The Kelvin – Safety Advice Re Rats Piss

I have heard about the Kelvin and its dodgy water for a while – mostly idle talk from passer-by’s and dark talk about rats piss from anglers. Well I was browsing around and came across this chaps site who likes to…..get this…..go near the water without a rod in hand and take a boat out on the river. Yes, I found it all very odd as well – however it seems these “boat people” have the same ideas and problems as us anglers:

…this has been quite a good paddling season in Scotland so far, there has been some really wet weekends, although typically the rain pelts down on a Sunday night and so the rivers are swollen during the week when I’m at uni, and everyone else is at work. But if you try hard enough you can often find like minded people that have skipped lectures or called in sick.

Anyway, if you read on you find out the chaps pal came down with an infection called Leptospirosis after paddling with his boat in the Kelvin. The infection is commonly transmitted to humans by allowing fresh water that has been contaminated by animal urine to come in contact with unhealed breaks in the skin, eyes or with the mucous membranes. Leptospirosis is transmitted by the urine of an infected animal, and is contagious as long as it is still moist. Although rats, mice and voles are  hosts, a wide range of other mammals including dogs, deer, rabbits, hedgehogs, cows and sheep are possible transmitters.In most cases the infection causes a flu-like illness and severe headaches. The severe form of the disease (Weil’s disease) causes jaundice and liver damage and carries a reported death rate anywhere between 4-40% which would bring the annual membership of the KAA down to around 200 I would imagine. However only about 10-15% of affected people suffer this more dangerous form. Leptospirosis starts about 10 days (it can vary between 7-12 days) after infection with the bacteria, and may be so mild as to be unsuspected. In more severe cases it starts suddenly with:

  • headache
  • fever
  • chills
  • severe muscle aches and tenderness
  • redness of the eyes
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • sometimes a skin rash

Advice

Well it could be argued the symptoms are every similar to ones you might get when the old ball n’ chain starts talking about the kitchen shelves or even painting the back bedroom. However considering the amount of rats I have seen while fishing on the Kelvin (along with the other wildlife) I think taking the following precautions would be prudent:

  • Do not drink the water
  • If you have any open wounds (cuts in your hand) make sure they are covered by a plaster – might be worthwhile carrying some plasters with you.
  • Best not to splash your face with water on a hot day I would imagine.
  • If you cut your hand while fishing might be best to head home and thoroughly disinfect it.
  • If you notice any symptoms get yourself along to the GP as soon as possible.

I am reminded of one occasion when I tripped over a submerged bike while wading and cut my hand on a piece of metal. A rather nasty gash it was too. I telephoned the GP who insisted there was no cause for alarm as the recent findings with tetanus showed that as long as you had had a booster in the last few years you do not need another one.

“And where abouts were you fishing?” the Doc asked all friendly like just before I hung up.

“The Kelvin” I answered.

“Hmmm better get you down here to see the Nurse just in case” was the quick reply.

Happy Urban Fishing…..

 brown-rat-sm.jpg

brown-rat-sm.jpg

Early Season Flies – Part Two

Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yes, flies and imitations. Well another three handy flies to have at this time of year also cover a variety of insects – and two of them are not dry flies they are emergers.

Remember in part one we were talking about the Large Dark Olive – well these flies are all more pretty good representations for it.

What are Emergers?

An emerger is what a fly is before it actually comes forth as a fully fledged adult, half is underwater and half is popping out its little shell like body. Trout love this as the damn thing can’t do something annoying like fly away.

So the first classic emerger is:

Hans Van Klinken’s Klinkhåmer Special

(Photo:Rudy van Duijnhoven)

Right – Instead of me twittering on about this rather deadly fly head over to Hans Van Klinken’s site and check it out.

It can be bought in pretty much every tackle shop however if you can master the tying of it then you can really have a lot of fun experimenting with various colours of wing post and different coloured bodies. This is a good prospecting fly , casting blind to likely looking runs and riffles – I reckon it is often mistook for a terrestrial or a spider.

It is a tricky fly to tie – although not as tricky as this next fly and unfortunetly this one cannot be bought in the shops:

(Bob Wyatt’s) Deer Hair Emerger

In his book “Trout Hunting” Bob Wyatt says this is an easy fly to tie – well, I have spent the last year trying to get the damn thing to float the right way up. I think I have pretty much cracked it for this season though and am looking forward to fishing it properly. Mike swears by it so it cant be half bad !


