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Month: July 2013

Germany 21-07-2013

Germany 21-07-2013

Since our closest trout river had been leased to a new owner it had gone downhill
fishing wise rapidly.
The last visit was for me the final straw as the fishing was so dismal in my personal view.
Still my friends made a second visit to the river later in the year and came back with more
negative expiriences.

With no improvement to be expected in the future my friend scouted for a new place
to fish and finally ended up with the Aar river in the state of Hessen.
I volunteered to join him on a fact-finding mission to the river and arranged the permits.
As it was almost a three hours drive from where we lived and we had to collect or permit between
7 and 8 o’clock in the morning we had to leave early.
With the summer holidays starting I urged my friend to leave very early so at 4.30 in the morning
we headed east.

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In Hessen.

The ride to Hessen went smoothly, we ended up at the hatchery where we had to get
the permits sharply at 07.00 hours in the morning.
It would be a hot day with temperatures rising to 30 degrees C but in the morning it was
still a chilly 10 degrees C.
Since it had not rained for quite a while I expected the river to be low.

We collected our permits and got a little briefing from the owner of the hatchery of where
to start fishing.
We followed his directions and soon crossed the river, we parked the car at the designated
location and took a look at the river.
My first impression was that it would be very tough to catch a fish in the river as it was
smaller than expected and hidden in a canopy of trees.
It looked beautiful though and the best thing was that there were no major roads in
the valley where the river ran through.

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Even though the river was small and there was not much water running I still decided to use full
wading gear
as some pools where very deep according to the owner of the hatchery.
I was glad I brought my 6ft. rod with me as the green tunnel where the river ran through 
would not allow the use of long rods.
My friend would start at the bridge we just crossed, I would walk some distance upstream 
and start there.

I walked for a minute or 10 and then found an opening in the brushwork and entered the river.
The stream was beautiful, lots of riffles and pools to fish in.
The problem I had was the fish where wary because of the low water and would move off as
soon as I came close.
I could not make a lot of casts as the shrubs and branches of the trees prevented that.
At one pool where the water was more disturbed I finally caught my first fish of the day,
a smaller brown trout that took the nymph as it ran along some tree roots.

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After a short while I came at a rather large and deep pool.
The current pushed along one rocky edge where a single fish rose more or less frequently.
In the middle of the pool the water was more or less stagnant.
Small sedges where around in some numbers and the fish had keyed in on them.
Several times I saw the trout shoot out from the water to catch the caddis in flight.
As the edge of the pool was difficult to reach with a cast and a proper drift would probably
only would last a few seconds I opted for the nymph.
My first cast was into the middle of the pool, it was answered immediately by a trout.
But … instead of my nymph it took my strike indictor and pulled it under.
A strike had only one effect – I lost the trout and the biostrike indicator.
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Since the river was owned by the hatchery I figured that they would not have skimped on stock
fish and indeed they had not.
Almost every cast yielded a strike and I missed a lot of fish.
Still with some luck I landed several very fine brown trout and a bonus rainbow trout.
I even got one of the trout at the edge on a rather large sedge dry fly.

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After having caught several trout in the deep pool I wondered if there could be any monsters
around so I tied on a streamer.
The trout went pretty mad charging the streamer but for some reason I did not get any good
aggressive bites, maybe it was because of the hot weather.
I hooked one big brown trout on the streamer and it came fully airborne but with that action
it also cleared my barbless streamer.

I could have stayed longer at the deep pool but I order to explore the river I had to move on.
The water in front of me was shallower but still mixed with small pools that could hold fish.
More interesting was that the fish in front of me  where actively feeding on the caddis and would
rise leisurely to intercept caddis on the surface.
With a big tree as cover I could come in close enough to toss a caddis on the waiting trout.
It was an awesome sight to see the trout sip in the dry fly without any hesitation.

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As I progressed further upstreamer the conditions became more challenging as the shrubbery grew
thicker all the time.
One one side the river was bordered by a steep hillside, the other bank was the border of a meadow
overgrown with shrubs and fitted with an old barb wire fence.

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Around midday we had decided to hold a small break, we sat under a shading tree at the
bridge and discussed our experiences.
All in all it was a lot better than we had ever could hope for.
Despite the low water the fish where plentiful and active and the landscape was very beautiful.
Of the two sections we were allowed to fish we had barely managed a third of section one.
The plans for the afternoon where discussed, I would scout out the stretch below the bridge
– my friend would continue his trek upstream.

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In the blazing sun I crossed a newly moved field to enter the river where it met the hillside.
Getting to the river was tricky as the bank was partly made out of clay.
Even though it was dry I had not counted on the wet felt soles of my wading shoes and so I ended
in a rather un-elegant way on the riverbank.
Luckily fisherman and gear remained intact, I just slipped in the first deep pool to cool off and get the
mud off my waders.

