So finally managed to get some fishing squeezed in amongst the madness of 2nd time fatherhood.
With hindsight maybe I should have chosen a different river, I decided on the Shit Pipe River pretty much because it was far enough away to feel I was on a trip yet close enough to bolt home if things turned nasty the first time the boys were alone with their mother.
I flicked through my phone to see who would be around and decided that I have not fished with Jim Lees from Palewatery nearly half as much as I should have – I have fished with him once back in 2008 and apart from some random meetings on the river bank never again. Jim informed me he was supposed to be renovating his house however after what seemed like a second of weighing up the pros and cons ditched the decorating – top priorities!
With hindsight we should really have chosen another river – usually when you get to a river you judge whether it is fishable by whether it is too high or too low (sometimes), the water clarity and other stuff like that. Weather conditions can be combated on wee rivers, if it is too bright you look for pools in the shade and just work your way up.
Fridays conditions were pretty damn good, it was bright intermittently mixed in with a lot of heavy clouds with a temp that stayed around the the 14 degrees mark (possibly a little higher), there was also lots of insects around: spinners and terrestrials.
So after all that why should we have chosen another river? Because, there was also a very grey color to the water.
Oh there was trout there all right, I managed to winkle a couple out – one was a good one maybe around the quarter of a pound mark (both released without actually touching my hand or getting with a couple of feet of me). The bigger one was sitting in a tiny pocket between some slack and faster water – I cast, cast and cast again covering the same spot – I knew that if I just get the drift right a trout would take the fly.
We also saw some trout rising however considering the conditions you would really expect to have seen some consistent sport considering the conditions.
Still we gave it a good go though – most pools had a cursory fly thrown at it and Jim even stuck on a nymph. However there was still that nagging feeling that we “should” be picking up trout on every pool we really concentrated on – some of the pools just looked unbelievably fishy and there was no real reason why the trout would not take.
If I had been fishing myself the trip would have been ok bordering on mild disappointment that the shit did not come together – as it was we chatted about the rivers we fish, the characters we both mutually know, the current state of pish fishing forums that litter the internet and the headbangers they attract, flies, casting and how a good caster can still be a shite fisher and many other interesting topics (I am a shite caster and a mediocre fisher who can talk a good game which makes up for a lot) – Jim is also a web man so rates highly in my geeky world.
Of course I spotted the usual obligatory burnt out car – looks damn old, maybe from the 80s?
Jim has fished this river a lot more than I have (albeit downstream) and has witnessed the grey color before and stated that it usually puts a death knell on the fishing – we wondered exactly why this might be the case as the visibility in the water was still fairly decent and trout can take flies in pretty murky water. I remember fishing buddy Campbell telling me that the grey color is usually caused by treated sewage which would probably be legal enough to be pumped into the river. I decided on returning home that a call to SEPA may be worthwhile – they told me they had reports of a problem at a sewage plant out that way however they would check it out. They asked if I could be more specific about where the river was white “You don’t get it, the whole river was white – at least a couple of miles worth” They could see how that could have been a problem. Another warning sign that this river may have some kind of underlying problem is the weed growth – there was a lot of it – that stuff was probably feeding on affluent – like I say, I do not call it “shit pipe” river for nothing.
In fact that is another thing that Jim and I spoke of – how overlooked some of these wee rivers can be, only being fished now and again by a few guys. It does not have a club to look after it so problems relating to sewage go unreported. I suppose in a way I am glad that on the day I managed to get some trout fishing done something was causing a problem with the river – it drove home the point that every problem should be reported so that on the days you do get out there are no problems – does that make sense?