Photograph by Steve Barnett

Monday 18 April 2016

"Please keep us posted if you see any spawning action"

"Will do!" was my reply. 

Jack Perks the wildlife photographer and underwater movie maker wants to feature grayling spawning.  The river keepers on Haddon Estate are keen to help him so Warren sent me an email "Please keep us posted if you see any spawning action".  The request is a massive compliment, paying tribute to the time your faithful blogger spends (invests!) beside the local rivers.  Anyway the swollen head must have settled back down to normal size by this morning as the fishing hat still fitted it...

Today, being Sunday, a visit to the undisturbed private waters of the Derbyshire Wye in Duck Holds Wood seemed like a good idea.  Henry came along.  He hasn't been there since September but he knew exactly where we were and where we often stop together to trick a fish or two.  If we were moving he'd go a little way in front and then sit patiently waiting until his angler arrived to sit with him.  He's almost a four legged fishing guide!

Patiently Waiting!

Impatiently Watching! 
A fish had just risen by that trailing branch and his angler has not caught it yet...
The new attempt at the "Fresh Grannom" was put to good use as the Grannom fortnight is still with us although it will surely be over by next Sunday.  The first cast brought a very fine brown trout, bathed in gold, to the fly, but your correspondent was unready and failed to set the hook.  The trout did not make the same mistake twice!  A couple of small wild rainbow trout were early visitors to the landing net but from then on it was a wild brown trout day, as it should be so early in the season.
A Rise!

Did You See That?  There WAS a rise!
At the place where there used to be the old Duck Hold, from which this wooded fishery gets its name, there is a well scoured, long fall of bright gravel.  On this gravel the grayling were very busy.  Careful not to risk disturbing them, a quick 'phone call to Warren brought him round to confirm this was "spawning action" and they were indeed grayling.  Jack Perks will be invited over very soon.
Oh do you want me to move for a photograph of the Grayling Redd?

Okay!  I'll move then...
After Warren left us, the rest of the day was spent fishing and walking our way back up river to Bakewell, where dinner was waiting...

Regular Rod

Saturday 9 April 2016

Learning About the Grannom

What a bonus this fly is in a cold April!  Your blogger is not as well acquainted with the Grannom as he is with the other flies of the Derbyshire rivers.  Whenever it has been the trigger for spectacular sport in the past this was as a most fortunate guest of pals on the Yorkshire rivers during their "Grannom Fortnights" in Aprils past.  It is just possible to count on the fingers of both hands how many of those weeks have been enjoyed by your faithful correspondent up on those boisterous, free-stone, rivers.  The Grannom has hardly figured on the mother river the Derbyshire Wye...

That is until recent years, which have seen this fly appearing on the Derwent and the Wye in greater and greater numbers and the fish have noticed!  Historically on the Derbyshire Wye's lower reaches the Grannom was of no direct import to the dry fly angler because the season didn't begin until May 15th.  The Grannom is over and done with by the end of April.

It's a fly that actually changes colour as it flies away from the water.  It emerges with quite a green body and with dun coloured wings.  Catch one on the surface and you will see.  Catch one a few minutes later when it is on land and the green has turned to an ashy tan and the wings are a cold dark brown.  Copy the later fly and cast it at fish taking freshly emerged Grannom and you will fluke a fish or two.  This is what your blogger used to do as the Double Badger was pressed into service when the Grannom had been identified ON LAND...

It was only after scooping one out of the water, by trapping it in the hairs on the back of the hand, that the colour difference was noted.  A loud and clear signal to get back to the vice and prepare something more like the newly emerged colouring.

You are already aware that your blogger prefers a ragged style of fly for fakes of the sedge (caddis) flies.  The anatomy of the Nondescript Sedge (NDS) was therefore chosen as the basis for the fresh attempt at a fresh fake of the Fresh Grannom.

Here is the Step-By-Step for tying the "Fresh Grannom".

Pinch out three equal amounts of Highland Green, Green Olive and Lime Green DRF dubbing (this is Seal's Fur but not essential)
Mingle them together thoroughly
Collect the rest of the materials: Thick Black Thread; Size 14 LS Hooks; Dun Cock Hackles; Deer Hair; the mingled Green Dubbing.
Start at the bend and run on a bed of the thread to the point where the front of the body will be.
Dub on sufficient dubbing to make the body
Wind on the body down to the bend as shewn and rib it through to the front with open ribbing turns of the thread.  Carry on with the thread to make a bed for the wing to adhere to.

Tear off enough Deer Hair to make a straggly wing and tie it in with three tight turns.  Trim the wing roots to a taper.
Using the brush in the cap of some Sally Hansen Hard As Nails nail polish, stipple a good dollop into the trimmed roots of the wing and wind the thread tightly to the front just behind the eye.

Strip off the waste fibres at the root end of a Dun Cock Hackle and, with the concave side towards you, tie it in tightly into the still moist nail polish (or tying cement) finishing at the base of the wing.
Wind the hackle 6 to 8 turns back to the base of the wing.  Catch it in with the thread and quickly wind the thread through the hackle back to the very front of the fly just behind the hook eye.   Tweak off both waste ends of the hackle.  Make a whip finish and lacquer the head, remembering to clear the eye before it dries.  Voila!  The "Fresh Grannom"!

So far, during a hatch of Grannom, it seems to be working better than my browner fakes used to do.  The results are better than the flukes experienced before.

I hope it works for you too!

Regular Rod

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Come and see...

Have a look at this.  Saturday May 7th 2016 - a date for your diary...

A map I made up a while ago for a friend.  The Peacock has a better one now...
See you there?

Regular Rod

Sunday 3 April 2016

April Fool!

Dry Net!  Never mind.  The year is yet young.  The flies that have refused to hatch so far will have to hatch eventually.  This will mean more of them later on possibly leading to more "Red Letter Days" for your blogger.  It was great to be out by the little limestone river that is the lower Lathkill.  It may be small but it still benefits from the winter storms introducing new features into the water.  Here are a couple of places that would be really dull if it wasn't for the woody debris that seems to have fallen just right for the trout.

A fine place for an ambush come high summer.

Fresh woody debris that has landed perfectly after splitting from the tree in a gale
This high water shows up the seams that will be feed lanes and holding stations come summertime

Here's another spot where a branch has snagged and then caught up more debris for trout to hide in.

Your blogger may have been made an April Fool on opening day but his little black friend thinks it was a Grand Day Out!

(He is quite right of course...)

Regular Rod