My plan was to move even further downstream to the beginning of the section but the heavily 
overgrown  banks and hillside prevented that.
I climbed and crawled further downstream through the brushwork in order to find a larger pool but
none came in sight.
I noticed that the gradient the river followed was a lot steeper than in the forested part.
In the end I decided to return upstream and instead fish the part towards the bridge.

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The part I fished was a lot more open that the section I had fished in the morning .
The sun shone pretty brutal on the water.
I came across several long pools where some fish where sporadically rising but often
my approach was too clumsily and the fish ran for cover.
Still I managed to catch a few more brown trout and had some fish that threw the hook.

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My other fear for the day besides traffic jams on this day was tourists that would use
the river as a public bath.
The field road along the river looked pretty deserted but in the afternoon we did encounter
a some dogs , kids and assorted tourists at one spot.
The river was big enough the circumvent the disturbance.

I was heading for the upper border of section one and noticed that the conditions where
become tougher.
The heat had really started now and fish where becoming quite lethargic.
With the increased light they became more wary.
At most longer shallow pools the trout lay at the end of these pools and since the trees and
shrubs where even more dense that in the part I fished in the morning I could hardly make
long casts.
The only thing I often saw where the bow waves of fleeing trout.

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There was one spot where a large fallen tree hid me from the rising trout in a nice
pool.  I counted at least three trout and they were sporadically rising.
I had to cast over the deadfall to the rising pool but I just could not get the proper distance
without hitting the trees or scaring the fish off, a matter of feet prevented me
from catching those fish.

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Late in the afternoon I almost reached the end of stretch one.
I encountered a very deep pool that yield one small rainbow trout.
There could have easily been more trout in there but the pool was deep, very deep.
In fact my plan to wade through the pool was pretty fast abandoned so I tried to find
a spot to climb on to the bank.

Finally I found a spot to make it safely on dry land.
My plans to check out the start of the stretch where thwarted by the fact that there was
no way down to the stream anymore  as the banks where steep and overgrown
with some of the more unpleasant plant growth.
Icing on the cake was the van load of tourist and dogs that stopped not far from me.

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As our departure time neared I called it a day as I had to walk all the way back to the car in this
extreme heat while wearing waders.
I was cursing myself now as I had not taken a long sleeved t-shirt with me.
The horse flies where out in force especially in the just mowed meadows and they had it in for me.
Halfway along the path I met my friend who had the same idea as me, call it a day.

We had postponed lunch during midday to make most of our fishing trip.
I had checked for an Italian restaurant in the small village near to the hatchery  and found one that
would surely be a good place to end the beautiful day.
The cool beers hit the spot on this hot day and the food was as expected, pretty good.
We topped our dinner off with ice cream and vowed that the Aar river had not seen the last of us.

Germany 12-13-07-2013

Germany 12-13-07-2013

Friday the 12th. should have been a normal work day for me but I decided to take the
day off as saturday there was a working party planned on the hatchery of my syndicate.
My first intention was to pursuit some more of the big chub in the stream but as I
came nearer to my destination I opted to scout out a little stream of another syndicate
I had joined last year.

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I had looked up the new water with satellite imagery and quickly found an access road to get
near to the water.

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The new water looked like it was stagnant – off course it had been dry for quite a while so the levels in
every local would have been low.
From what I saw I figured the water was roughly three feet deep, had a lot of vegitation in it and
little fish activity.
Having said that a monster size carp appeared and raced through the stream to somewhere.
The carp was lightly colored and big thus easy to spot, the next fish that came in few was a decent
chub with was harder to spot.

The color of the bottom was generally very dark, most likely due to the low flow rate.
Only at certain shallower parts a sand bottom was visable where you could more easily spot fish.
The problem with this water was that it was quite shallow and had a lot of these man made steep
banks which made you as an angler very visable to the fish.
I walked the stream for miles and encountered mainly bream, a few carp and some chub.
Almost all these fish saw me first and ran off.

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In order to get any fish I had to find some faster flowing stretches of the stream, preferrably a weir.
From satellite images I knew there where a couple of them in the general area but it took quite a walk
before I reached the first one – well the images I looked had where old as the weir had been replaced
by a series of big stones that provided fish with the possibity to migrate up and down the stream.
No fish where to be had there, allthough the presence of three herons meant that something edible
should have been there.