(Fly: Bob Wyatt, Photograph: Hans Weilenmann)

For tying notes please head over to Hans Weilenmann‘s most excellent site.

For Bob Wyatt’s take on trout fishing buy his book from Amazon (even though he deserted Scotland for a beach in Australia)

And this brings us quite nicely onto the third fly – which is not strictly an emerger however can behave like one – it is a fly which I would never not have in my box – yes it is the…

CDC&Elk


(Pattern: Hans Weilenmann, Fly and photograph: Hans Weilenmann)

Hans Weilenmann (like Bob Wyatt) developed this fly as it has all the natural triggers that a trout would home in on:lots of legs, a trailing nymphal shuck and a representation for a wing or crippled wings.

Better than anything it is a piece of cake to tie – much easier than Wyatt’s fly and not as fiddly as the Klinkhåmer Special. Make sure you head over to Hans Weilenmann’s site and read how to tie it.

All your flies should be in a few sizes – sometimes going down a size (or up) will provoke a reaction from a hungry trout.

Remember, all these flies are good prospecting flies – even if you see nothing hatching still have a cast in likely looking spots. The easiest way to fish a dry fly if there are no obvious risers is to stand at the bottom of a riffle or broken water and cast upstream letting the dry fly drift down towards you – the trout only has a brief moment to make a decision and will usually rise to it. Watch the fly like a hawk for the trout and tighten immediately.

Anyone fancy a spot of indoor fishing?

I am the first one to admit I am a bit of a pussy don’t like the cold and am more inclined to turn to the fly tying vice instead of the riverbank when there is a howling gale outside. However, I reckon I would take the cold and howling gale instead of doing a spot of indoor fishing.

indoor fishing

This indoor fishery is located at Ouldleusen, near Dalfsen in the Netherlands. With all the good Pike fishing over there I would reckon this sort of thing would not be needed – go on own up who would go?

Check it out

First Trout of the Year – A Rewrite

I decided to rewrite this post after a comment that Tom Chandler left on my last post he stated:

Nice fish, though you really need to work on your posts a bit.

Admitting that the fish pretty much hooked itself is a violation of the Fly Fishermen’s Writer’s Code, which stipulates that every fish comes as a result of Extraordinary Skill, a Predator’s Instinct, and at Huge Personal Sacrifice.

In other words, you waded dangerously deep, made a heroic cast, and set the hook when you felt the tiniest of taps.

So here my friends is the rewritten post utilising Toms Code.

 First Trout Of The Year

I walked to the river in nothing but my shorts and my raincoat (and only that because it keeps my Orvis chest pack steady, nothing to do with the fact you can’t prove anything from below the photo). I wanted a Trout and I wanted it badly – I turned on my extraordinary trout seeking fifth sense …I scanned the water and selected a pool where I was positive a trout had just switched itself on to eating something big and olive – No, not a large dark olive – an olive weighted Woolly Bugger.

It was going to be a tricky cast as there were trees behind me – I waded as deep as I could – the freezing water above my waist – No kids again this month I grimly thought as I prepared to cast. The wife will not be happy!

I decided on what is called a “Windmill” cast – you spin your rod tip around so fast that the line follows it in a circle – once you have done this for several minutes building up sufficient momentum to cast 10 yards of line you let fly – I let fly! I was glad I had been pumping iron on specifically that arm for the whole winter especially for this moment…

First cast to the pool – BAM – trout on, whisked in and then a quick photo and returned to the water.

And that my friends is the story of how I caught my first trout of the year.

 

First Trout of the Year…

Yea, so it was caught on a woolly bugger; however it was snowing intermittently all day and the chances of catching anything on a dry fly was utterly remote. Oh sure, I could have used nymphs but I wanted to see what would grab one of my new olive streamers – it turned out this pretty thin looking wild brown trout.

Quite an interesting take actually, I was dead drifting the streamer through some faster water and felt the thump thump thump of the take – then it was gone – and then back again and this time it was hooked. Looking forward to more Streamer action as the weather improves. I used a 5 weight floater with a sink tip this helped get the fly nice and deep into the holes.

