A windy and wet start of the day with quite a disappointing temperature to start with. I went south again to fish the small stream that I had explored recently. Maybe the rain that fell recently would improve the fishing. My theory was that the increased flow and murkier water would make the fish less wary. I soon found out it was not the case as I only managed two small chub and a tiny perch.
I spotted plenty of insects and quite a few large mayflies. There was nothing on them expect the gulls with the fish going awol. I also did not see any flanking fish indicating feeding fish.
A loud splash almost made me think a big chub had taken a mayfly. It was a common grebe who scared the little fish that where present away. I explored the stream further upstream to see if I could find larger fish. The water was very clear but alas I did not see any fish running.
The next stop was local stream back home. I walked for miles and did not see a living thing, completely dead. I found it odd as mayflies and other insects where on the water. No rising fish to be seen all day. The last hope spots yielded a tiny dace and roach.
Water was a bit up, visibility still ok but no action on the surface. This month was unusually cold and wet so we have to wait if things will improve in June. As I am up for a vaccine shot I might be visiting the other side of the border again to see if fishing is better there.
Last Friday was another day off for me but it rained most of the day so I did not go out fishing. With the last blank still on my mind I put my plan in practice to visit the feeder stream that was put in use as a bypass of the main river.
I had picked out a spot from the satellite imagery and it actually looked as good from close up as from space. The water was clear and looked well … fishy. But again … no signs of life on the surface or elsewhere.
On my regular water seams between slow and fast water would house roach, dace and the like but here they seemed empty. When I explored the stream further the depth diminished rapidly to only 2 ft. At a slightly deeper pool I noticed the silvery flash of a fish on the bottom so I tried to catch it.
No big fish but at least something to avoid being skunked. After a few casts I had actually caught a small chub, very rare in my neck of the woods. Think the bigger chub might not be far off I tried further sections of the stream. Unfortunately no big fish to be seen, I only managed a few small yellow perch.
I followed the stream until it flowed into the main river but even there no fish where to be seen. In the afternoon the skies brewed up some rain and I just made it to a shelter before being soaked.
I was now at the section of the main stream that formed the border between the Netherlands and Germany and I just could not resist to visit the other side. I found a neat border stone from 1766 marking the border between the Duchy of Gelre and the Bishop of Munster, still the border today.
Dark clouds of the showers I just dodged headed north in the direction I had to go so I killed some time trying to fish the main river. Nothing was moving though, it is not a good sign when a mayfly can sit on the water without a murder attempt of a trout, dace or chub. When the coast was clear I made a run north with in my pursuit some nasty clouds that brought the next batch of rain just as I got home.
The whole shiner fishing obviously is not up to par right now. In a few weeks’ time the closed season for pike and perch will be in swing and fishing with streamers will be allowed again, I think I give it a try.
Another public holiday meant another fishing session for me. With the proper fishing spots still off limits due to the covid restrictions I had planned to visit a new water further south. The route led me again close to the border, easily recognizable by the wind turbines common on the German side of the fence,
The river in question was not a fly-fishing water in my book. I had been destroyed de facto in the sixties and seventies in the name of agriculture and progress. It meant the end of a free meandering river and the loss of migratory fish species. In recent years some work had been done of the section near the border so I had a look.
The upper section looked good from the satellite images and when I saw the water from a distance I had hopes that maybe some fish where to be caught there. A closer look however made me think otherwise. The water was extremely murky and slow moving. Despite the presence of insects (even some mayflies) nothing was moving.
All in all not inviting but I tried anyway and dropped a nymph at various locations where I suspected fish would be hanging out, No luck though as I only dragged debris from the bottom. After the restored part the river entered a basin used to collect the sediment brought in from upstream. A large weir retained the water, on of those killer weirs with a strong undertow right behind the dam.
Fishing seemed useless so I explored the canalized section of the river hoping to see some life. I found life at another weir where dozens of large fish where milling around in the fast water. They looked like ide to me, a large shiner species that migrates upriver in spring to spawn. Seemed they had missed the bypass further downstream and where stuck at the weir.
