I might have asked if these are the most beautiful trout in the world. Surely they can hardly be bettered? I think these Eden fish are made even more beautiful by the way they have survived against the agricultural abuse that almost the entire Eden system suffers. The new trout season has stuttered into existence, remaining challenging, in spite of strong hatches of dark olives and midges. There are, indeed, very few small fish in the river nowadays, both because of the rapid degradation of suitable habitat and the goosander population; though the larger fish are doing well, and this is the case also for the grayling (which, as I write this are now spawning on the shallow gravels).
Suddenly, we find that nymph tactics are seldom the better option, now that the trout are so focused on the surface, with perhaps duo (nymph under dry) remaining a good compromise approach in the (commonly) windy weather. Dry fly, especially in the form of CDC plume tips, is certainly giving the best approach for these hungry, though sensitive, wild trout. The rises are invariably incredibly subtle, with the emergers or duns kissed away from the surface, such that they can very easily be missed on the broken water. Many of the rises that I have finally converted to a successful acceptance of the plume tip, have been as much imagined as seen! The quality of the trout has been astonishing and I really can think of no river in the world that could give better trout than these, in terms of the balance between size, adaptability, survivability and beauty. It is simply tragic that the powers that be, have no regard for the value of these wonderful fish and the precious habitat that supports them. SSSI and ESAC conservation designations mean absolutely nothing. Anglers walking the banks are greeted with the sight of every bankside tree (where these remain), festooned with silage wrap and other waste from the farms; and this is the pollution that we can see! Eden survives only because of its very large (by English standards) scale, and high average annual rainfall. But it cannot last.