One Day of Summer

Let’s face it summer so far has not really happened. Granted it isn’t cold, but it has been moderately wet. Maybe not much more than is normal for July in Scotland which can be moist at the best of times, but that wind…. it is the wind that’s blown it all out. When the wind has relented it has in general been pretty wet. When the rain has stopped the pretty strong winds have replaced the moisture, a lot stronger than you would expect at this time of year.

So getting out fishing for a few hours of an evening has been a frustrating affair this year ( on top of all the other frustration factors my own personal condition brings to the party).

Summer arrived for what I think is forecast to be 48 hours yesterday, though that damned wind was still there fairly flailing the trees about where I live. I was really hoping to get out on one of the two lochs for an evening, we should be seeing a bit sedge activity on days like this, but as I got finished up with work that wind was still pretty strong. So the river it was. Even tackling up at the back of the car the wind was making itself known as I tried to tie on flies to my 1.4kilo tippet material. I struggled!

Anyway down on the river bank, there was a clear though a slight rise in the water levels from last time I fished this stretch, with a wee corner pool having filled up a bit, that only happens with the increase in water. The faster water out the pool was fairly pushing through and with a set of small but heavy nymphs, I opted to make my way round to approach from below and run a few flies through here before carrying on down stream. Nothing seemed to show any interest.

Down to where the steadier water is, there was an abundance of fly life, a veritable smorgasbord of flying trout protein, but I saw maybe two fish rise and they were clearly tiddlers as I sat and watched. I had my other rod with me and sat and set it up for dry fly while keeping an eye on a few spots. I was in no hurry. A fish had risen a few times in front of me though I was pretty sure it was just a small one, but I decided to give it a cast…. you never know, but it failed to come for my fly. I had no idea what it was taking, it could have been anything from a tiny black midge, to one of the few large duns or spinners that seemed to be around in the aerial maelstrom. I was pretty sure it was something smaller. However, there were more places to explore and I decided to move on.

The tricky glide

Fish rising under this tree but how to reach them?

As I reached the next deeper section I caught sight of another angler above me fishing down and across. I wasn’t sure if he would follow me all the way down or not, so I got my skates on and crossing the river through some thinner water started fishing the deep corner. Again no interest though again I did see a couple of fish move in the shallow slow water opposite. I changed my bugs for different colours and a slightly heavier point fly ( a French Nymph) and gave the deeps another go. This time I picked up my first of three small fish, a couple were Parr the third gave the bugs a fair old rattle and put up a ridiculous fight for what turned out to be a small fish, though maybe double the size of the other two already caught, again all on the Frenchie. I also managed to get snagged on a branch or something and lost two of my three bugs and had to replace them. I opted to replace the two lost bugs with a single and left a wee spider on my top dropper replacing my Iron Blue with a Waterhen bloa. I covered the whole area quite well and gave the rising fish a wee cast with the dries before working on down again. I then came across the quandary. Under a big tree branch there were at least 5 fish rising. Most were probably smaller but I was sure one was a better fish. Do I try to reach them from above? difficult with the overhang and trees, do I try to cross over? I doubted I could with the depth and would send shockwaves all the way down over the fish anyway, or do I go all the way back, cross back over and try to come at them from behind. it was a hassle but the third option had to be the best.

Wild Brown

A wee wild brown one of several on a tiny black midge

It took me a good ten minutes or so to get in position and by the time I got to where I needed to be, the regular rising seemed to have abated. A couple of smaller fish rose right in at the edge under the tree but nothing out where I had seen it. Even here casting to it was going to be a challenge. But I was patient and sat and watched. I had a wee CDC Greenwell’s on and one cast over a definite spot where something showed elicited no takers. Off came the fly and I went right down to a size 20 or 22- who can tell in the field(?) midge pattern. First cast and the fish took it. Again not any great size. I rose a couple more but they were still a wee bit shy and seemed easy spooked despite me squatting as best I could and staying out the water. I then repositioned again to get to the harder spots from directly below, to better get a drag free drift but this didn’t get me anything. I was toying with calling it a night but seen a few fish further down and decided to give it one last look. I had come to a spot I knew but usually approach from down stream. Fish were rising on the run into this pool and in the pool itself so I started from the back working up. First cast I got another fish. Again a small Brown. Then targeting the rises in total I think I had 9. I probably missed as many too, as there was a hellish pool of glare right in the middle of the run where fish were rising and no matter how I positioned myself I couldn’t eliminate it in my sight. Polaroid sunglasses were no good, as it meant I was fishing in total darkness with them on. Up to a decent hand size but not large. It was good fun though. By now it was nearly dark so I thought I better make good my exit before I couldn’t see where I was going. A fun night on dries if not anything spectacular in fish terms..