Tried nymphing for a while but with no takes I called it quits and went north again. I passed the local stream a few times where some tiny fish nibbled at the nymphs but in general it looked pretty dead. Again plenty of insects around but no fish to eat them. I did spot a few rises but that turned out to be tiny fish of a few inches long. I fished a small dry F-fly to see what was rising, hooked a tiny dace when I struck on the take. Yanked the fish almost directly on the bank but it landed in the water before I could grab it,
Seeing all those ide in front of the weir puzzled me, I thought I had red that the river was fully passable again for migrating fish. With some further research I found out that one of the feeder streams had been issued with fish ladders. The feeder was then again connected via another manmade ditch to the upper restored section of the river. Seeing the ide meant obviously that that plan did not work but then again the feeder is my next target in search for fish.
With a sudden rise in temperature I hoped fish activity might be on the up today. Still not able to get to my waters across the border due to pandemic issues I fished the muddy stream on my side of the fence again. Insect activity had increased but I could not spot a single surface feeding fish. A few nibbles of small fish was the only thing I could muster fishing the nymph.
When I finally hooked a small roach and thought skunk was avoided a pike came out of nowhere and took off with my fish. Now I had to battle the pike on very light tippet, but believe it or not the pike remained connected. I made the net ready but at the last minute the pike let go, apparently not hooked. What remained was the little roach which consequently fell of the hook.
Bites where scarce but finally I hooked another small roach. Fishing was not going great, the water was a bit higher than usual and murky. The faster shallow water behind a weir yielded one dace and another small roach. The last spot of the day was also pretty dead, nothing at all was moving. The sudden heat had brewed up some dark clouds during the day so I called it quits early. My skills of forecasting electrical storms had let me down in the past so I was not going to risk it by staying out.
The blank of a few days ago had to be erased so it was off to the stream again. We had a public holiday due to the Kings birthday and for a change we actually had nice weather. The sun was out, the easterly wind was manageable and the temperature was ok.
I went out in the afternoon to enjoy the highest temperature of the day and started fishing at the spot I had blanked recently. A deep fished nymph actually yielded a dace which was a good start of the day. Forgetting the memory card in the camera was not so good. It had happened before so I was prepared and soon was in business again. and actually caught a dace at the first mark when I That second fish however would not materialize.
I had to try another spot and soon found a nice set of weirs. There was a rising fish but it only came up once so I continued nymphing. The faster flow behind the weir yielded dace nr. 2 of the day, a good size fish for this water.
Although the insect activity had increased due to the warmer weather it was not enough to bring fish to the surface. With the sun getting low I had one last spot to visit. The stream at that spot had been put back in a more natural state and boasted some interesting features.
Dace nr. 3 came from a shallower stretch after a couple of missed takes. To bad I had not brought my hip waders with me because some spots required a little wading to get the best drifts. Three fish was not bad, the sun was already moving behind the trees so I called it quits.
I took the shortcut through the moor and circumvented all the highland cows that where laying on the road. Best not to startle them when they have offspring moving around. As usual the roe deer came out at dusk so I managed a few snapshots of them along the way.
The new covid restrictions in neighboring Germany had cut me off from the good fishing grounds across the border so I had to hit the B-waterways at home. As if the pandemic troubles where not enough we also had the coldest spring on record. With the constant northerly winds temperatures dropped deep and fast during the night which was not very helpful for fish activity.
The weather forecast foretold clouds in the morning and sunshine in the afternoon so I left pretty late for spot nr.1 on my list. Tossing small nymphs on an indicator yielded some subtle strikes but nothing stuck. When I went to spot nr.2 another fisherman had setup on the location I had in mind. I tried further downstream but did not see any indications of fish … totally dead.
About two before sunset I was back on spot 1 … but now occupied by a flyfisherman which was pretty rare. Turned out to be a tourist from the west of the country who tried his luck. Talked a little shop and watched how he falsely hooked a little bottomfeeder, at least he was fishing deep enough. He had the same problems though … just dead water.