As I was now a long distance from the road I continued my trek along the stream passing by some
more bream.
Nothing moved in the surface so I wondered where all the chub had gone.
At the location of the next weir I encountered yet another set of big stones that had replaced the old
fish-unfriendly structures.
A little feeder stream came in from the side providing some deeper water that beckoned to be fished.
Still not a single hit on the nymph.

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It was time to head back to the access road where I had spotted the big carp.
A quick peek from under the brigde showed me another removed weir.
When I came crossed the road and walked into the meadow I noticed some fish activity in the surface.

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A quick drift with a size 14 nymph yield a tiny chub, there where quite a few of them
around but I was on the look for the big ones.
The next weir was again very interisting, the place looked downright fishy…

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Still looking fishy and catching fish are two completely different things.
Again nothing moved in the water and several drifts with the nymph went unanswered.
This water would prove to be difficult indeed.

After the weir the stream got smaller and shallower.
I spotted a very nice chub but off course it had already seen me wandering up on the bank.
Its reaction was to slowly move downstream and then it downright dissappeared into the overgrowth
of the bank.
I gave up on this stream for now and opted to fish my regular water.
When I crossed the first bridge however my plans where turning out to be pretty useless – for some
reason the water had gained the color of coffee even though there was no rain or flooding.
Most likely the authorities where digging again in the stream removing some old weir somewhere
upstream.
It ruined my fishing but at least it was for a good cause.

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At the confluence of main stream and feeder stream you could see the clear and dirty water mix.
I also spotted some huge chub standing in the current at the inflow of the clear water.
The chub saw me first though and anticipated the upcoming danger so they swam off.Z
All that remained where some little chub feeding further downstream.
I tried fishing a dry fly but the chub where so tiny that they could not even drown the fly.

It was time for a brake as it was late in the day.
My plan would be to get lunch at a pub, by the time I had finished eating the workforce digging at the
river would have probably stopped working and the main river might clear up then.

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After an extended lunch I tried the main river again but unlike the last time activity was non-existant.
Only later I spotted some rising fish under a brigde but those where tiny.
I caught a few of the small fish and then called it a day as would probably not improve.

All in all it was a nice day though that showed me that I had to spend more time to figure out
how to fish the new water.
I guess I have to invest quality time there in order to catch some decent fish.

On Saturday the 13th. fishing was not really an option as a working party was organised at the
hatchery of my German syndicate.
The work involved clearing the area around our hatch pools and fixing the protective net over the
pools that had gotten a beating during a recent storm.

After the work was done and most people that had attended the working party had left
some of the remaining people wanted to see some flyfishing action.
One of our ponds contained some left over stock fish, I called it the mutant pool as it
contained some tiger trout.
Besides the tiger trout the pool contained rainbow trout, brown trout and brook trout.
All these fish had grown to pretty respectable sizes during the last half year.
They where also very aggressive – not so long ago a mole tried to swim over the mutant pool.
It was a fatal mistake by the mole as it was devoured by the trout.

To make a long story short I tossed in one of my small mink streamers, stripped a couple
of times and before I knew it I was in direct contact with the largest tiger in the pond.
The sizeble fish fought well … like a tiger but after a while I could subdue and net it.

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At lunch at the local pub I discussed the fishing with one of my fellow club members.
It appeared that some more work parties where ahead as the mill pool was filling up with sand.
That pool was off-limits to fishing as it was on private land but it contained some huge roach.
Off course I offered to volunteer with just a small demand – I had to fish there 🙂

Later in the day I still had an hour or two left to fish before other duties beckoned.
In the woods I noticed some roach and dace in the water which had gone down to its usual low
summer levels.

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One fish took my attention by its size, it almost looked like a trout.
As the fish did not react to the nymph I dropped in its path I tried to check out with a
streamer if it was indeed a trout.
The streamer did not produce the desired effect so I tied on a heavier nymph.
I guess the depth was the issue here as the heavy nymph got the fish to bite,
the fish was not a trout but a pretty decent dace.

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At some other spots I caught a few small roach, not many fish where visable.
When my indicator was attacked in a rapid flowing stretch I knew I was dealing with a trout.
As the fish ignored my nymph I tried to coax it out of its lie with a streamer, to no avail.
I was pondering weather to use a dry fly or continue to fish the nymph.
In the end I choose the nymph in order to pick up any of the present roach if the trout did not
want to play.
The trout did want to play after several drifts and it put a good bend in the rod.
It left its rather shallow hideout immediately for deep water but then managed to threw the hook.
Time for me to leave the scene.

Germany 07-07-2013

Germany 07-07-2013

It has been a while since I fished for chub.
The main reason was for most part the weather as it was either to cold, to windy or there ws
to much water to fish for them.

