Finally it rained, two inches over consecutive nights. A spectacular thunderstorm one night and steady rainfall the following night tainted the water and briefly lifted the level by a midge's dick, but it has since dropped down to last week’s level. It takes a lot of rain at this time of the year to affect aquifers, demand for water is high at this time of year and little is left to save in the underground piggy bank.
Fishing has been good with the Hawthorn now over and the Mayfly begun. A few fish were caught last week on small sedges and today, for the first time this year, fish were caught on Mayflies. Biggest fish so far is just over three pounds and had probably been in the river for at least a couple of seasons. Generally the fish caught have over wintered well although two lanky fish have been caught both very silver fish of around two pounds. Fish have risen when fly have been on the water, although midday Olives have been noticeable by their absence. As is the case most years early season fish have risen short or crashed the fly, both natural and artificial; occasional clumsiness that will fade as the feast of flies on the surface develops through the coming weeks.
The birds have found the Mayfly and put on an entertaining afternoon aerobatic display. Swallows and Swifts hit the rising flies at high speed while Wagtails dash from the bank to pluck them feet from the surface sometimes off a rising trout's nose. If in a later life, I have to come back in another form, please not as a Mayfly who must annually endure the invertebrate equivalent of “going over the top”
In the hedge bordering the field of wheat behind our house an English Partridge sits on eggs; the first that I have seen in this field for some time. When our chickens were at the top of the garden we once had a huge brood of English Partridge that would come and feed with Pocahontas (the children were young then and our chooks had names) and chums. The estate who own the land have put a lot of work into encouraging English Partridge on the surrounding land but to date results have been disappointing. We have seen them on our shooting days, but not for some years. The intense showers that we have seen in recent days provide a big test for young chicks of all birds bar wildfowl. This lot could do with a bit of a break and I’ve half a mind to lend them my fishing umbrella just in case. Several pheasants are sitting on eggs in the Christmas tree plantation, and surprisingly Otis the arse gives them a wide birth on our morning preamble.
Currently Fishermen are ensconced throughout the valley with numbers swelling each day. An influx of guides parade, tackle shops titivate displays, picnics are prepared and many more set themselves for a perennial boost to business provided by a fly that takes an incredible hammering from all quarters, but thankfully,keeps coming back for more.