I decided to have a go on all three stretches of club water today getting an early start at around 8am leaving an overcast but warm Newcastle after a dry week, a bit of Friday night raid came down but not enough to raise the river levels which were showing 2” upon arrival at Linzford Mill at 8.30.
I parked the car and walked the 800 yards or so up to the slow deep pool under the overhanging trees, there are some really inviting swims on this deep slow run that extends for something like 50 – 60 yards very difficult casting though and my dubious “skills” were exposed somewhat as I lost 2 leaders, 4 flies in the first 15 minutes of arriving…. great start
Slowly getting my cast into the swing of things though and a few fish were showing , I had my first of the day on a standard gold head hares ear a small brownie at the end of this run or about 6” . Climbing out I scampered up to the pool above this one which was a little narrower and slightly faster with the tree cover it was eerily dark , it is a beautiful looking pool though and I spied a fish rising right at the tail of this run before some small rapids, I cast a few past him but he wouldn’t play!
Walking past the rapids I fished the top of the first pool and took another small fish of about 6” again on the goldhead.
It was now about 10.30 and I decided to get back to the car and demolished a nice couple of steak slices, washed down with some blackcurrant cordial, very nice if not a little early for lunch! Driving back down to Rowlands Gil, Caravan park stretch, the cloud was starting to dissipate somewhat.
Arriving at a quiet looking car park at Rowlands Gil, I set off up towards the bridge, deciding not to fish the weir pool this time instead I fished the near bank side of the river split… where I never catch any fish! Except this time I did , just past the overhanging tree I hooked into a lively little brownie who put up a scrappy little fight eventually coming to hand at about 8” again falling to the gold head. I next ran the flies through the “confluence” where the river joins back up as it is a likely looking spot but not this time.
I was now at the nice fast streamy run that runs under the tree and second cast in there was a really solid thump , I struck and he was on but the low hanging tree meant I couldn’t keep my rod tip up and he was pulling very hard on the line, applying side strain I had to risk putting my rod parallel to the water so I could get past the tree, I managed and he was still on, although pulling line from my reel and fighting hard to get back in the current, I turned him and he was now splashing about in the shallower water, one for the net this one and I was relieved when he eventually filled out the bottom of my scoop net, a really plump stock fish of 13½” and just over a pound but he did put an admirable fight up.
The weather had brightened up now and a few fish were showing here and there, I did manage another small fish out of the nice run above the caravan park a small brownie 6-7” again falling to the gold head on the point of my leader.
I had a few other pulls and nips fishing down the slow deep pool directly adjacent to the caravan park but they wouldn’t stick. Time for the third stretch at Winlaton Mill.
I was fairly well goosed by now, the early start and extensive walking taking their toll and to be honest I thought if there was no space at the Winlaton car park I would just call it a day, well there was space, so in I went.
Off upstream I set , it had turned into a nice day now, the clouds had cleared pretty much altogether and the sun was fair beating down, I set off towards the viaduct but started fishing a little way down from there where I know a good fish resides, I have seen him feeding a good few times so know roughly where he lies, so I started fishing about 50 yards upstream of him …third cast in and still no where near where he normally lives and a slow tightening of the line and a fish on , my rod arched hard towards the river as he pulled to midstream and I could see that he was a big (for me) grayling his dorsal fin shimmering purple in the water as he raised it like a sale kiting across the stream , I played him fairly hard and he fought well and deep not showing on the surface until I got him close in, a really beautiful grayling of about 14” and I am guessing around 1¼ – 1½lb I think a PB for me well pleased, quickly unhooked and released to grow on , he swam off looking fit and well and me with a big smile on my face.
Walking downstream to the two nice runs that run alongside the path, I did take another 2 small brownies, one to the goldhead and another to a brown spider, I was however done in now and it was time for home.
It was nice if not a little strange to get out so early in the morning as all this season I have been mid afternoon-ish still there were fish rising and plenty of fly life about from the get go. I think I will only get up to Linzford on the odd occasion as it is a little further to drive but there are indeed some really fishy looking swims up there.
Rowlands Gill continues to fish really well probably the best stretch for me so far this season, with stock fish a plenty to put a decent bend in the rod and despite it’s close location to the caravan park there are not a great deal of dog walkers etc to disturb your fishing
Winlaton Mill is the nicer looking stretch and is also fishing well without the amount of stock fish I have caught up in Rowlands Gill, the river also has an excellent head of stock fish, all in all it has been a really excellent start to the season at odds with my experiences last year up on the Blyth