Friday, September 07, 2007

A case of deja vu at Little Salkeld.

It’s dark at 8:30pm now and I hadn’t envisaged getting out in the evening again this season, but a random theory grabbed me this week and I had to make a short evening session - just to test it you see.
All week we have been pestered by a huge number of mosquitos. They seem to occupy every room of the building we’re working on, my house, the local pub etc and I keep reading in the paper about how we can expect a mass emergence of wasps late in the summer, as the poor weather has hitherto delayed their development. I wondered whether a similar thing had happened to the blue-winged olives, as I have seen only a handful this season, where usually one can expect large hatches of the duns on summer evenings and corresponding falls of the spent spinners. Perhaps I could expect a grand late season show, now that the weather has remained settled?
The evening was bright, so I chose to fish at Little Salkeld where the sun would be in my face and not casting a long shadow into the water I was fishing. The Eden looked very low compared to my last visit and the water was crystal clear, so I reasoned that the fish would be less than willing to come up in the water to intercept a fly. With this in mind, I concentrated on areas of fast-ish flow with good depth and a broken surface, and rigged up a trio of nymphs to allow me to get well down in the water column.
This tactic worked reasonably well and the similarity in terms of fish caught to my last visit here, was uncanny - good trout early on, followed by a large number of small fish, followed by a really nice grayling later. The latter was a corker at just below the 2lb mark and in the peak of condition.
And the spinners? Well they did make a showing of sorts. As I hung around in the flats pool waiting for dusk, a good number started to gather over the water and I changed to a dry fly rig in anticipation. However not a single fish rose to them and as I had earlier lost my net somehow, I couldn’t manage to catch any to check what species they were.
All became clear though when I waded ashore. Dozens of the little beasts were clinging to my wader legs and gravel guards. They must have been landing on me and crawling down my legs to the river bed to oviposit. They obviously weren’t blue-wings then (which fall to the surface and release their egg-mass to sink to the bottom), and a quick examination of one of my tiny passengers revealed them to be late season large dark olives (or maybe medium olives - not sure which). This explains the lack of interest from the fish – large darks crawl down the stalks of bank-side vegetation to reach the river bed and are thus rarely available to the trout in any numbers.
So my hopes of some surface sport were scuppered once more, although the number of fish caught to nymphs earlier was pleasing. I would be interested to hear if anyone has had similar experiences with the dry fly this season. Has my timing been all wrong, have I just been plain unlucky, or has it been overall, a pretty dour season?

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