So last night I got the vice out and tied some flies.
I am one of those people who do actually need to have a purpose to tie flies so the fact that I needed some comparaduns to imitate olives was good enough reason to get the bad boy out and get tying. However forget about seeing any pictures of them as I totally forgot.
Instead have a report.
I managed an hour or so after work today, it was touch and go however seeing as how I had some outstanding child care in the shape of my Mother n’ Law I was able to squeeze it in. When I got to the river I thought I was totally wasting my time however by the time I walked along the stretch a hundred yards I spotted a trout popping up from the depths to start taking one of the many olives that were drifting slowly down. It was around 7 degrees.
There is nothing nicer when fishing than seeing a confident riser.
It fought like a beast and put a bend in my four weight.
I walked/scrambled up the river until I came to what looks like a new bothy that someone has built.
I kept on walking up the bank until I got as far as I could without getting into the water until I had too. I waded out into the river as I spotted some risers in the pool in front of me. It was like walking on ice, a combination of ledges with old weed and felt soles made every step dangerous. I took baby steps until I got around half way cross. It was at this point I started to slide, I was going down into the water and totally shit myself. Out loud I said “Oh fuuuuuuu..” before stopping a few inches lower than I started after travelling/sliding around a foot and a half. I must have looked like some kind of crazy skier sliding into the water.
I mean it was not that deep, maybe up to my wait however it was deep enough to give me a proper dunking. I stayed on the ledge and started to inch my way back, I knew as long as I could follow a sandy bar I should be alright – it started to rain.
Obviously no dunking occurred and I walked down the riverbank.
I spotted another riser behind some fallen trees however I judged that it was just not worth it.
Oh, and it was still raining. It did not stop me from catching another trout though.
As you can see the water is a bit of a funny color, it is probably snow melt causing it to be that milky way rather than something else more sinister. It was strange today, it was back to not really feel like Spring, it felt more like Autumn fishing apart from the new keen spring trout. On the way back to the car I met a gent who fishes the Leven regularly for Salmon and we had an interesting conversation.
From here on in the temps are set to rise reaching some giddy double digits by Sunday.
Bring it on!
I managed a second trip out after work the other day however this time it was a much chillier affair. Even though the temp was hovering around the 7 degree point the wind chill brought it down significantly. Consequently the spot I chose for the assault was a poor decision as it is quite exposed as it is wide.
I checked a few likely runs for some risers however the place appeared barren. I walked up to a long bend that is usually a good place to pick up some trout however it was being whipped up by the chilly wind, no self respecting olive would be seen ascending in that water.
I walked down the river a distance and spotted two risers under a bridge.
I have spotted trout under this bridge before and just like then they proved to be incredibly spooky not even letting me get one cast at them before disappearing. It feels strange casting for trout as the noise of buses and cars thunder above you.
I walked further down and rearranged the floral tributes that had been left for Daniel Marchbank the angler who drowned in the Vet School. Some of the flowers had fallen over in the wind. I have stayed away from this spot even whilst being out for my run and this was the first time I had taken a walk down.
I decided to not walk any further downstream at this point as quite frankly the mood had been taken from me. Like I say I have ran through the Vet School a few times since the boy drowned and I have not seen anyone fish the pool. I suspect folk will stay away until the flowers are gone as a mark of respect. The association is in negotiation for some kind of danger sign to be erected at the pool however at the moment the flowers do just as well.
A chap sat on the opposite bank with a pram next to him, it was an older man so I suspected it was not his child. I looked at the opposite side of the pool where olives tend to gather resulting in rising trout in front of the island however there were none. You can walk up the pool from the island maybe a quarter of the way before you feel the dip of the pool drop off starting. In the above picture you can see the ledges on the right which you can walk out on. They can be slippy and one juts out slightly further than the others. Pretty much the only time I would wade them is the depth you can see now. On the day that Daniel drowned it was maybe a few inches over that with the color of snowmelt which would have meant seeing the ledges would be impossible. I always wondered why this is such a sandy pool, is it because a lot of people come to this pool and just over time the vegetation has worn away?
I walked up the river and had another stab at the trout under the bridge however my heart was not really in it. I had a tight timescale to keep and I knew the trout were not going to respond in the hour or so I was there.
Thankfully it looks like we are heading towards proper Spring weather at last. I always find it amazing at this time of year as one moment the trees are bare and the next everything is green. I had tied up a few flies the other night and was disappointed that I never had the chance to properly cover a rising trout.
I suppose that is “spring” for you!
All this talk of freezing cold temps and slow start to the season has really gotten on my goat. Consequently I decided that enough was enough and it was actually time to cast a fly and have a look for myself. After work I bolted to the river to find it looking barren and incredibly unfishy. However the temps were around 8/9 degrees and it did actually feel warm when the sun came out. I walked up the pool until I spotted a rising trout, and then another and then another.
