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August Eden

Published on August 24th, 2013 by

With water height perfect yesterday I visited the river and tried to ignore all the farm rubbish dumped there.  I’m glad I did because I immediately found fish rising to nondescript food-forms, which I think were midges, although I saw, increasingly through the afternoon, some caddis and even a few pale wateries.  As I set up I noticed a small rise in a riffle, and first drift down this with a plume tip resulted in a gorgeous small (which is unusual nowadays on the Eden) trout wild Eden trout plume tipand I suspected that this might thus become a red letter day.  The next hour, however, was filled with catastophe and frustration.  Lower down the same riffle (fishing in a strong downstreamer), I rose another larger fish and snapped off on the take, which is something I hate to do (and actually very rare fishing a two weight as I almost always do), and which in any case is simply bad angling.  I moved off upstream, to some sheltered, relatively slow and deeper water to find several fish rising.  I covered almost all of them, some of them several times, but suffered repeated refusals, even when downsizing to a 21 (again, this is unusual).  I reasoned that I needed the cover and disturbance of riffle water so reluctantly left these numerous, though difficult fish to find the broken waters upstream and, indeed, fewer fish feeding in mere inches of water (though they were invisible except for their rise forms).  Four magnificent trout followed, all on the 19 plume tip, to put the smile back on my face.  Another lesson re-learned: take on rising fish in late summer in ‘inappropriate’ water and frustration is inevitable.  Even if you manage to cover them without spooking them, their alertness, and pre-occupation on a specific (often tiny) food form, will put you at a severe disadvantage.  It is always far better to find broken water, even if you suspect there are fewer fish there.  The point is they are much more catch-able!  So, yes the Eden is now severely damaged and abused by farm malpractice; yes, it is silting badly now, while the ranunculus is struggling in many areas; yes, the populations of juvenile trout and grayling have collapsed as a consequence; but the Eden, protected really by its large scale (by English standards) and continued high average rainfall, is still a miracle as a wild trout and grayling fishery.

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