What an extraordinary opening to the trout season it has been on the Eden! Dominated by the cold easterlies that have prevailed, deep into April, the river has been low and clear, and generally very difficult to fish. Hatches of large dark olives, medium dark olives and at least one other upwing species, have been excellent, as good as ever; but rising fish have been scarce. The shallows have been almost completely devoid of fish. Several anglers have been out, of course, searching for the magnificent wild brown trout of this river, but generally catches have been poor. One of the most outstanding river talents I have ever known, Tom Speak, fished intensively through the winter for the grayling, and made some spectacular catches, but his early trout season visits have been lean, as have my own. Mark Warman, an Eden regular, enjoyed what must be an unusually successful visit to Bolton Willows (Appleby/Penrith shared water), with a dozen fish which included four brown trout over two pounds in weight, and some lovely grayling among them. My own latter part to the grayling season was disappointing and the start of the trout season was certainly slow, though I did contact some magnificent fish, firstly on nymph rigs on the leader-only or duo, and just lately on plume tips (at last!). While the hatches have been strong, the cold, bright weather, with those easterlies, have kept fish off the surface. I have spent quite a bit of time searching the Appleby waters for risers, often to be disappointed. I have yet to see a substantial rise. The hatches have mostly been from noon until about three in the afternoon, with only scatter appearances at other times. You have to search carefully, over a surprising length of river; but almost always one eventually finds a rising fish, or two. In the very low water, however, the approach has to be very slow and methodical, working one’s way into a good range and angle of the fish, taking account of the shadow direction and, particularly, the wind direction, in order to achieve a good presentation. I have noticed that even a strongly feeding fish takes only perhaps one in 10 of the emergers, or duns, passing over it. This fish, was carefully stalked, up on the severely agriculturally-damaged Sandford water, last weekend. I spotted it feeding right up against an overhanging alder, very precisely on a feed lane. It was a rare success for me in this harsh spring, but worth every moment. Frankly, on the inceasingly damaged Eden, a fish like this is worth a whole season’s effort.