Intense showers have freshened the river and fishing continues to improve, although high wind for a few days resulted in difficult conditions for flicking flies. Several large fish have been caught, along with many between one and two pound, most of which have been returned. Daddies have caught the most fish but emergers and small drably dressed nymphs have taken their share. With two weeks of the Trout season remaining it wouldn’t be unusual to see some of the Cock fish colouring up and chasing around, but no sign of any change yet. We have some very big Grayling in the river at the moment, and this week a fish of well over two pounds, the biggest this year, was taken on a PTN, October and November fishing for Grayling could well be some of the best in recent times. The Roach also appeared to have fed well this summer and we have a good head of fish over the pound, when I cut the weed out at the start of next month the small pockets of Roach join up into larger shoals and it will be easier to make an assessment of their numbers.
Currently the river is crystal clear, and has a hint of late season sparkle, the only blot on the copybook the verdant blanket weed that is currently smothering what’s left of the Ranunculus and Celery, any Ranunculus that is free from the shackles of blanket weed is in spanking form, emerald green and luxuriant. Mental notes are also taken at this time of the year as to which trees need sorting out over the winter, everything looks a little different when the leaves are gone and the branches have lifted. Some spots need hitting quite hard, with Crack Willow to the fore once again.
Away from the river, the Pheasants look pretty good, although a little friendly. They spend much of the morning in the long grass next to the river. Ten minutes of Otis tickling them up has made them a little less domesticated and shoved them back into the wood although they keep coming back for more. The Maize is some of the best we have had in recent year and the sooner they find that the better.
On the pond the early feeding appears to have paid dividends and we have good numbers flighting at night. I have cut the duck hides, and in a few days we will shoot the pond for the first time this year. Cover is still thick around the pond, so picking up in the dark (should we shoot anything) will be a test for a Labrador, who desperately needs to buck his ideas up. There have been ducks on the pond throughout the day. This may be down to the thicker cover around the pond or the presence of half a dozen plastic ducks bobbing about, that Otis will no doubt retrieve one by one in the pitch black and dutifully lay at my feet.
I have also spent some time pepping up the electric fences around the stew ponds. Cold weather and an empty belly sharpens the mind of the Otter who will look for the easiest meal possible once the frolicking of summer is done.