Early season trout blues and catching grayling for restocking

Early trout season can be a difficult time and this years has been no exception.  Easterly winds, snow blizzards have all contributed to extend the Winter period and keep us indoors.  I have ventured out a few times and had some early season success.  Some of this will be featured in next months Trout Fisherman.  This particular adventure was to the beautiful river Eden  near Kirkby Stephen.  The thermometer was barely above freezing and the hills surrounding the stream were all snow capped.  But fortunatley a few Large dark olives hatched and the three trout I saw rise I caught using an onstream-guide match the hatch dark olive seen here in the trouts scissors.

Then I got a message from my friend Edd Greenwood about catching grayling from the Ure to take to the Environment Agency at Calverton, the aim being to restock the river with viable juveniles.  Obviously the aim was to catch out of season grayling of sexual maturity (over 11 inches) and preferably a good head of females.  I met Fred Bainbridge and Edd at the 3 Horseshoes in the pretty little hamlet of Wensley right on the Ure.  Conditions looked very tough and looks were not deceptive.  Strong bitingly cold easterly upstream winds, the river low and very clear and consisting of a high proportion of snow melt and therefore very cold indeed.  Fortunatley there was a hatch of large dark olives (pictured).  A few grayling rose and after 3 hours fishing I'd managed 3 sizable grayling.

I was just considering what to do next when Fred Bainbridge appeared on the opposite bank.  He had been fishing hard on nymphs and managed a single fish.  "There are fish rising everywhere up here" he said.  I didn't need a second  invitation and headed off upstream.  On arrival I saw a fish rise.  I gave Fred an onstream-guide match the hatch dark olive and he went in after rising grayling.  I positioned myself slightly upstream.  A good looking fish rose and I covered it.  Far too fast for a grayling but a nice looking trout over a pound soon graced the net.  My wife and Edd were now watching.  Another fish rose and yet again it accepted the olive imitation first cast.  This fish was a good one and a grayling. 

A female and over a pound and a half in weight.  A useful addition to the brood stock.  Fred who had been missing fish suddenly connected with one and added it to the one I captured.  Only one more fish rose after this and yet again it accepted the artificial.  Again this was a trout and although pretty it clearly had been caught before. Overall it was an enjoyable experience with a few fish caught to help out with restocking the Ure.

Jon and Nellie.