21/05/2014 - Trophy trout from neglected streams

If you're familiar with Glen Pointon's blog (see my blog list) you'll have seen that he has been catching some massive trout from a relatively small and underfished river. It's certainly encouraging in this day and age that these waters and, more importantly, these fish still exist. That, along with Theo Pike's enthusiasm about urban trout rivers (see my links), has really inspired me to pick up the fly rod again and get out and explore. My latest trip was over to Derbyshire to fish a club water on a small tributary of the River Derwent. Took the morning off work when, with hindsight, I should have had the whole day. Had never been before but knew that a bit of jungle warfare was going to be involved, so took the 7 ft #4 outfit and the chest waders thinking I'd be spending more time in the river than on the bank.

Gateway to the unknown!

Dropped into the river and waded up underneath the railway bridge at the lower boundary. There were blizzards of gnats hovering above the water in places, but no visual signs of any fish, so opted for the upstream nymph approach with a size 14 goldhead GRHE. Had a couple casts into some likely looking spots with no interest from the fish before coming to the first proper run into a little pool. First cast - bump! Second cast - fish on! A decent one to start with as well. 


Carried on wading slowly upstream, picking off fish here and there, with the deeper runs next to submerged tree roots almost guaranteeing a take, along with the odd obvious "suicide swim"!

 Hit and hold!

The fish were quite variable in terms of colouration, but were all fin perfect and the ones from the more inaccessible spots from the bank probably had never seen a hook before. 


Some of the pools were suprisingly deep. I was stood up to the front pocket of my chesties in one of them, casting up along some more tree roots, when I had a thump on the rod tip. Knew it was a good fish, but was conscious of snags, so really gave it some welly, pulling it by the nose into the main body of the pool. Let it charge around until it was ready for the net. Have to admit letting out a shout of "Yessss!" as I lifted it clear of the water. At about 41 cm this was easily my biggest, wild  brownie and a fantastic surprise.


Took a couple of photos and slipped him back into his tree root-lined hole to recover while I had 5 minutes myself!

Look at the paddle on that!

Could have quite happily finished and gone home at that point, but I still had a bit of time before I had to go to work and I hadn't reached the upstream limit of the fishery, so carried on. There were a few visual indications by now, with the odd fish rising and bulging under the surface. I'd spotted just one "proper" mayfly resting on the bankside vegetation earlier, but I couldn't really see what they were after apart from the millions of gnats, so carried on with the nymph. Had a few more fish including a couple of "fingerlings", a sign of a healthy population hopefully, and a really pretty, heavily spotted fish.

Derbyshire leopard

My time was really up at this point, so regretfully had to leave, having to ignore several more juicy spots to try another time. However, slogged it back to the car along the road well pleased with a dozen fish in about three hours of fishing, including my own trophy trout! 

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