This weekends outing saw me head to the most upstream beat of the DAA’s water. I drove up t Eddys Bridge, just outside the lovely parish of Muggleswick. There’s a little stretch of fishable water upstream of the bridge to the reservoir, but most people do as I did and head downstream.
After parking up outside the chicken farm, donning my gear and wondering if the repair to my waders would keep my feet dry, I headed off down the road 50 yards to the style and onto the river.
It’s the first time I’ve fished this stretch, so it was reassuring to see the DAA sign, letting me know I was at the right place, and member of a select few with the privilege to pass the sign and fish on!
I started on the left of the river (as you look downstream) but quickly crossed over to the right as there is a fenced off section on the left that can’t be fished. As I walked along the bank, making the odd cast here and there, I couldn’t help wondering how long this crappy weather was going to last for. It was cold, wet and blowing close to a gale, I know every fishing blog is complaining about the weather, the lack of fish etc but this really is getting daft.
Moving further along, I eventually came across the Water Gauge weir. I’m sure there must be some decent fish in the weir pool, but couldn’t find any safe way of getting anywhere near to make a worthwhile cast in to try.
Angler traps, beware!
The bank side was starting to get a little challenging at this point, not only was it quite steep, it also had quite a few trees and bushes to negotiate. Worse still, running parallel to the river and alongside the ‘path’, was a barbed wire fence. Not a standard fence where you can see the wire 4′ up all visible and easy to avoid, a collapsed barbed wire fence with the wire 6″ above the ground like some Vietcong man trap.
This wader shredding trip wire carried on for a good while – if you give this stretch a try please do keep your eye out of it.
After another few hundred yards the bank took on a much flatter appearance, though the trees and bushes continued. At this point I still hadn’t seen a fish rise, I’d an Elk Hair Caddis with bead head nymph tied onto the back of it – no action from either fly. I had however, lost at least 5 of these in the trees by now. After I’d walked too far to be bothered with walking back to the car to change it, I decided my 9′ Streamflex was far too long for this stretch of the Derwent, and the 6″6″ would have been much better. Oh well, next time.
There be fish!
I reached a pool near ‘Bull Rushes’ on the club map. There were several bull rush beds, but all trimmed down and only inches high. At last I saw a fish rise, then another and another. None of them big, but trout all the same. I took the Caddis/Nymph combo off and put a white post, grizzly hackled parachute fly on. Two casts, one fish! five more casts, two fish risen and both missed. Three of those casts resulted in my catching the trees and stomping around trying to retrieve the fly – I don’t think this aided my stealthy approach.
I moved further into the wilderness (well, I thought it was) finding some ace fast water and equally enticing slow smooth glides. My brief dally with rising fish was all but a memory now – not a rise to be seen. The day was rapidly turning into what all my other outings this year have turned into, a pleasant walk.
At the start of West Wood (opposite bank) I came across a superb looking pool. The river snaked round before breaking out into a very wide slow pool, the swallows were busy replenishing their energy here, diving low over the water and catching flies for their dinner. Sadly the fish didn’t find the flies as tempting as the birds did.
I walked on some more, the river at this point looked fantastic, this really is the best stretch of the Derwent I’ve seen thus far. If the weather (and the fish) start to play ball I can see this being a regular haunt. However, it was hard going at some points now – without any weeds or vegetation to content with. In another month, when nature catches up with the time of year I’m sure it’s going to be like a jungle up here.
Scally free zone
Also, on every other stretch I’ve been (apart from the Snape, a few hundred yards further on) you see evidence of people. Usually it’ll be a bunch of logs part burnt for a fire, a bag with empty Fosters cans in it, or the odd attempt at decorating a tree with a spray can. I saw none of that here, even the stray agricultural plastic tree decoration seemed less here than other parts of the river.
At this point, I was amazed to see 4:30 on my watch, I needed to turn tail and head back to the car. For a while I kept the rod up, dabbled a bit here and there, and at the wide pool where the swallows were still feasting A brownie had started turning in middle of the pool. I cast, he went for it, I struck, missed and embedded the fly in a tree. That was me done, I lost the fly and couldn’t be arsed with tying another on. I broke the rod down to avoid any accidents and yomped back to the car.
Oh, and the wader repair was 100% successful, thanks for asking!