It’s that time of year again for a mid season review of how things have gone so far on the Derwent.
It has to be said that last year was pretty dire on the river Blyth, fishing was poor to say the least. Things couldn’t have been more different on the Derwent this year.
Fortunately the calendar worked in the Game fishermans favour this season with the opening day of 22nd March falling on a Saturday , I can distinctly remember the day… at work on the morning , the trepidation of a new season , the first hour on the river without so much as a touch…then around 1pm things started to liven up somewhat, I think I ended up with something like 4 fish to the next and all around 9 or 10”.
I would have been pleased with a couple of takes so I went home happy that day.
I tied up some brown bodied and brown hackled spiders that seemed to work particularly well during the first couple of months of the season when there were plenty of olives about, not tried them for a couple of months or so though so maybe give them a swim when out on the river next time.
I have only managed to blank once this season and that was when I think the river was really far too high to fish and fairly chocolate brown coloured, shame really as the Friday rain ruined a beautiful Saturday as by the time I got to the river it was a cracking spring day, I only stuck around for about an hour and a half though as it was clearly too high for me to fish.
That is the only day I have missed so far this half of the season though due to high water, for all there has been rain it has been fairly sporadic and not so many prolonged periods to ruin my fishing… most considerate!!
Grayling have been around almost from the first day out as well.
I have also managed what I think are two personal bests for me on the river this season , maybe modest fish by others standards but good fish (for me) I think it was in June just above high dam I took a stonking grayling 13-14” and maybe just over a pound, a slow steady take , almost just a tightening of the line and a very deep solid fight…. squeezing him into my scoop net,
Then just last week (Early August) I took an even better one , this one in the 15-16” region, another grayling, just opposite the pond on the Winlaton Mill stretch, this time in fairly slack water but a very similar take , just watching the end of my line and a slow tightening, a slightly different fight this time though deep one minute then splashing about on the surface the next, a couple of minutes and he just about fit in my net, I suspect he was in the region of 1½lb maybe very very slightly over , I didn’t mess around with him though, the hook actually fell out in the net, a very quick snap then took my time to make sure he recovered well and after a couple or three minutes he slowly swam off back to his station. Brilliant stuff they really are beautiful and delicate looking fish , you can see why they are named ladies of the stream alright.
All that has been interspersed with some fairly cracking sport with the stock fish that APDVAA (http://www.apdvaa.co.uk/) supplement their excellent head of wild fish with.
I remember a Sunday morning on the Rowlands Gill stretch, my first time fishing through the weir pool and second cast in hooked into a stonking stockie, a great fight ensued in the strong current and he came in at about 14” and 1½lb, on the bank I actually thought he was closer to 2lb but the scales at home told a different talk! Still a really good fish and good start to a session, that was followed by another two stock fish (one returned as daily limit is 2 fish) all in a cheeky three hour session, very nice indeed.
I have found that Rowlands Gill to be an excellent stretch of river during the first half of the season, fishing really well almost every time I have fished it.
The large weir pool at the top of this run often produces, more often than not towards the slightly slacker water where the pool slows down but no doubt there are some very nice fish to be had out of this run.
I had purchased a new rod for the coming season and have used it exclusively for all my river fishing thus far, a very nice Shakespeare agility rise 6’ #3 and I have to say it really is a beautiful rod. Certainly not found wanting on the casting front even on the wider sections of river it throws out 15-20 yards of line without any trouble at all.. even with me “behind the wheel!”
It has handled fish up to 1½lb and for all they put a hell of a bend in the rod it has coped with them no problems whatsoever. The only time I have found it wanting was once… when trying to net a fish it didn’t have enough length for me to get the fish to the net and that s with me standing just over 6’4” tall too!
Still I guess you can’t have everything, it has a beautiful soft action which seems to cushion the fight of the fish. A belting rod and when you consider the price I paid for it (£32 or so) it’s all the more remarkable really.
I also took my annual pilgrimage to Langley Dam this spring, a really stunning Stillwater in the Northumberland hills, as usual Cookson’s Bay once again came up with the goods for me this year within a couple of hours of landing I had hooked and landed a great Brownie of just over 4½lb another personal best for me this season, curiously that was it for the day for me though! Didn’t get another fish or even bite in an eight hour session. Still a good fish but hard work waving a 9½ foot rod about for 8 hours when I am used to a 6’ that weighs a fraction of the reservoir rod.
Talking of annual trips, I also had a look out on the river Derwent in Keswick, it so picturesque up there it’s nice to just be on the river let lone fishing, I found the river more of a challenge this year as the water was still clear but considerably higher than I had seen it in the past, still three small brownies came to hand early on so not all bad.
I have to say farewell to my leaky waders though, faithful Bison chest waders weighing in at £27.99 got 2 and a half season out of them (or so), so not bad value. I have managed to pick up a pair of VASS chesties off ebay for the same price so pleased to pick up a bargain, we will see how they fair for the back end of the season.
It has been a brilliant first six months back on the Derwent, it is an excellent run club. Loads of good wild Brown trout, obviously a good head of grayling, just supplemented by a stocking of 1” fish, there is also the bonus of hooking into one of the bigger stockfish that reside in the river, I have already been snapped off by a very decent fish (assume stock fish) at high dam.
As usual I have pretty much had the river to myself all year, I see the occasional angler here and there but in the main , the river is mine!
Go to flies have been, small brown spider, Gold head GRHE and gold head rusty nymph.. that is pretty much it!!
Hopefully the last six month of the season will follow in a similar vein.