Alan arrived first at the river and had three or four fish before I joined him. While he got a brew on I had a cast, taking one of the rivers natural population. It was too small to be one of the stockies being only 7 inches long. After refreshment we headed downstream. Soon I was thankful that I had remembered my waterproof. Today the rain was a good thing, adding just a touch of colour to the river, and bringing the trout on the feed.
In a deep riffle we came across a number of rising trout. As Alan had had several fish he graciously left them to me. This riffle is close to the bank we were approaching from, so a little wading was required. Once in position I tried them with a variety of flies. Rising one or two fish but not connecting. The first fish I connected with felt large but wasn't. It was foul hooked and lead me a merry dance before I could release it.
To my great joy May Flies were hatching. Not many, but seeing them about I reached for the large mayflies: wrong! I should have looked more carefully. Large black midges dotted the surface. These, not the May Flies, were the fishes target. (By large I mean about size 18. Big as midges go in these parts) My Little Black Bug was the ideal imitation, but impossible to spot in the riffle. I drew more rises, but missed them all, through not being sure they had come to my fly. Several I bumped off. A solution was to fish a larger dry on a dropper. Then I could strike at any rise in the area of the large fly.
In the end it was the oversized Elk Hair Caddis that accounted for this.
Not the largest of trout but a good one around 15 inches. Also not a stockie. Look at the tail!
Several years ago I fished the Bolton Abbey water on the Wharfe. Under the trees on the far bank a steady stream of May Flies rode the current, the trout rising madly amongst them. "Great," I thought, "an early May Fly hatch." Putting on a large mayfly I proceeded to draw not a single rise. After a lot of changes of flies and removing the splinters from my fingers, from a bout of head scratching, I sussed out what the trout wanted: Aphids. Greenfly had been falling from the trees in large numbers, driving the trout wild. I had to go from the largest flies in my box to the smallest. I should have learned from that to look again. Obviously I didn't.
We fished on, the rain came in waves, the fish ate our flies. That was about all there was for the rest of the afternoon. satisfied we decided to retire to the local tea rooms. Disaster again struck. The tea rooms closed at 4:30. Nothing else was left so we parted and headed home.
A satisfactory day, despite the problems we had. Next week maybe the trout will be on the May Flies... But I will double check.