Opening of May and it suddenly feels more like we are back in March up here on the Eden. The river has been magnificent for about the last week, in the mild weather, with enormous numbers of black gnats and midges that seem to have brought every fish in the river to the surface. Various upwing species are also trickling off, and certainly also taken by the trout, while there have been countless grannom about, although I haven’t seen a single one of these taken! Such a contrast with earlier in April, and before this, when even during reasonable LDO hatches there seemed to be so few trout, with the few fish caught coming to the nymph. For the last few days, my catch rate has rocketed, from one fish an hour on the nymph, up to six an hour on dry fly (plume tip). Best fly has been the 19 heron herl plume tip, although the black F-fly style plume tip (21) has been effective during the peak of the black gnat activity (which is very early this year – normally being associated with June).
Lawrence, Neil and I are now ready for our next trip to l’Artois and certainly counting off the days, even though the fishing on Eden is so good. We have the prospect of the hatches really developing on the chalk streams there (on my last trip in mid-April, the surface fly activity was just as it was at that time on the Eden – negligible), which should bring the trout up and give us some specific targets rather than having to rely, as last time, on the more prospective nymph approach. Friends tell me that trout are indeed rising now on la Ternoise, while I have a personal goal of catching one or two of the elusive grayling (l’ombre) on l’Aa. This species is more revered in northern France than even the wild brown trout (la truite fario sauvage), and there is a strict catch and release policy.