a year of trout & grayling on fixed line fly


Planning new adventures for 2018, I’m remembering the blessings of the last season now passed. A time of learning across nine of our english rivers, searching for wild trout and grayling with a fixed line fly. The visits, crammed in between work/life commitments, while all too brief, were both challenging and rewarding in equal measure.

Good times, fishing with friends old and new and taking on fresh challenges. Above all, looking back over the last year, I see the diverse wealth of fishing available to us across our small island home – I travelled from southern lowland chalk streams to  the tiny moorland systems of the southwest, from the freestone rivers of the Welsh borders to the northern upland streams and back again, to the legendary Wandle in London. I even caught fish in some of them! 

But I have touched on just the surface – there is so much more to discover for anyone up for making the effort.  

They wash away the trying times – a lost rod, a  broken rod, endless road miles, the wet and the cold and the fish-less days –  so it’s good to pause, reflect and enjoy again these golden times. Photographs are so wonderful in helping us remember, here are some of my favourites from last year – I hope you enjoy them too.  

Fishing the tiny wild streams of Bodmin Moor, Cornwall (Summer 2017)

there is nowhere more magical perhaps, than the little trout streams of Bodmin Moor
a pattern that works well for me in the shady woodland   – soft hen hackle bead head in size 16
DWBCornish trout
cosmic camo,  Bodmin trout are among the prettiest of fish
perfection in miniature – a land of tiny fish, tiny streams, tight cover, short rods and light tippets

The River Arrow, Welsh borders (Summer 2017)

a broken rod, a lost lunker and three more fish failing to stick – a rainy day on the Arrow

The Derbyshire Wye (Autumn 2017)

chasing the Wye Holy Trinity of grayling, brown trout and naturalised rainbow trout (photo by Geoff Hadley)
Sakasa kebari Dr Ishigaki style
beautiful wild Wye brownie
Good buddy Geoff Hadley and a fine “Bakewell Tart”
Wye at Bakewell, just before losing a good rainbow at the net
first trout on a new rod

River Derwent ( Autumn 2017)

Autumn grayling from the junction pool on the Derwent
pale sakasa kebari worked well for grayling rising in the current seam
a nice little grayling released
Glen Pointon took this photo and kept me laughing and catching

River Dove (Winter 2017)

the well trodden Izaak Walton beat on the Upper Dove (photo by Paul Williams)
lovely Dove grayling on fixed line nymph (photo by Andy Buckley)
the boys fished French leader, I stuck with fixed line nymphing – catching fewer but bigger fish (photo by Andy Buckley)
tough conditions but good laughs with Andy Buckley and Paul Williams ..
.. and no one could fault the service
in between hail, rain, sleet and snow – a rainbow (photo by Andy Buckley)
a fine (out of season) Dove brownie gave me a good run around but was safely returned (photo by Andy Buckley)

Trout in the City – River Wandle (Spring 2016)

Wandle trout.. surely the spookiest fish on the planet.. the upstream dry fly was invented here (photo by Paul Williams)
my first and most memorable trout on fixed line fly – from a river once so polluted it caught fire.. but nature given half a chance.. (photo by Paul Williams)

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