Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The Stunning May Upper Churnet

One of the most useful things about having ones own blog is being able to look back at how the fishing was at the same time in the previous year. This morning, before I walked down on to the river, I looked back to see what conditions were like and to be honest the start of the trout season in 2010 was a little poor. Glen was having quite a good time on the wye over in Bakewell but everywhere else in Staffordshire and Derbyshire saw a bit of a slow start. I remember the first time I saw a fish caught on the dry last year was around about now....the 3rd of May.

The start to my season this year has been amazing. I'm fishing some beautiful venues in glorious summertime like conditions. The flowers are out, and the wildlife too and to be honest, it's just a joy to sit on the river bank and a bonus to catch a wee troot or two.

This season I'm fishing some of my favourite stretches of river. I'm back on the dove with Mr Pointon, (good to see you back son, and good to see how many others are enjoying having you back), I'm fishing the Derbyshire wye, and, like last year, I'm incredibly lucky to be fishing my favourite river, the upper churnet above Leek,

The wye is so full of beautiful wild fish, the lathkill too with rainbows and brownies a plenty. The dove so often runs through glorious surroundings, the fishing is tremendous and the place is steeped in angling history.

Where I fish does not depend upon quality of fish, or how many fish or who else fishes there, or how much it costs. Of all the places I'm lucky enough to fish, the Isle of Islay aside, the upper churnet is by far the quietest. It's the one place I can be away from crowds of folk or busy roads and still be able to catch a fish or two. Don't get me wrong, I love all the places I fish but the churnet above Leek does it for me. It's the sort of place that, if you've got any worries, they can be forgotten very quickly....

(6th May)

(13th May)

The churnet suffered a major pollution incident a few years ago and over 700 fish were killed in the stretch that I fish alone. There was a fish count in October last year that was encouraging and certainly, I had a fair bit of success there last season, albeit they were quite small fish.

This season, things have got off to a good start and bigger fish are starting to show. I found a dead sea trout a little further downstream and I've seen Grayling.Further downstream Otters are now present and there is a run of salmon too...who would have thought it, our churnet that was every colour of the rainbow thanks to Leek's dying plants, and now its flora and fauna so rich. Long may it continue to prosper.

There is always an abundance of fly life above the river and during this last week I've been seeing lots of hawthornes, olives, large dark olives, green fly and a single mayfly. The fish have been smashing small flys on the surface but I've had as much success on very small flys as I have on larger sedge immitations, twitched across the surface of faster running water.