Photograph by Steve Barnett

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Distraction - Self Inflicted!

Did I make a mistake last night?  The recent rain has at last raised my mother river, the Derbyshire Wye, to a nice level.  Naturally it had been made brown for two or three days.  Last night it looked brown but fishable at 17:00 so I thought it would be a good idea to do two things at once.  Henry was bored out of his skull.  I was suffering from withdrawal symptoms through the lack of dry fly fishing.  I could walk the couple of miles down river to Duck Holds Wood and take Henry with me to perk up his spirits.  I could fish, he could get some exercise and practice his investigative skills.

On hooking my first fish it splashed in a spectacular manner.  This was too much for Henry.  He too made a splash as he charged through the margin into the river, headlong and struck out vigorously swimming towards my fish!  "Henry! Leave it!!", I bellowed.  He did so and swam back to the bank climbing out in time to see me bringing the fish, a nice grayling, in the net over the margin for me to unhook.  Henry wanted to get hold of the fish and I loudly told him, "NO!!!  LEAVE IT!!!"  He did so, looked at me with blinking eyes and thought I was completely mad to release it unharmed after going to the trouble of catching it.  Henry doesn't understand C&R.

The Sport became more and more brisk as the evening passed.  Trout and grayling were all feasting on a mix of olives that were now hatching in profusion.  My Kite's Imperial was all that was needed.

Henry and I wandered back up river together.  It was a good time, plenty of fish fell for the Kite's Imperial on the way home, but I'm sure I would have been much more efficient had I been alone.

Henry is a fine chap.  I love him dearly but his preferred Sport is definitely hunting and shooting game birds.  It is all so much easier for him to understand.


Maybe it was a mistake, but it was still fun - for both of us!

Regular Rod


  1. Never a mistake - the affection of a good retriever is hard gained and to be cherished. What is the forecast for fishing conditions? I am hoping to fish the Derwent next week Friday-Saturday and the drive from California is quite long....

  2. That picture says it all. A look of pure question? Sounds like a great time was had by both of you. I love it when the river/stream is fishable for the first time after a hard rain. Great Post. Tight Lines.

  3. Hugh it will be perfect if we have no more heavy rain. It will fish its head off for you. Stay as late as you can in the evenings. Until you can no longer see your fly.

    Regular Rod

  4. I waiting until my little bitch is safe enough to take fishing with me. Henry looks very happy to me?

  5. Henry is, by his nature, a happy chap...


    Regular Rod

  6. I'd love to take my 2 J Russells with me but trying to keep 1 eye on each of them and my fly would just be too difficult for words, ..unfortunately!

  7. "Hugh it will be perfect if we have no more heavy rain. It will fish its head off for you. Stay as late as you can in the evenings. Until you can no longer see your fly."

    You were so right!!! Amazing ecosystem. Thanks for an interesting and very helpful blog.


  8. Hi RR I'm just sat here looking out the window after a day of quite heavy rain and hoping my trip to the River Lodden in 2 days time is going to be affected. Unfortunately we don't have the luxury of changing the date, so do you have any advice for fishing if the river is coloured? (I'm hoping you advice isn't "don't bother" I've been looking forward to this trip for months!) Thanks Dan

    Anonymous at 17:33

    1. Yes Dan, look for shallows and round the edges for rising fish. Below weedbeds are good too as the fronds tend to strain out the worst of the muck being carried downstream. Head upstream if you have a choice as the river will fine down there before it does so lower down the river. Look for structure that lets fish shelter from the main push. Never forget Woody Allen's famous quote: "80% of success is just showing up..."


  9. Hi RR.

    Just wanted to say a quick thanks for your advice prior to our trip on the Lodden.
    We had a cracking day which can be summarised like so...

    • I caught a personal best river brownie of 2lb.

    • My fiancee caught her first ever trout from a river.
    • Her first ever trout on a dry fly.
    • And a personal best rainbow of 3lb!

    Not bad for a pair of river novices and I'm pleased to say the advice from your blog was invaluable.

    Special mentions must go to the 'sitting down while fishing' tip, it really made a huge difference to the number of fish spooked and it took the strain off my back too!

    I also found the 'collapsing of your leader' (wrong terminology I think) tip very handy. I have to admit the first time I did it, it was just a poor cast but then I noticed the current unfurled the leader perfectly under an over hanging branch I was struggling to get the fly under!
    A real eureka moment and I used this technique more throughout the day.
    (sometimes by mistake but occasionally through my own will!)

    So once again, thanks for the advice, we're both now itching to get back on to a river, still water fishing really doesn't have the same buzz.
    Just a shame our location and river prices mean we can only do it occasionally!