Last time I raised hopes by mentioning the immanent Mayfly hatch. Well, sadly this was a bit of a 'damp squib' this year pretty well throughout the Derbyshire area. Most of the waters saw only sporadic hatches and these only lasted about a week or so. Probably low water conditions have had a part to play in this and it is interesting to hear from more than one source that these flies have made a second appearance this month, so local and visiting anglers could do worse than make sure that they have a mayfly pattern in the corner of their boxes just in case. Interestingly this is not the first time I have seen this happen on the Wye. I remember one particular year in the late '80s when we had some enormous thunder storms for over a week and the Mayfly 'went off' for almost a month before making a second appearance in July.
After several years of trying I managed to get a day fixed with a friend who fishes a private club water in the Macclesfield Forest area right on the western borders of the Peak District, where they have a good hatch of the e. vulgata mayfly, a little darker than the more common e. danica . This was a really testing day with large numbers of fish closely inspecting my perfect imitations before swimming straight past. Frustrating but none the less enjoyable. Regular visitors to the area might consider joining Macclesfield Flyfishing Club for the opportunity to fish on this picturesque water, or their stretch of the little river Dane nearby.
June saw me on the Monsal beat several times where fishing was quite patchy. Cold evenings saw less fly activity than would be normal, so late fishing was not really an option. However, it was possible to find feeding fish during the day and deep fished nymphs worked well when hatches were sparse. Imitations of both cased and non-cased caddis did the business for me fished deep and simple no-hackle duns in a range of colours were the medicine during the better fly hatches. From now on I expect there to be more evening activity on all the rivers with BWO hatches and spinner falls, various caddis from the normal size 12/14 sizes down to tiny dark size 20 patterns. During these caddis hatches I tend to use the CdC and Elk pattern in a range of sizes and colours these days. Scruffy to look at but very effective. At spinner fall I find cream, light orange and dark orange patterns most popular with the fish but they are very 'picky' some nights and you really do need the right colour.
Caddis will be dominating the fishing on the larger waters like Carsington, where the evening rise is becoming a regular happening again, mostly Grousewing and Longhorn sedges are being seen but there are other larger flies around, along with that annoying little Caenis (Fisherman's Curse). I was at Foremark, just below Derby recently and sedges were the main diet that evening. It was a little frustrating as I was running a casting clinic, not fishing, but it was still nice to see the fish really active on the surface for several hours that evening.
This blog was brought to you by Philip White