Grayling…in the cold, wind, occasional snow flurry…

Enormous Grayling – that is what I was told. I have been putting off going “proper” grayling fishing for a while now. Not because I do not like Grayling – I just don’t like fishing for them. I can think of better things to do with my Saturdays than standing waist deep in freezing cold water slamming heavy bugs into the water to get them as deep as possible – then watching an indicator like a hawk for any subtle twitches or jiggles…


Like I say, I can think of better things to do – like tying flies, or even giving the Pike another go. However my two fishing buddies finally won me around with their talk of monster grayling that average at the 1.5lb mark.

It All Went Wrong

Alex the “Fishing Machine” blanked, Alan had one and lost one and I somehow managed to bring down the whole average grayling size by catching what I was told was probably the smallest grayling in the river.

Anyway, Alan’s grayling brought some excitement to the table – after losing one of around 2lb he then managed to land this one…

A quick dodge hero shot…this man knows Kung Fu you know—

I swear it took me a day to recover – On Monday I am going to throw streamers for trout!

 

Orvis – Why I Like Em’

Its not just because Orvis have pretty amazing customer service, its not because they make great quality products, it’s the fact they see the wider issues that affect anglers and are willing to put their money where their mouths are. I don’t see any of the other big name fly fishing manufacturers coming up with schemes like this:

The Tide Turns…

It’s happened, just in the way the rivers rise high in the winter and then low in the summer my thoughts are turning from Pike back to Trout. I am not saying I will be forgetting Pike for the summer – quite the opposite actually I am actually quite looking forward to taking a Pike on a popper – a Pike on a dry fly if you will.

However when I have been going to sleep or day dreaming about fishing during the day it is trout that have been on my mind – thinking about casting dry flies to eager spring trout willing to snatch a fly from the surface like someone clicking there fingers. I have also been thinking about fishing with streamers this spring, I have tied some horrific woolly buggers and am looking forward to catching some Kelvin and Clyde trout on them.

As well as my exploits on the Clyde I am looking forward to getting back to my roots on the Kelvin. I felt as if I neglected it last year however I think the weather was always going to be a problem – I never got a chance for many evening sessions due to cold conditions, I suppose that plus my additional university work made it difficult to hit the Kelvin although when I did it fished its socks off. Word has already reached me of someone who has already caught some rather nice trout to dry flies on the Kelvin as the Large Dark Olives are on the water. Anyone who has any free time during the week would do well to get down there especially with the nice sunshine we are having.

How to Clean your Fly Line

I decided to bite the bullet and clean my fly lines. Cleaning your fly lines is probably one of the most satisfying things you can do to improve your casting and the “floatability” of your line. I have read you are supposed to clean your line after every other trip using special products however I do it a few times a year using fairy liquid.

Why clean your fly line?

Over the course of the season it picks up grime, weed and if like me you are paranoid about the tip sinking then generous amounts of floatant which must be washed off with the other debris.

The Process

  1. Fill up your sink with warm water with some fairy liquid – just enough to make it bubble.
  2. Strip off half your fly line into the sink. (I only strip off half as I am lucky to cast that far)
  3. Move the water around over your fly line using your fingers – do not do this too much or you could end up with big wet knots in your fly line.
  4. Get a paper towel and wet it, then pull the line through the wet paper towel starting at the reel end using moderate pressure until you get to the tip of the fly line.
  5. Marvel at the line of grime left on the paper towel.
  6. Repeat steps 2-4 (there is never the same amount of satisfying grime the second time)
  7. Now get a dry paper towel and pull the line through it – this time you are drying the line, once done repeat.
  8. Wind line back on reel.

You now have a fly line which will float much better than it did before until around your 3rd trip when it starts picking up grime again.

First Day of Trout Season = Pike Fishing

So I decided that as the Pike seemed to be switched on to miss out on the usual first day of the trout season shenanigans and head out again after Pike. The reasoning was that:

  • We never do well on the first day of the season anyway (the first couple of weeks actually)
  • It was nice calm weather – it would not be blowing a gale on Loch Lomond
  • I couldn’t be arsed going into my loft space to get my trout gear out when my pike stuff was sitting there all handy like.

As it was traditions are there for a reason and of course we were well and truly skunked as we both caught no Pike.
However, as I sit here typing this on a work day Monday morning I notice the sun in the sky and a certain look of spring in the air. This weekend will be my start of the trout season I reckon.

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