Having checked the water level on Fishpal on Saturday morning at +4” and rising I was none too hopeful that I would get out at all on Sunday, however rather surprisingly my blurry vision on Sunday morning told me that the Derwent was now at just +1” and steady, champion, all systems go, nothing like an unexpected fishing trip!
So bacon sandwiches and a cup of tea later off I went….
It was quite a muggy morning with a good bit of cloud cover , no wind to speak of and a temperature that must have been 18°C or so, pretty good conditions.
I decided before I set off to have a run through Rowlands Gill water this time. I landed at the river at about 11.45 or so , as expected there were a few folk milling around as I set off on the short walk up to the road bridge. I crossed the river about 50 yards downstream and walked back up the far bank to the weir pool
I had my faithful 6’ Shakespeare set up with a cochybhondu on the point and a rusty nymph on the dropper, I was going to change up to a gold head but decided to give these a swim through the weir pool first.
The water looked at a decent level and had a bit more colour in it than it has for the past month or so , I was hoping that the rain over Friday and Saturday had freshened things up a bit.
Starting at the top of the weir even I can easily cast to the nearest run that cascades over the weir at this point, casting slightly down and across I ran right down , maybe twenty or thirty yards or so without any luck. Time to get the goldhead on I thought.
Suitable changed up I had another run through this pool. A bit more luck this time .. .but not a lot.. I had a couple of nips and pulls towards the slacker water at the end on the run but no fish to be seen.
Walking back downstream I crossed the river and fished the split of the stream on the near bank.
The river here will be no more than 15 foot wide, a nice riffly shallow run that deepens towards the end of the pool and is shrouded with some excellent tree and shrubs providing good cover for fish near to the bank where the water seems deepest
The fish I suspected were feeding sub surface as there had been no sign of a rise in the 30 minutes I had been fishing.
Wading carefully downstream there is quite a bit of bank side vegetation at this time of year and at this part of the river an overhead cast is pretty much out of the question, so with about ten to fifteen feet of line out it was more of a flick or a roll cast to land the flies under the trees in the deep dark water under the far bank, around the middle of this run I had a solid hook up and a small wild brownie of about 8” was quickly snapped and released back to his lair, a really pretty fish that my camera (or my photography skills) just dont give justice to.
I fished right to the tail end of this run, the current starts to pick up a little bit here , casting can be a little tricky with the trees behind you when fishing from the right hand bank , letting the flies swing through this run though and out into the calmer water, two or three casts, just giving the flies a very slow figure of eight retrieve when they were perpendicular to the current and a nice steady take, just a small fish of around 8″ but still more than welcome, again taken on the goldhead hares ear.
Crossing back to the left bank is fine here when the river is normal level , anything above that though and it becomes more than a little risky. Now on the left bank there is a nice fast deep run that never produces much for me (up to now) but looks super fishy.
However at the tail end of this pool the river widens out and deepens under trees on the far bank so if you wade and cast carefully you can get your flies to swim through this deep water and out into shallower riffly water.
I waded about half way across the river and took another 8″ brownie from the shallower water this one take on a rusty coloured nymph, things were now hotting up, I changed the dropper to a Partridge and orange. Within another 5 minutes I had another smaller brownie this time about 5″ from the same run. I noticed a fish rising as I wore my way down this run , making big splashes!! now within casting distance second cast past him and a really slow tightening of the line and fish on!!
and what a lump he was he kept deep in the water a calmly swam to midstream , there was absolutely no way he was turning as I tried to get him facing downstream but he wouldn’t have it, applying as much side strain as I dared he finally turned then started shaking his head, I was sure the hook would fall out. I now got a good look at him a nice long wide looking fish, first effort to get him in my net failed but he was still on but second time he was in ……a really nice looking fish and my biggest this season at just over 14″ and weighing in at about 1½lb.
I moved down to the slow run right opposite the caravan park, a nice through current runs on the far side of this pool and it must be a bit over thigh high at this point, fishing through I took another couple of small brownies noted as 6 and 7″ the small foul hooked behind the gill case and the 7″ on a Partridge and orange. I also picked up a very nice 12″ stockfish that from the point of hooking to netting was almost constantly out of the water a brilliant fight… and back he went to fight another day.
Just then I spied a small sip of a rise right next to a bush on the far stream, just about directly opposite me and maybe 12 feet away…I flicked my flies over him and an instant take and a good fish was on..once again a good fight ensued, staying deep in midstream maybe a couple or three minutes before I got him in the net .. a beautiful stock fish of about a pound and 13″
That was enough for me for the day an absolutely belting session especially between about 1pm and 2pm where the fish really seemed to switch on big style with bite after bite and plenty of fish rising too.. looking at my notes between 12.30 and 1.30 I took 8 fish of one size or another there was also plenty of stock fish about with what I though was a PB for me until I got home and weighed him only to find out he was ½lb short! Still a stonking great fish and a remarkable fight too.
It’s the head of wild fish that really make the river Derwent though, loads and loads of fish in the 7-10” range and a good few much bigger, certainly big enough to put a serious bend in a 6’ rod and that’s all you can ask really.
I have my first evening session lined up on the Derwent this coming Wednesday, likely only a couple or three hours but very welcome non the less. That will be followed up by a midweek trip next week as I am on Jollies. Then mid week we are off to Keswick with Mrs Blood for a couple of days and I have been granted a day on the river Derwent up there, which is always a welcome treat as the river and surrounding are so beautiful. I suspect that will be followed with a trip to the Oddfellow’s Arms for a pint or three!
Certainly plenty of fishing (and drinking) to look forward to over the next week or so… watch this space.