at Langley Dam, First Perch then a first fish to a buzzer, followed by a first fish on a dry.. all in all I ended up keeping 4 nice rainbow and returning 2… boy do they fight hard up there.. unbelievable.
So almost up to date July and August have been half decent months, I have managed to take a couple of fish to the dry fly on the Blyth.. very enjoyable watching your fly slowly drift down towards you waiting for the take this is a method I will certainly continue to use in future when conditions dictate, I have dabbled with upstream wet fly but.. it’s not for me; old habits die hard.
So in summary it has been a bit of a disjointed first half to the season. Plenty of decent size fish, a lot of Grayling which will hopefully bode well for the coming Winter. Tried my hand at dry fly and managed to trick a couple of fish .. so far.
Flies that did it first half of the season
Partridge and orange
GRHE (and in gold head)
All in 12’s and 14’s
I have found that a scruffy little olive nymph with a bit of flash seems to do the trick when the water is coloured too… which has been frequent this season.
I am not sure if I prefer the river Blyth to the River Derwent or not , there are certainly more stock fish in the Blyth , it’s just different I guess.
We will see how the weather pans out for the rest of the season , so far so good though.. when the water is at a fishable level it does fish pretty well, here’s looking forward to the second half of the season.