The Last Few Grayling

With a new season just a few weeks away, I’m calling this my last trip of the winter. As March can be brutal, this might be optimistic but I’m dragging back a memory of just a few years ago when we had a mini March heat wave and temperatures were above twenty for a week. Who knows.

Today is a cold dry afternoon, but it is great to be stood in a fast flowing river again.

I’m taking my time. The flow is faster than ideal and today is not a day to get wet. I suspect the grayling will be lying deep though and I’ll need to get close to some of the deeper pools.

After searching the first few likely spots and finding nothing, the kelly is bubbling away a little earlier than usual. Even when there are no obvious signs of fish, sitting on the bank thawing out in the afternoon sun with a warm drink, is satisfying. There are a few fry in the margins and I wonder how successful this winter spawning has been.

Back in the water I persevere with a ginger tom and a pink shrimp trying to cover every inch of each pool. Same result, nothing.

I’m beginning to think that this will be one of those days remembered for a pleasant few hours on the river rather than anything caught. Once upon a time I would have been grumpy but these days I’m more mellow. There are some who will not agree.

I now have a more classic pheasant tail on the point but it’s the small shrimp that finally attracts a fish. The juvenile grayling puts up little resistance, falls off at the net and in just a few seconds is back in the pool. One quality about grayling is that they don’t go back and blab to their mates about the indignity of getting caught and this one seems content for me to pull out six more of his chums from the same few square feet of river.

With cold hands I fumble to take a picture, nearly drop my phone and decide that this sudden change of fortune is enough to call the day a success.

Weather permitting, in about three weeks I will start a fresh season with all the enthusiasm and hope it always brings. Next time out, it’s all about trout.

Mr Notherone