Contributed by Ricardo (05.07.2005)
Following a days business in Dundee I managed to escape at 4pm and checked with John Garner on the state of the river to be told that it was very low. Not minding these conditions I decided an evening session on the way home would be a welcome end to the day and got off the M6 at Penrith and headed for our stretch, eventually arriving at 7:30pm.The evening was cloudy but still and with the temperature at 14 degrees was not overly hot. However I took the water temp and this was sitting at 12 degrees which had probably decreased from the temperatures of last week when we had the hot weather.
For various reasons I had not managed to get on the Eden since 29th May when a friend and I had fished in the blazing sun with little to show for our efforts. The river that greeted me this time was a mere trickle compared to how we had found it then and walking downstream I spotted few rises until I came to a double sharp turn in the river and in one of the pools could see 4 fish rising regularly. I kept a low profile and sat on the shingle with the high bank behind me offering camouflage. Although I scrutinised the water I could not make out what they were rising to or indeed which fish was the largest - they all were making rises you would look at and guess were perhaps made by 1lb+ fish.
After 20 minutes watching I made a decision to go for the closest fish. I was tackled up with a 8.5' 3 wt rod, 12' leader tapering to 5x (4.9lb Frog Hair). The cast was not difficult but with the water so low and the fish in such shallow water a dragging fly would have aroused their suspicions quickly. The cast was made anyway and the size 16 Spent Spinner (thought they may be feeding on these) drifted for 2' before a nose parted the surface and leisurely gulped down the fly. On tightening the fish surged off around the small pool trying to get me under some roots then running under a tree. However with the strength of tippet which I had on breaking off was never a fear and I managed to get it into belly deep water and land it at appx 8:30pm. The tape said 18.75" from fork of tail to tip of nose and when weighed she pulled the scales down to 2lb 12oz - a real cracker, deep and well fed (gently returned it swam off strongly) and on my third trip too! I'm getting to really like Kirkby Stephen AC water - just wish it was closer then you wouldn't be able to get me off it (or maybe it's just as well I don't live too close!). Obviously with all the shennanigans the rest of the fish went down and although I returned several times they stayed down for the night.
The glide up around the corner had some fish showing too but try as I might I kept scaring unseen fish to get at the risers and these 'bow waved' away so I will have to rethink my tactics for this particular stretch but next time I will be better prepared with a plan in mind! I picked up one more fish at 10:30pm which was a very pretty trout of about 13" which I went for after a 'hog' even closer would not take the fly (strange as in this light in my experience if the delivery is good they will generally take - mind you I could not see the spinner or where it was so drag could have been the reason).
In between my bouts of fish scaring activity I turned over numerous stones and the invertebrate population would put any Yorkshire river that I fish to shame - no wonder the trout grow so big!
By the time I had walked back to the car and unpacked it was 10:50pm so I quickly drove into Kirkby Stephen for a bit of grub but couldn't be bothered queuing with the pub boys in the Chinese Take Away so set off at 11pm hungry. The traffic was non-existant and I got back to Ilkley by 12:15am which was the quickest yet and did not kill any sheep on the way either!.