With high summer and progress and a few sunny and warm day forecast I finally went on the
road again to check out my chub haunts.
First stop was a body of water in the territory of a new syndicate I had joined last year.
I had already scouted a mighty fine spot and had fished it in the cold spring without
any results.
With the current warm weather I just had to catch something there.
There was not a cloud in the sky, well I am lying now as I could spot a plume coming off
from the cooling tower of a nearby nuclear plant.

When I arrived at the stream I was dissappointed that the water was so murky even though
the water levels where not high.
Not encouraging was the total lack of surface activity on the water, last summer the chub
actively chased damsel but it was all quiet on the water now.
In the end I tossed a nymph behind a weir with not much luck,
When the nymph travelled past the outflow of the weir I fished a fish struck.
It was a small chub but the first of the season, good enough for me.

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When I checked out another nearby stream I noticed a very large shape in the water.
It was a chub, a large one that was stationary in the current.
Off course I had a go at the fish but I suspected it had already spotted me in advance and
ignored everything I tossed in front of its nose.

I gave up on that chub and headed further downstream where some broad sections of the
stream would probably give me a better shot at landing a larger chub.
Only some small chub where visible in the surface, not the kind of fish I had hoped for.
On the plus side, the cherry trees where loaded.

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I did catch a few of the small chub but nothing decent so again it was time to check out some
other haunts.
At one location I spotted some smaller chub in the shallows and off course I tried to catch them.
Those fish where however very hard to catch as they where extremely wary in the shallow water.
Even the sight of an indicator would scare the fish away.

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The spot I was fishing was the spot where I had caught my largest chub to date in my neighborhood,
even more memorable was the fact that it was on a big dry mayfly pattern.
Often you could see the big chub cruise happily along the stream, now with the murky water no signs
of them.
The shady tree at the bank however was a spot that had to be fished thoroughly.
It took some arkward casting to finally get my nymph under that tree but as soon as I did a big chub
came and nailed the fly.
Now I was in trouble as I was standing up on the weir, to have any chance to land the fish I had to get into the water.

As I had no waders with me I had to jump in like I was, well first I had to crawl under the newly installed electric
fence with rod in hand and still connected to the chub.
After I had crawled under the fence from the weir I had to slide in along the steep embankment.
That all went well – I even had secured my phone – just in case I would have to get into deeper water.
So I was still connected to the chub but now I was standing in the stream.
The chub was masssive and used it weight and strength to dive into the aquatic vegitation.
I had to drag the fish out of the weeds all the time, finally the fish was logded solidly amongst some
lilies. 
My crude attempt to dislogde the fish with the landing net resulted in a sudden surge of the fish that
severed my tippet.
So there I was, not looking that happy – wet – in the middle of the stream.

I wanted to re-tie when I noticed I was missing something, my flybox with a few hundred nymphs.
Now I was starting to feel really bad.
All I could do was to get up the bank and scout for my fly box from a high vantage point.
Luckily the box was quickly spotted – a relieve.
Up on the weir I could determine that I had scared off all the small chub with my actions.

Allthough the idea seemed far fetched I concluded that there was a slight possibility that another
chub could be hiding under that shady tree.
So another size 14 goldbead PT nymph went for a swim.
To my surprise a large gray shape moved from underneath the shady tree and intercepted the nymph.
Again I was connected to a hefty chub and the whole electric fence routine was repeated.
This time I was putting more pressure on the fish and coaxed it out of the weedpatches.
The fish took me around the pilings of the weir but I countered every move and in the end could net the fish.

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Catch of the day.

I took a little break from the fishing under one of the trees at the weir and enjoyed my
little moment of succses of the big chub.
In order to dry up I fished a little more in the open fields where a breeze made you forget
that it was a hot 26 degrees Celsius.

The ony thing I spotted in the open water where those pesky breams milling around in the
deep water behind a shallow patch overgrown with ranunculus.

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Under carefull observation by the cows I managed to catch some small chub from beneath the
weir.

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Time had flown and since I had skipped breakfast in the morning so I had to get something to eat.
Earlier in the day I had a conservation with one of the locals who also was a fisherman.
To his knowlegde the stained water was rather unusual and it was most likely caused by the work that
was going ahead upstream to remove some old weirs.
My plans for the rest of the day where clear, first lunch – then off too see what the weir removal team
was doing.

From previous visits I knew a nice place for lunch nearby.
Under the shade of some large trees I enjoyed a good meal and some cold beers at
an old guesthouse in the middle of nowhere.
It was quite late when I finally left the guest house but I still wanted to check out some new
spots I had scouted out earlier in the year.

