This week has seen some of the best hatches of Mayfly in recent years on this stretch of river. Nothing much doing in the morning with any fish caught falling to Olive patterns, Mayfly have started to hatch around midday and between 4pm and 7pm the air has been thick with mayflies, with some spots boiling as fish dash around to take flies from the surface. Some fish leap to snatch already airborne flies, while others have taken to the spent Mayfly and will touch nothing else. Wind was a problem for part of the week, and prevented some Mayflies from returning to the river to lay their eggs, but for the last few days there have been high numbers of Mayflies flopping down on the water to die and lay their eggs. A shower of rain led to some ditching on the shiny rain covered road, and while parking our car on our return from our weekly trip to the local food emporium several bounced up and down on the shiny bonnet to jettison their ball of eggs. Some anglers who fish other waters report that the Mayfly is almost done, here it is in full swing and nothing short of spectacular.
Our house is in turmoil at the moment, the kitchen is being "zazzed up" and my wife is busy daubing undercoat and gloss paint on any visible woodwork. At the weekend a few friends fished and several others dropped in throughout the morning, "Child A" returned, from whence we know not, with boyfriend in tow, and "Child B" had various cricketing friends turn up; subsequently a party developed. With the house upside down we opted to drink beer in the sunshine and set fire to a variety of meat products by the fishing hut. Some fished and others just chatted, but while food and drink were taken, a Blackbird held us rapt as it sang its head off, before perching on the handrail of the bridge to take brief flight and clumsily pluck hatching Mayflies from the skies; not as agile as the Wagtails or as spectacular as the Swallows and Swifts but entertaining nonetheless, some he got, some he missed, he will probably have just about got the hang of it by the end of the Mayfly.
We have had rain, but only brief showers. The grass has greened up but the river is still falling away. Some of the water celery has broken surface and it may be possible to bar cut some of the river to hold up the level. The Ranunculus looks decidedly ropey, some is turning brown and only the bits in the faster stretches of the top shallows will flower this year. Hatches of midday Olives are down on previous years and I have yet to see a Blue Winged Olive, Sedges are early with good numbers of small brown and black.
There is a lot of mowing and strimming to be done at this time of the year, and the showers of rain have caused several leaf laden branches to drop, these must be cut back where they block paths or restrict casting. The fish in the hatchery are now out on river water and doing well, around an inch and a half long they are very pale when first put onto the gravel bottom of the fry stew but within an hour they have darkened and are very difficult to spot, although the nesting kingfisher seems to have got his eye in. There are fry in the margins of the pond, a scoop through a shoal with a net revealed that they are mostly Roach and Rudd, but with the odd Bream and Tench, no Carp from what I can see.
My employer has been away this week, fishing the Carron with family and friends. They had some success, but returned a day early because of heavy rain that lifted the river by five feet! Following devolution the Scots followed their own path on many issues from university fees to prescription charges. It transpires that they also established diplomatic links with the rain gods and are investing heavily in all available precipitation, to the detriment of the Sassenachs in the southeast, they must be laughing their heads off!