When he left I tried as the sun was setting and it was getting cold again. The last cast was extended dozens of times and I finally hooked a fish which I subsequently lost. As we still had a curfew I had to stop otherwise the day could end expensive.
Tomorrow we have a public holiday, might give it a go once again but with an east wind and a cold night I fear it will be tough.
With the year ending it was time for the annual pike fishing session with some of my friends. Due to pandemic issues we where left with four attendees but all in good health and spirit. The plan was to visit a local stream and harass the pike if any where around. As a result of several days of rain the stream we wanted to fish was dirty and high. Combined with the presence of other anglers we switched to plan B, fishing a nearby canal.
The canal was dug in 1887 to transport goods from nearby Germany to the Netherlands. Soon after its opening the competition from railroads made it obsolete and shipping ceased in the sixties. Some of the bridges where replaced with culverts and now it was just used for drainage and recreational purposes.
We tried but the action was slow to non-existent. Only one of us actually landed a small pike while another one had a hookup but missed the fish. It was still a pretty day to be outside and nice to see everybody doing ok.
The fact that I would end this shitty year with a blank sat not well with me. With the company closed for the holidays I had some time on my hands and decided against better judgement to give it another try.
A look at gages from nearby rivers did not promise anything good, everywhere the levels where double of what they should be. When I came at the stream close to where I live I heard the water rushing and as expected it was high and dirty.
I first tried to dump a squirmy along the edges of the fast flowing water hoping to entice a yellow perch to hit the fly, it did not work. With the lack of visibility I figured the only thing that could work in these conditions was a large flashy fly.
As I had the four weight with me large flies where a no-no but I had two large black and silver streamers that where light enough to do the job. I added a nice trace in front of the fly and probed the more slowly flowing eddies. Within half an hour I got a hit, a small pike had grabbed the fly.
This was surely a lucky shot and it would be hard to replicate, I tried anyway. With the water flowing so fast the only other feasible spot nearby was a removed weir. The weir had been replaced by a cascade of small dams and the wide pool at the end would be my next target.
This time it took longer for a fish to hit but again a small pike decided to hit the fly. As I noticed the crowds arriving I figured it might be a good time to spot. So in the end the last fishing session of the year ended with success leaving me to wish everybody the best for next year.
I fished a local stream late in the afternoon. The perdigon nymph yielded the first fish quite early in the session. I caught a good size roach and hoped for more of the same. Alas it stayed quiet for a long time. I tried the squirminator but only had a few hits of small fish.
I switched back to the perdigon as the worm did not perform that well. The perdigon was intercepted by a gudgeon, fish species 2 of the day. I tried several other spots hoping for fish but nothing happened.
I switched to a heavier tippet and a lure as the sun was low in the sky. My choice of weapon was a small woolly worm with a bullet shaped head. Something was chasing the fly, a perch lunged forward and took it. To my surprise a second perch about twice the size tried to eat the fish I had just caught.
I continued fishing the spot where I had last fish contact. The perch where wary though and only nibbled at the fly. I suddenly felt a tug on the streamer. A small pike had hit the fly and was actually going ballistic. I landed my first pike of the season despite the lack of a trace in the leader.
I tried the last mark of the day as the sun was setting but only hooked a piece of submerged wood. I called it a day when the mosquitoes came out at dusk.
Another trip to the local stream on a bright sunny day. Since it was Sunday a lot of people where out in the outdoors. Even though the border should be only open for essential travel it looked like people on both sides disregarded that fact. With a steady east wind fishing was difficult, hardly any bites. The bites I had where from tiny tiny fish. When the sun was setting I feared another skunk but in the last minute a small roach went for the nymph so it was not all in vain. Hoping for winds from the southwest and some rain as it is needed.
I took a short trip to the local stream in the Netherlands as the border was semi closed. I only blanked on this stream this year so far but with the warmer weather maybe conditions would be better. Ader flies and St. Marks flies where about but surface feeding dace where totally absent. In the past this stream boasted a Dace population but the water looked dead. The stream although shallow was also pretty murky. In the end the small nymphs did the trick and a few small roach where caught.