The morning was cold, bright & the river was low & clear, so I knew from the off it was going to be a tough day and the 3 cormorants lifting off the water as I approached didn't help any either.
The frost was still lying in places where the sun's rays still had not penetrated, making it crunch as you walked across it.
Walking down to the very bottom of the stretch didnt take too long and I was sat on the bank surveying the river in front of me and making my decisions on what to fish. A kingfisher flew up and sat on the end of a willow branch on the opposite side of the river, surveying his side of the river as I was, I moved my arm to see if I could get the camera out without disturbing him but he took to the wing heading upstream, I never tire of seeing these little beautiful birds on the river.
I slipped into the clear water and started casting across to a likely spot where fish might be sitting under some overhanging branches and almost immediately my first fish too the point fly.
Nothing of too much size but it was a Grayling, the first one for a couple of weeks with only trout coming to the net last trip out.
I fished upstream until I was almost halfway up the stretch and hadn't touched another fish so far, it was tough going but still very enjoyable with all sorts of things happening around me, the mallards were gathering on the opposite bank and still hadnt realized I was there as I was out of their sight due to the high bank but I knew as soon as I moved over the bank they would be on the wing immediately.
I noticed a broken branch which a couple of blue tits were feeding on and as I walked by seen they must have been pecking around in the algae that was covering it.
Nothing much was happening on the fish front, I had fished all the runs through hard, spending a bit more time making sure I covered every inch of them with only one other small Grayling taking my offerings.
I was surprised not to see any Salmon so far, as this time last year they were on their redds but this year I haven't seen any signs of them either on the riverbed or splashing around in the water, maybe they are waiting for some water to push through, before getting down to business.
I was approaching the runs up to the top of our stretch of river, I like this part of the river as its more suited to my tactics which I had chosen to fish and normally you can see a fish or two smut to a hatch but as yet nothing was moving on the surface.
I seen another club member off in the distance walking down so decided to get into the run I was looking forward to fishing the most and see if I could fish it through before he reached me.
I was almost at the end of the run when I heard him approach behind me and call out a greeting and almost on cue a fish took my dropper.
I knew this fish had a bit of clout to it as it made off downstream in the current before I could turn it, I definitely didn't want to loose the fish especially with all eyes on me, and after a short but powerful battle I slipped the net under this lovely Grayling.
The camera doesn't capture the true beauty of this fish, every way you moved it the emerald green colours down its flanks changed and it was simply stunning, virtually in mint condition apart from a small nick out the bottom of its tail, a lovely fish for this river as there isn't too many of this size caught from here. My fellow fisherman was also full of praise for such a beautiful fish.
After parting with a couple of spare flies of the same pattern I had took the large Grayling on my club colleague dropped in below me as he was only down for an hour so I decided to hang back and have a coffee and allow him time to get clear of me before I started fishing again.
About 20 minutes or so later I packed away the coffee and slipped back into the river.
Fishing down where he had been I picked off another Grayling from the faster water but nothing else until I had reached the bottom of the stretch again.
I wasnt going to thrash the water into a lather looking for fish and to be honest I was contented and chuffed at seeing such a beautiful fish earlier so after watching what I thought was a rising fish in the corner of my eye only to turn around and see a dipper appear from the river moments later I decided to call it a day and head back up the fields to the car.
My trip over for another week but a fish caught that would stay with me for quite some time to come.