I arrived at the gas plant on the end of Wallis Walls Road at around 2pm. The day had started out warm, but a little overcast – not quite the “not a cloud to be seen” sky of yesterday. But yesterday was a bike riding with the kids day, so sun was most welcome, today was a fishing day and the cloud was good to see.
The long route from the car down to the river is probably about as far a walk from car to river as you’ll get on the Derwent. There is an easier and shorter way to get to the Sneep if you park around the other side (by Leadmill Bridge), but I like this route as it allows you to do the whole of the Sneep and returns you back to where you started without covering the same water twice.
The river looked spectacular. It was just about the perfect height, the naked branches of the bank side trees finally decked out in their summer finery foliage, the early season wild garlic flowers and blue bells still doing their best along side the summer buttercups all added a wonderful splash of colour to the river bank.
I’m about to use a Scandinavian word for the first time…
A few trout were rising to the Smörgåsbord of flies making their way down the river. March Browns, LDOs and (I think) Blue Winged Olives all dancing about, the March Browns doing some weird synchronised yo-yo style rise and fall. Amongst these came the odd Mayfly. You could spot them as plain as day between all the other flies – big yellow lumps fluttering their way down stream as if they’ve got all the time in the world. Considering they only live for a day you’d think they’d get a move on wouldn’t you?
I made my way along the river casting into likely looking spots with a size 14 Adams as my chosen fly. As I made my way up to the first decent pool I noticed a couple of other anglers moving along the river behind me. I wasn’t expecting to see anyone else today, the Sneep is a bit remote to say the least and not regularly visited my most of the members. It was good to see others making the most of this under fished section of the clubs water. We exchanged the usual pleasantries, and they moved on through further up stream.
Five minutes later and I took the first of my six fish of the session. Right over on the far side of the river, under the shear cliff face that spanned the opposite bank for the full length of the pool.
I had to cast over a few stones and a part submerged tree, in a John Wilson-esque “I’ll worry about how I get a fish to the net if I catch one” attempt I landed the Adams right on target. Seconds later and the fly disappeared in a decent splosh of a rise. It was at that moment I realised I was going to be in a bit of a pickle getting the trout out from the other side of a tree branch. The trout must have realised my predicament, as it did the decent thing and launched itself out of the river, over the branch and into clear water!
Battle scared brownie
After taking the obligatory photo, and allowing the fish a moment or two to gather it’s breath, it swam off on it’s merry way. As you can see from the photo below, it had some damage behind the dorsal fin, and an amazing red spot on the adipose fin.
The rising fish continued, but not to the degree you’d have expected considering the amount of flies about. I took another 4 fish on my way up to last the pool before Black Hole. This last pool is a bit of a favourite of mine, I was looking forward to seeing it for the first time this year.
Take your sh** away with you!
When I arrived I was disappointed to see a huge amount of litter plonked in the middle of a burnt out camp fire. The bank on the fishable side of the river is quite flat, perfect for camping on. We did see people camping here last season, they seemed to be keeping things pretty tidy though. This was far from tidy – beer cans, wine bottles and other such junk strewn around the fire. If you can cart it from the car down to the river surely you can take it back again? Scruffy buggers (not quite the words I used when I saw it).
By now it was getting well into the evening, I decided to turn back rather than fish round to the foot bridge. I made it back to the first pool hoping to try for a few of the fish I’d put down with shoddy casting earlier in the session. There really wasn’t much showing though. I think the trout had gorged themselves on the conveyor belt of meat that’d been going on all day!
Enjoying doing nothing
Rather than thrash the water in the vain attempt to raise a fish from the depths, I decided to put the rod down, take a pew on a suitably large stone, and enjoy doing absolutely nothing in the most peaceful and tranquil places I could wish to be. The odd fish rose whilst i sat there, but I really didn’t want to move from my slightly uncomfortable stone armchair.
I eventually made my way off the river and back up to the wood at the top of the Sneep, through the sheep field and past the farm finally arriving at my car just after 7pm.
The Sneep had done exactly what the Sneep did the last time I visited, make me wonder why I don’t make the effort to visit this scenic, secluded and beautiful section of the Derwent more often.