It brings to mind the old music hall joke about the English summer: "Oh we had a wonderful summer last year. Unfortunately I missed it... I was shaving at the time."
Here we are, almost a month into the season and the wind is cold, the sky is leaden and the flies are showing themselves only in little flurries of activity. Today the Lathkill, that beautiful, limestone spring-fed tributary of the Derbyshire Wye, was calling. This winter the keepers had worked very hard on giving this beat its pentennial "haircut" so a natural curiosity to see what things were like was only to be expected.
|Click it to see it bigger. See how there are none of the yellow Lesser Celandine flowers opened up.|
|Yet here we are with Lady's Smock, blooming well, supported by the grasses around it.|
There were some Large Dark Olives skittering about on the surface, dragged hither and thither by the erratic breezes. Not one was being eaten. Very occasionally a singleton Grannom would appear and, in one or two cases, these were eaten... with alacrity! On with the Fresh Grannom then onto the knees and a careful sneak into position.
|He really is behaving himself here. Just behind me there is a pheasant and I've told him "Stay!"|
All were brown trout except for one wild rainbow trout that zoomed all over the pool twice before being tricked into the net. Henry was very relieved to see it there (so was I)...
The "haircut" has been a success. Casting here is now quite easy yet the fish still have their overhangs and other cover to lurk in. It's a beautiful place and, even though we are still under the cold hand of a late winter, there is Sport to be had, if we turn up to fish.
On St. George's day there were Hawthorn flies about, which meant they were two days early, St. Mark's day is when they are supposed to appear. Next week they will be around so Charles Cotton's Black Fly will most likely be the best bet, especially if we finally get a bit of sunshine...