Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Sedbergh's River Rawthey.
I opted for a change of venue this evening, visiting the River Rawthey south of Sedbergh.
Rawthey is a moorland stream which has its source high on the slopes of Baugh Fell and flows along the southern boundary of the Howgills, before joining the parent river below Middleton Bridge. I was once told that its name was a corruption of ‘ruddy’, which would make sense as the river carries a marked peaty colouration for a long period after rain. Its trout reflect this colouration with deep bronze backs and large red spots and are more numerous than in the Lune, where stocks have dwindled disastrously over recent years.
The Rawthey is a lovely little river to fish, but I have neglected it over the last couple of years. I use my membership to fish for the back end salmon hereabouts and haven’t really explored the trouting available. Tonight was an ideal opportunity – a still, overcast evening with a few extra inches of lingy water running through.
A conversation with an old boy who was leaving as I parked up revealed that there had been a good hatch of olives earlier on and that he had returned a few fish up to just over the pound, so signs were encouraging. There certainly seemed to be a few insects around, including a few large stoneflies. Years ago, the anglers here used to fish the live ‘creeper’, or large stonefly nymph, when dozens of them could be collected by turning stones in the margins. They are comparatively rare these days though, and I saw more together today than I ever have previously – about four in total.
The fishing was slow for the most part, although there seemed to be a concentration of fish (possibly stocked?) along the length of one pool in particular. I had a couple of drop-offs, a few smaller fish and two nice ones of around the pound, before the light started to fade and the air temperature dropped.
I will try to return to this delightful stretch of river soon. The fishing is moderate at best and the wading is nothing short of treacherous, but this is more than compensated for by the quiet, unspoilt surroundings and solitude – the chap I met earlier is the only other angler I have ever met on the Rawthey; usually there are just oystercatchers, sandpipers and wagtails for company.