Friday, July 14, 2006

Visiting Musgrave ..... and praying for rain.

I fancied a look at the upper Eden this week. Last year’s expedition up-river to KSADAA's water proved something of a failure with, if I remember correctly, nothing at all being taken from low summer water around Eastfield Bridge.
I hoped for better tonight. A few summer thundershowers had put a foot of water through the system a couple of days earlier and I hoped that I would be able to benefit from the ‘fining down’ conditions.
It seems the Eden in these parts rises quickly and falls quickly, for I was disappointed to find a low river once again as I parked up at Musgrave Bridge. Sure, there was a touch of colour to the water, but the thin water was very thin and a stiff-ish breeze hindered the likelihood of a hatch and/or finding a few rising fish.
My fears were confirmed as I was tackling up. A fellow angler who was just finishing for the day reported tough going throughout with only a few parr to show for his efforts - oh dear!

The options at my disposal were somewhat limited: An ‘in-my-face’ wind would make the dry fly awkward and there wasn’t flow enough through the riffles to work a team of wets. I decided to team up a nymph on the point with a spider on the dropper above - a woodcock and hare’s lug to match the few sedge which were skittering the marginal shallows.
This tactic produced a handful of small fish to about 5oz from the more active bits of water. They all took the dropper, just sub-surface.

In a piece of slow, shallow water just above Swindale Beck end, I took my only decent fish of the evening - a brownie of 1lb8oz. It - and a much larger fish - were lying in mid-river in a position which I felt it would be impossible to approach without spooking them, let alone induce any interest. Sure enough as I edged into position, the larger fish sidled off into far bank cover although his mate stayed put. The fish didn’t appear to be actively feeding so I bit the bullet and plonked the heptagenid nymph a couple of feet in front of his nose.
Surprisingly, the fish casually turned an inhaled the fly as it drifted past and I was suddenly attached to a very angry brownie which went absolutely mad in the shallow water. Testament again, to the realistic profile of Ollie Edwards’ nymph!
Thereafter, only an odd small fish were forthcoming as the hoped-for rise never materialised and the fishing - which hadn’t really got going - petered out to nothing at all.

If I am to visit Kirkby Stephen’s water again, I must make sure that there is a bit of fresh water pushing through. In these conditions, I would be better off seeking solitude on one of the Lake District’s high mountain tarns…..

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