Bill plays a nice Wye brownie
The Wye is the only river in Britain where Rainbow trout thrive and breed (literally as you are about to see) naturally. The Rivers Wye and Derwent meet just outside club member, Bill Hunter's hotel at Rowsley. The plan was to fish the Wye on Monday, so a Sunday morning recce was arranged. This entailed a look at the big rainbows up to about an estimated 7/8lbs that can be seen all along the footpath beside the river as it passes through the heart of the market town of Bakewell. These guys compete with the mallards for all the bread that the tourists throw at them. They can be clearly seen from the footbridges that cross the slow water stretch. Its quite a sight to watch some of them in the adjacent streamier water rise for small pieces of bread coming down in the current, just like dry flies.
A rainbow patiently waits beside the footpath for his packed lunch and (right) one of the big fat boys
But none of that on the Monday. Bill spent most of the afternoon fishing the stretch immediately below Bakewell. The crystal clear river is not too wide and continualy twists and turns to create excellent runs and steams. A few Olives began to hatch around mid-day until about 4.00 pm.
Despite bankside debris, (including 26 Japanese Yen!) three grayling, two small rainbows and a decent brownie fell for Bill's medium olive Klinkhammer before he called it a day and headed for the Orvis shop before it closed. Interestingly, the guy at the Orvis shop referred to the the big Bakewell rainbows as "pet trout - just call their names and they'll come swimming". Now, where have we heard that before?
PS The cost for the day was £40, plus rod licence, for dry fly only and no wading! Compare this with the day Bill spent two weeks later at Tullyford on the Hosier A.C stretch of the Clyde for £4 total. Guess what one he enjoyed best?
Tuesday, 7 April 2009 - River Usk (Powys)
Covering the rising fish at the top pool
A flip through John Baillie's book "Where to Fish in Britain and Ireland" at the flytying the week before, was enough to convince Bill that 160 mile trip across England from Derbyshire to South Wales would be worth it to fish the famous River Usk. A race against the clock, not helped by taking the wrong road at the bridge outside the village of Crichowell, north east of Abergavenny, meant that fishing did not commence till nearly 3.00pm. The main hatch had been missed, but a good few sized trout were still rising at the back end of the pool at the top of the beat. Impatient to explore all of the runs and pools in the Gliffaes Hotel water, Bill worked his way downstream. Unfortunately, no fish were showing in this mainly fast water. Nevertheless, the river was absolutely beautiful to fish - a reasonably sized mountain stream tumbling ever downwards. Wading was found to be pretty treacherous though, with great care needed to avoid a dooking.
Speculating through the middle stretch
At 4.30pm, olives were still hatching, along with sedges. The whole area around the hotel formed a glorious suntrap, with the river valley providing even more shelter from any April breezes above. At the last "back end" before the big salmon pool that marks the end of the beat, Bill spotted a very large trout on the feed. He covered this and two others - both decent sized, with a variety of olives and even a Grannom imitation,but they wouldn't be tempted. In desperation, a size 20 bluebottle spider was attached to the olive New Zealand style. Unfortunately, the big trout did not show again, but Bill rose the other two - twice ......... and missed them each time on the strike.
It was now late afternoon and, with these fish down, Bill finished the day with a wet cast that had the size 20 spider retained on the point. One good trout just short of the 1lb mark was hooked before eventually splashing itself off in the fast water. So ended an afternoon with no fish caught, but vastly superior to the day before, spent on one of the most glorious rivers in the U.K.