Saturday, June 13, 2015

Ne'er cast a clout till May is out

The title of this post is a term I often heard quoted by my elders - my parents etc. - when I was younger and moaning about the weather. When asked what they meant, they said that you should never pack away your winter clothes before the end of May - and that has certainly been the case this year.
May 2015 has been been dominated by cold, damp, miserable weather. The cold start to this year has put everything back a touch; approximately three weeks according to the gardeners that I know. Having said that: it's not all doom and gloom and we've had some good sport over the last month....

The month started wet and the rivers rose for Wim's visit to Eden, so we had to revert to chasing Rainbows....

Wim is into the first fish of his stillwater session

Wet weather and rising rivers also dominated the second week of May but it didn't worry David and Derek. They both hit Ullswater and enjoyed perfect conditions for lake fishing. Both anglers fished well on their respective days and moved, and caught, a good number of fish on their team of flies.

David with one of his fish on a productive day on Ullswater

It was a bit wilder for Derek's day but good fishing brought it's rewards

The weather settled down by the middle of May and gave us the opportunity to get back to the rivers. Matt joined me to look at using a 'French leader' and we couldn't have asked for better: we started the day on the nymph before going on to upstream spiders then dry flies and all produced fish throughout the day....

Matt returns a fish taken on 'French leader' and dry fly

May also saw a few who were trying fly fishing for the first time. It's always great to introduce beginners to our sport. Friends Adam and Niall joined me for their first attempt. After a morning session looking at tackle and casting, which they both picked up really well, we fished in the afternoon and they both made contact with their first fish on the fly. As did Carol and Simon on their visit: the day was a birthday present for Carol so it was great that she soon came to terms with the casting, and fished well. The fish showed their appreciation too, with a decent number showing a liking to her fly....I think all left with the fishing bug and we have a few new converts to our great sport. 
Niall is into his first on the fly

A first for carol on her fly fishing debut

A couple of days off from guiding etc during the third week of the month gave me the opportunity to get some fishing in. I hit it just right on the first day. It was a dull day and the wind was blasting upstream - I hate fishing in a wind - but that was soon forgotten when I saw that fish were rising. There was still the odd Grannom about and getting blown onto the water, although the fish were more interested in intermittent flurries of Olive Uprights. My first offering - a dun imitation - was ignored but a change to an Olive emerger produced an immediate response and a good number of fish followed before the hatch petered out and all went quiet.

This Eden Brown fell for an Olive emerger

Another session before my guiding duties resumed saw me out on one of the few sunny days that we had in May. Clear blue skies, bright sunshine and a lack of fly meant that the fish were keeping their heads down. They were still feeding hard though and the 'upstream nymph' produced a steady stream of fish throughout the session....

One to the 'upstream nymph'

It's great to see young anglers coming into our sport. Otto and his brother were out to brush up on their fly fishing skills during the school holidays. Both did very well with their casting and were soon fishing. Young Otto certainly had the 'midas touch' with a fish on his third cast ! 

Otto with a fish on his third cast

Our true Mayfly 'Ephemera danica' turned up towards the end of the month; late, but better late than never - it was nearly two weeks later than normal. Locally, this large upwing is more associated with Ullswater but numbers on the river have been on the increase over the last couple of years and this year was the best I've seen for some time. I witnessed good hatches on the Eden and it's main tributary, the Eamont, and the fish were on them. Yellow May duns were also starting to show up in good numbers too and I did see the odd one taken, although not many. I don't know why, but I've never witnessed a good rise to this  bright yellow dun - maybe they're not very tasty - although I have had fish in the past that have been stuffed with Yellow May emergers....

A first on the fly for Barb

The last weekend of the month saw Bill and Barb visiting Eden. They were visiting the UK from Winsconsin and stopped off to try out our great river. The chilly winds that have dominated the month blew through Eden on their day. So the weather could have been kinder to them, especially when it was Barb's first go at the fly, but she did well and was rewarded with a few fish.

I hope all that visited Eden in May enjoyed themselves and, despite the weather, we manged to get fish  on most outings....

I must apologise for the lateness of this Eden update but now that we're into June, the weather has improved and the fishing has been good during the day and in the evening. With the longer days comes the evening sport and - given the right conditions - some late evening sedge/caddisfly (trichoptera) hatches and associated rises. So at this time, blog updates are difficult....

A Sedge feeder taken on a recent evening session