|River Derwent, Co Durham|
The River Derwent flows out of Derwent Reservoir in NE England and flows in a generally NE direction to the River Tyne, which it joins not far from Gateshead. The fishing in the upper reaches is controlled by Derwent Angling Association, who have 15 miles of brown trout and grayling fishing available to members and day tickets.
It's funny how things pan out at times. As the trip got closer I have to admit to having reservations about spending 2 days on the River Derwent and we made plans to fish elsewhere on the second day. The closer the trip got, the more I just didn't fancy fishing the Derwent at all and so we opted to fish the River Eden for 2 days instead, a river we both know can produce fantastic sport. Eden it was on the first day, but it was a bit of a grueller to say the least, in what was quite a low river with few signs of feeding fish. The highlight for me was a pounder from the very bottom pool of a tributary stream.
At the pub that night we saw the weather forecast for the north of the country, which was predicting a wind speed of 15mph with gusts to 34mph - not good on a very exposed river such as the Eden. So we needed a Plan B for the second day and the Upper Tees, Cow Green Reservoir, River Lowther and River Eamont were thrown into the alternative venue equation. We continued to talk about our alternatives over breakfast when I had a brainwave...what about the River Derwent I said? It looked sheltered in the magazine photos, couldn't be that far from the NW to the NE (actually it was close on 2 hours drive!) and it was where we'd originally planned to fish. Paul liked the idea so it was decision made. How ironic then that due to the weather we were forced to fish the river we had originally set out to fish all those months previously, and, as it turned out, what a stroke of luck it was.
15 miles is a lot of river to go at and with no knowledge whatsoever about where to fish it was a case of closing your eyes and sticking a pin in the map. The pin found a place called Allensford, just downstream of the A68 road bridge. Looking upstream the bridge pool looked very inviting and there were fish rising as well. Paul quickly bagged that for himself so I headed off upstream above the bridge.
Immediately above the bridge there was a long section of pocket water, which I searched with a CDC Sedge, Hackled F Fly and finally a Generic CDC before I started to hook fish. Plenty of trout came to this fly, mostly small, but I lost something much bigger. I don't think the hook actually penetrated the fish's mouth; it was more of a heavy pricking of the fish, but I made enough contact to feel that it was a weighty fish. On wading through the water where this brief hook-up took place I spooked a fish around 2lb in weight - more than likely the fish with which I'd had a brief encounter.
|A newly hatched Mayfly on the rod|
|Derwent trout are|
heavily spotted beauties
So why such large numbers of Mayfly in a rocky, rainred, river? I'd expect them in very small numbers but nothing like we experienced. This was no freak though. I have since looked through the club's website and it turns out the Derwent is known for its Mayfly hatch (and Large Brook Duns). In my humble opinion the answer lies in the large accumulations of silt on the river bed, which the Mayfly Nymph needs. This may have something to do with the calming effect of Derwent Reservoir, i.e. reduced flooding, which would normally scour the silt from the bottom.
Paul had experienced the same downstream of the bridge and so we headed for home surprised but happy chaps. We'd only fished a very small section of the club's 15 miles and we'd been extremely lucky with the conditions, but I'm sure the quality of fishing is similar throughout. We will be back later in the season, chasing grayling, which evaded us on this occasion.
Day tickets are available for a very reasonable £6 from various outlets - details on the club's website here: http://www.derwentangling.co.uk/about/day-tickets