I had the day off on Monday and actually thought about a trip to the lakes. But the lure of one last fish on the streams saw me head up to the Rubicon & Steavenson despite the cold. With winter fast approaching and the temperatures dropping, I wondered if I could still catch a river fish on the dry in the middle of the day?
First stop was the Rubicon, and it was obvious the recent rains had topped up the water levels since summer. Whilst great for the fish, previous spots where getting into the river had been relatively comfortable, were now difficult if not impossible to wade. So I spent much of the grey, cloudy morning walking the river looking for places shallow enough to access and fish. When I did find a spot, it was soon obvious it was going to be a day of fishing the edges and not the fast flowing water in the middle.
At one point, peering over the top of a blackberry hedge protecting the water, I spooked a nice two pounder. However that was the closest I came to seeing any trout at all for the first few hours. When the sun finally poked through the clouds, the effect was almost immediate. Presenting a cast along a shallow edge, the dry dipped and I was onto a lovely brown hooked on the nymph below, which leapt clear out of the water before sulking near the bank and coming to the net.
I caught a further ‘panny’ sized brown (again on the nymph) just below the car park and with a few hours of light left, headed to the Steavenson. The Steavo was at a much more comfortable height to wade, but like the Rubicon its temperature had also dropped significantly. Finally, at about 4.30pm in an ankle-deep riffle beneath an overhanging tree, my dry ceased being an indicator and was slashed at by a small rainbow. After a day of watching the dry with a view to what was happening to the nymph, I missed the strike but was delighted it was still possible to have a fish take off the top.
On my last cast of the day in some faster water, I let the flies trail behind and at the end of a long drift, the dry submerged. Lifting hesitantly, I was pleasantly surprised by a lovely brown with brilliant red spots which had snaffled the nymph. A great way to end a very enjoyable and challenging day of late autumn river fishing.