I strung up my rod, stuck on a fly and cast. I covered the trout a couple of times before it took and I was too slow in striking. I covered another one and it was a belter, it went bananas all over the pool before becoming free. In the end I connected* with five and lost two. I covered some more and at one point while I was standing in the water waiting on the trout rising again a chap with his girlfriend in tow scrambled down to the river on the opposite bank. He then lifted a log and launched it into the river around 100m upstream of me. The waves washed down the pool for a few hundred meters. I asked him not to do it again and he told me to “fuck off”. Still, he put his 2nd log down and wandered off with his bird. There had been a mighty clash of testosterone and my chastisement of the boy was obviously enough – hopefully his girlfriend will see him for the lout he is and not breed.
The first trout that I landed was due to a rather heroic cast of about 30 feet upstream and across the river to a spooky trout – it took 2nd cast. Not bad for someone that has not picked up a rod in 6 months. The 2nd trout however just spun around as I brought it to hand, as I examined it I realised that it was still in pretty poor condition. It was long and slim.
I wandered up and down for a bit and then walked up to the car. Even though it was quite chilly it was also pretty sunny and bright, I was still glad I had my woolly hat on instead of the baseball cap that I usually wear.
As I walked up to the car I was glad that I had got out. As I drove up the road I could not help but think about Iain M Banks who has sadly announced that he has cancer and is unlikely to live out the year. I have read his books since my teens and was kinda shocked when I read the news today.
You just don’t know the minute!
*basically a trout looked at my fly or I lost it.
Not long ago on the Kelvin there used to be not that many guys fishing the river for trout. Sometimes I would go whole months without meeting another fly angler..
I give a wry smile to myself when I meet guys who say they have been fishing the river “for years”. I was lucky enough just 10 years ago (pre children) to be able to spend every day on the river at various times. It all depended on my wife and her shift patterns however few days of the season were not covered – I hardly met a soul.
The last time I moved home we were lucky enough to just have to shift our stuff a few hundred yards from a flat to a house. That was around 8 years ago. Now again we have our home on the market and are looking elsewhere for a new family home. There is a hint of apprehension in all this as I know exactly how long it takes me to get to various parts of the river from my home just now. I have worked out how long it takes me to get home from work and what stops I can make along the way at the river yet still get home at a reasonable time without there being any incidents. When looking at areas and houses I look for that blue line that tells me there is some kind of fishing not far from me. At least all the areas we are looking at still has the Kelvin within striking distance although at one point we were thinking of moving so far out the city that I was almost going to take up Salmon fishing. Still, the upper Kelvin and the newly acquired Luggie were in easy striking distance so I was not too fussed.
Out for a run today and it did look quite nice, met a few anglers as well.
Once the afternoon looked as if it was heating up some I got the boys into their warm coats and headed along to the Kelvin. I had heard stories of trout in some rivers still responding to olives even though it was snowing and wanted to see if I was being premature in dismissing the river and fishing it until the temp creeps up next weekend.
It looked pretty fine.
Every now and again the sun would come out and I would feel it on my face, likewise every now and again the wind would pick up and my hands would be freezing. The boys would look a bit grumpy as well. I decided that if I was going to spot a rising trout it was going to be today, I had a sneaky feeling I would see one (or possibly two)
I set the boys at every opportunity to looking for olives and rising trout…
Annoyingly they kept on throwing stones and sticks into the water which eventually became infectious as I began to throw stones at the water as well – it was actually one helluva lot more fun than what you might think.
We walked a bit up the river and I gazed and spots that I just knew would hold trout..
Eventually we stopped off at what used to be one of my favorite pools on the river. People like to think that this pool was always fished however it really was not. back in the day on the bridge every weekend would find a new burnt out car on it and the whole area was just a little bit dodgy. If you have a look at the “Urban Fly Fishing on the Kelvin” site you will see a picture of a car on the bridge, it really was a common sight.
Now the pool is pestered by dog walkers (and those horrible dog walking agencies) however you used to not see many folk around even 10 years ago.
This last pool was where I decided to leave the river as quite frankly if it was going to have happened i would have seen it. I was walking slow enough and studying each pool for so long that I would not have missed a trout. I was slightly disappointed however in the grand scheme of things I know “it” is on the way.
We walked up and came up against my arch nemesis – the Highland Cow
I took the opportunity to introduce them to the boys as I put on my best manly attitude – I don’t want them thinking their father is some kind of pansy that is scared of cows!
As we walked down the road the sun was still shining and I could still feel that change that was in the air. Maybe Spring is actually finally here, I know we can still have snow however I feel as if we have not only turned a corner but are now fair powering up towards something.
When I think about what once was
I think about what we have now
And I think about what we might have in the future