An ‘autumnal’ July

The weather seems to be all over the place at the moment. We had a brief hot spell during the third week of July – when we had the hottest day of the year – but apart from that, it was a wet and unseasonably cool month in Eden. The weather was more akin to autumn than summer at times. The fresh water did the rivers good though and it perked the fish up – especially the grayling. They don’t like the warm waters of summer and can be quite elusive at this time of year, but a few turned up in our July catches.

The month started off wet. Heavy showers on the 1st July saw the Eden up and coloured, which prompted a retreat to one of our smaller streams. We’re very lucky in this part of the country. Apart from our larger rivers: the Eden, Eamont and Lowther, we also have smaller streams in the shape of the Lyvennet, Leith, Petteril, Troutbeck and Dacre beck, so you can normally find somewhere to cast a line….

A trout from one of our smaller streamsA trout from one of our smaller streams

The main river was dropping back nicely and clearing  for Neil and Hazel’s first try at fly fishing. A strong upstream wind and blustery showers made life a little difficult at times. But they coped well and both managed to catch their first fish.

Neil with his first Eden Brown Trout

Hazel caught a fish on her fly fishing debut

The changeable weather continued into the second week of the month and Mike had two different days for his latest visit to Eden. On the first: it was quite cool with heavy showers throughout the day and the river appeared lifeless. It wasn’t though and Mike had quite an eventful day. He moved a good number of fish as he worked the river, alternating between a large ‘Klink’ and a single nymph. On day two: the weather was more settled and a touch warmer. We had no hatch and no rising fish – but that’s pretty typical during July. So we had a day on the French leader. It wasn’t as productive as day one, but Mike still managed to finish just short of double figures of fish caught and lost. So, despite the conditions, Mike had a productive couple of days in Eden.

Mike bring a fish to the net on day oneMike brings a fish to the net on his first day

The rest of the month remained changeable. The river was in flood on the 11th, but okay a couple of days later and I was lucky: no days lost with clients and a few days out on my own. The fresh water certainly perked the fish up and I had a few good outings – as did my clients. All either caught or had the chance of fish. The river was carrying a touch of colour mid-month. But it was what I term ‘good colour’ and Trout and Grayling responded well to my offerings.

A River Eden Brown Trout in July
I often find that the Grayling tend to disappear during the summer months – especially in the middle and upper Eden reaches. It can often be mid to late August and sometimes early September before they start to reappear in decent numbers. This year’s unsettled spell and cooler water seems to have suited them. A decent number have turned up in recent catches and they’ve been in good condition too!
I normally hate catching Grayling during the summer. The warmer water seems to exhaust them and they can take quite a while to revive sometimes. I’ve even chased fish down the river and re-netted them after friends or clients have released them too soon….This July’s Grayling have been a different animal all together. They’ve fought more like a late autumn fish, they’ve been ready for release straight away and they’ve swam back to the depths with vigour.

Grayling appeared in numbers through JulyCooler water perked the Grayling up

July ended as it started – miserably. The river was up slightly and a touch coloured over the final weekend. A cool North Easterly wind kept the temperature down. The month ended with a distinct ‘autumnal’ feel.
I had an interesting final Saturday of the month. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say too much about it at the moment, so maybe in a future blog….