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A warning sign that warns that the local fox population carries a dangeous parasite – tapeworm.
Stay on the roads – do not consume any wild fruit etc. as these foxes distribute the eggs of the worm
by means of their feces – they poop and pee all over the place …
It is potentially deadly for humans – I looked it up and appearantly 94% of people infected die
within 10 to 20 years after discovery of the parasite.

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On my way to the removed weir I noticed this nice rodent nibbling away at the shrubs.
You have to watch of for the holes they dig in the embankments as you could easily break your
legs with the traps these furry misfits make.

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I checked out the removed weir which was quite an improvement from the old steel one that used to
be there.
All done to make it possible for migrating fish to head up and down the stream.
I fished the fast flowing sections at the end of the reworked weir and noticed fish where present in
numbers in the fast water.

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It was the first time I had ever fished there but with four chub in a row I knew the place had
potential. 
The upstream section of the weir also looked inviting but as the sun was getting pretty low in the sky
I knew I had to get on my home.

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All in all a very grand day, those chub had grown that big not because they there stupid.
I scouted out some new places and boy it was pretty down there.
I will probably be back there next week when the weather holds up.

Germany 30-06-2013

Germany 30-06-2013

After the extreme downpour last week that caused flash floods I wanted to fish the stream today.
Oddly when I checked the river gages I noticed an sudden increase of the level of about 30 percent.

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If you looked at the countryside you would not suspect high water.
The fields where slowly attaining their golden hue, the poppy flowers still in full bloom. 

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Normally I would have avoided the stream when the levels where so high but with the
experience gained in the Harz mountains I figured I might actually catch some fish.
I had tied up some new flies that I wanted to test.
In the past I had found a fly lodged in a tree while fishing the Möhne river, that particular
pattern was a black nymph with flash that worked pretty well on the local roach.

As the stream I fished was mostly inhabited by roach and dace I needed a small fly.
I came up with a sort of chironomid a.k.a. buzzer pattern.
Normally these flies are unweighted but as the stream I fish has short deep pools I needed
something that sank quickly to reach the fish in the pool before the fly was swept into the shallows.
The end result was a buzzer with a tungsten bead head, body of black thread and ribbing with
small pearl tinsel.
I had tested a prototype earlier and found that the varnish cover on the tinsel would not protect it
from being mauled by trout so this time I applied bugbond on the fly.

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When I came to the stream it was indeed high and dirty.
Normally I could walk along the banks without getting my feet wet but now that
was not possible.
From the looks of it the water had been much higher so the stream was receding.
Like with every flood condition a fine clay coating was deposited on the banks of the stream
that had the same properties as grease.

Although the water murky I could see some part of the bottom , visibility was enough for
fish to see the fly.
The first drift of the buzzer nymph immediately raised interest from a trout that intercepted the fly.
The trout did not stay connected though.
During normal conditions I could clearly spot the fish, now I was just fishing blind.
Still a drift along the edge of the fast flowing water yielded a strike from a fish that I initially
thought was a small trout, it turned out to be roach.

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The  particular spot I fished had boasted some trout in the past and the high water would
not have changed that.
After a few casts I noticed a trout chasing the nymph, in fact the fish chased the fly several time
before the fish finally grabbed it.
I probed some other spots but could not hook any fish.

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Time flew as they say and before I knew it lunch time had arrived.
I made my way to the pub, from a distance I could see smoke coming from the chimney.
It had indeed been quite cold in the morning for a late June morning.
Overcast skies at a temperature of 7 degrees C where not my idea of Summer.

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After lunch I decided to head to the headwaters of my stream.
As the stream was fed by many little spring fed feeder streams the headwaters should
have the clearest water, they did in fact.
The upper reaches of my stream where small indeed and access was kind of a problem with
steep banks and lots of treecover.

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One of my favorite spots had been almost filled with sand over the last year.
I still fished there a couple of times but it did not yield as much fish as it
did in the good old days.
With the first cast I did however immediately hooked a small trout with
beautiful markings.
There were still roach and dace present but nothing of size.

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On my way home I stopped at some of my regular haunts but even though
the spots looked very good and had plenty of water I could not hook any fish.
There where fish present though as I saw some surface action.
If I had waders with me I might have been able to get close enough to try
a cast but I was limited to fishing from the bank.

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At the end of the day the weather improved and blue sky and sun appeared.
Like previous days it still was windy and the temperatures never reached a
level you would expect at this time of year.
The mayflies had all but gone, the only insects common now where mosquito’s
and they were out for my blood.
A last ditch attempt to catch fish on the dry fly remained fruitless so I called it
a day.

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If the promised weather improvement holds up I might check the lower
reaches of the stream for some chub action, I will miss the pub though.