A Day Trouting on the River Eden
Due to the recent lack of rain, I decided it best to leave the salmon rod in its tube and opt for chasing brownies. The upper reaches of the River Eden were shallow, so I chose to fish the lower beat of Lazonby. Here, the river full of pockets and boulders and is lined with sandstone cliffs. It feels far removed, wild and remote, another world. Of the times I have fished Lazonby, I have rarely seen other rods. Part of this is because of the size of the two beats. On most other rivers, the water at Lazonby would split into four if not more separate beats. I am pretty sure that some of the pools in the middle rarely get cast over.
When the water is low like this, this part of the river can come into its own for trout fishing. The pools are more compact, and the river is even more featured and exciting. I set up two rods by the hut, one for dries and the other for nymphing. On more extensive water, this is my standard practice as I prefer to have the ideal setup for both types of fishing. Treading the line through the eyes, I look at the hut behind me. It is, without doubt, one of the most impressive settings for a fishing hut that I have seen anywhere. The hut stands proud in front of a cut grass lawn that falls into a gentle fifty-meter run.
I convince myself, ‘I’m going to do it proper,’ so start downstream with the dry rod. My limited attention span means that I get bored and switch after a few pools of catching nothing. With the nymphing rod, I plug away along all the likely bubble lines. The line stops. I strike. A pound of buttery gold to wee orange collared pheasant tail. The pocket produces another spirited fish of a similar size. Because the pool’s tail above looks too good not to, I swap again and explore the peaty water with a dry. There’s no hatch, but I feel it best to try at least to catch one up top before resuming dredging. It takes most of the pool before a small well spotted chap sups down my CDC offering.
The pools continue to produce a steady tricky of strong, hard fighting wild fish. The smaller fish seem especially rotund for their length. The larger fish of a pound half or so fight as though they have never been hooked. There’s a good chance they haven’t. This is my favourite kind of trout water. Boulder covered and full of pockets. It is not too hard to figure out where the fish are lying. Follow the bubbles, where the line of bubbles drifts is where much of the food is being channelled. For a moment, I consider using the dry again, but most of the fish are holding in fast water. This is not surprising considering the lack of rain and recent balmy weather.
Upstream I come to a small pool called chain rock tail. The name is descriptive but hardly inventive. On my right side is a forty-meter high red sandstone cliff. Its bottom dips into the water. Extending the length of the cliff and bolted to the rock is a handrail made of metal chain. The area is the tail of the pool above. Chain rock tail. The name doesn’t tell a tale, but I hoped to craft one with my team of two nymphs. It amazed me that a pocket less than ten meters wide held so many fish. None of the fish were huge, but all gave a good account in the fast current. Chubby one pound brownies that tore off as soon as they realised that what they just took was not more of the same.
I returned downstream to the hut, having rushed through much of the water on the beat. To fish it all and with care would have taken two days, even in this height. Despite my keenness for a feed and a pint, the riffle opposite tempts me once more. At this height, it is the perfect speed of water to hold trout. I wade straight to the eye of the pool where I think the largest fish will be lying in order to get first dibs. This time, I am not wrong. Lying in my net was not one of the scale pulling monsters that the Eden is known for, but a very healthy and fin perfect two and a half pound brown. The pint felt deserved.
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