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Well, my dear friends, it's been a long, cold, lonely winter but I will not tempt fate by going on about it. Here comes the sun (Beatles fans will know what I am on about)!


You will recall that arthritis brought last year's fishing to a close by the end of October.  I have fished a bit on the islands of Fuerteventura (just before Christmas) and Tenerife (January), for small inshore fish like mullet and bass; I also had three little tuna from a charter boat off Tenerife. Back home I have kept the right arm and hand warm and ready for the trout season which for us commences on 15th March.  Hurrah!  My pals all report a good winter for grayling on rivers like the Welsh Dee and Ribble/Hodder. So the panic twelve months ago, that our grayling stocks had collapsed, seems to be unfounded. The panic was promulgated I am sure by people who can't catch grayling!


Those friends in the UK will recall the tremendous flood that devastated the Derwent valley in Cumbria in November (I put some pictures on my blog then). The river has changed a lot.  We have been doing some tidying up and that involved treading the river banks. One of our big pools has a clay-cliff bank in which sand martins nest. That bank has been eroded back by up to five metres. From our point-of-view it's not too bad, for deposition has occurred in the pool close to the other bank, so that salmon lies should be close to us rather than the other side.  Interestingly, the other side had a delightful fishing hut, a Brighton beach-hut, I understand, that has been there as long as I can recall. That has vanished without trace!  Our large fishing shelter there floated up to five metres above ground level until the flood subsided, whereupon it came back to earth far from where it started. It took a big farm machine to get it back...and to pull out of the river some whole alder trees.


Before the flood, immediately below that pool the bank was fringed with a species of reed (actually reed canary-grass). You waded l alongside that, with water close to the top of the waders, spey-casting out.  Not now!  A huge belt of shingle has been deposited for about 30 metres down the bank, narrowing the river, obliterating the reed, and making it a short cast from dry shingle to fish easily lies as far across as under the far bank!


And so on. It's like a new river. One member decided to try a new rod out. He waded in a shallow riffle, 50cm deep and started to cast his way down.  Easy, constant-depth wading!?  He took the next stride and made a cast.  And so on. Then he took another cast and found himself swimming in a new hole that the flood had made.


N.B. It always pays to walk your rivers after the winter. You never know what you may find.


The weather continues to be freezing in the night and sleet or snow by day.  Last Saturday should have been Opening Day for Stocks Reservoir but it was frozen over!  As I write, the hills away to the north and east are still white (that is where my rivers are) but it is raining lightly and the last of the snow is gone from my garden but more is forecast. Will I have caught some trout when I next go blogging? Wait until the end of March!


Oh, and then I will tell you more of the sea-fishing boat I am in the midst of purchasing. It will be mine for ever on Monday.