I have a Clyde winter ticket and I need to get a few outings to make it financially worthwhile. So while I had a few other things in mind I decided to take advantage of some “free” fishing and go see if I could find some Clyde Grayling.

I went down the Clyde Valley and was on the look out for a new spot, maybe somewhere less”travelled”. I was looking for side roads down to sections of river and spotted one that took me off the main road. Right enough there was river access but I was a little surprised ( I guess I really shouldn’t be) to find a couple of anglers in an interesting looking stretch. So I left it but its a new spot safely tucked away for future reference.

A horrified onlooker

A horrified onlooker to Blue Bottle Grub Genocide. ” I was mortified” he said, ”  I won’t forget the squeals of the maggots as this barbaric form of water boarding was carried out, as long as I live”

I then decided to stop by Mauldslie Bridge to have a look and while there was a lot of cars, there didn’t initially appear to be that many anglers on the river so I opted to stop and have an explore. I have only had a wee fish here once so this is really a relatively unknown area though it clearly gets a lot of footfall.  As I was tackling up one of the anglers I had encountered at the previous spot turned up and proceeded to head to the water….. if only I had known!

Anyhow when I got on to the riverbank it became apparent that the Maggot Drowners were out en-masse. The BBC I think has become paticularly synonymous with “selective” news reporting in Scotland. Well, were they here today while mass murder was commited on hundreds, nay thousands of Blue Bottle fly larvae? No I don’t think you will be seeing this horror on your screens tonight, but trust me dear reader, I was a witness.

Cased caddis caught on hook.

Bugs were emerging festooned in cased caddis almost with every cast.

As I arrived I noticed one of the Maggot murderers was landing a decent looking Grayling so that gave me hope there might be the odd fish here to be persuaded that a convincing replica might be more appetising than a live bait. The water was unsurprisingly fairly low but there was water of decent depth and pace around the middle of the river. As I worked down I was in water barely knee deep and pretty slow when  got my first sign of a fish, a clear pull but it didn’t stay on. Another cast and in the same spot, this time a fish, though just a wee yearling fish. Next cast another! And on the same bug that was catching the last time I was catching on the Clyde. I was noticing actually that I was bringing up lots of cased caddis on my bugs, after nearly every other cast. Any time my bugs stopped “rolling” there were one, two sometimes, three cased caddis on my hook.

I also noticed how green the wee caddis grubs were so I changed my point fly for another small black bug with a green tag to see if it made any difference. Almost right away I had another fish though I have to say as I fished down there seemed to be a marked preference for my wee black bug with a red butt tag. Size wise it was near identical to the cased caddis and I do think this is what the fish were on. I also clearly had located a small pod of small fish as I was getting hits, and fish nearly every cast in the slow less deep water. In all I had six or seven fish to hand, nothing worth wetting the net for but good fun nonetheless. I decided to get out and warm up as my feet were cold and a bit sore.

Most of the Grayling caught were a little bigger than this one- not much. Certainly there are so many small Grayling this year, it bodes well for the future.

Most of the Grayling caught were a little bigger than this one- not much. Certainly there are so many small Grayling this year, it bodes well for the future.

Once reinvigorated and with nearly all the maggot torturers having vanished I decided to try the other side. However while I did manage to fish a few wee sections the wading was much harder on the other side of the river. It looks like maybe there had been a wall along here protecting the bank and it has over the years collapsed leaving loads of big boulders fringing some deep water. I failed to contact any fish here and by now it was getting dimmer as the sun fell below the trees on the horizon behind me so I decided just to take a walk and explore more water though whether I would bother fishing on I wasn’t sure.


The Clyde in winters dusk

Late evening sunlight with frosty grass on the bank- it could barely have got much above freezing all day.

I walked a bit and came to a slow looking but fairly easily accessible section. I wasn’t put off by the slow pace and shallower water as previously this had been where I had encountered contact with fish. Right enough, first cast I had another wee Grayling and this pattern continued down this glide reaching the grand total of 11 small Grayling. I can see a difference in the fish from this summer, even a few months on since my last Clyde Grayling, these fish have probably put on a couple more inches in the main, though they are still small fish. But it made for a bit fun and kept the day interesting. I felt I fished quite well, changing my bugs weight  to suit the pace and keeping them moving in the slower water. And a few bigger fish would have been nice. Tiddlers seem to be the story of my year.