Pickering Beck

Fruitful session on the Duchy gets things back on track


Up to the Duchy beat of Pickering Beck, first to do the invertebrate sampling then for a quick go with the rod. The British weather eh? We’re well into June and still the temperature lurks sullenly at 14C, there’s a fine drizzle coming down and steam on the breath. Also, for the first time I can recall on this stretch of water – bloody midges! Anyhow, the inverts seem healthy enough. This is what we counted this morning from our three-minute kick sample: gammarus, 55; hepta, 60; cased caddis, 15; caseless caddis, 20; baetis, 145; stonefly, 35; blue-winged olive, 15. Not bad and pretty consistent with readings from previous years.

And so onto the fishing. There wasn’t much breeze thankfully as this is a pretty overgrown beat. Few insects coming off and barely and fish rising. It’s not a particularly fast piece of water, with plenty of slow, lazy runs. The main challenge is to avoid the overhangs and the plentiful debris in the water. I used the usual 6ft Burns 3 weight with a leader of around 11 ft and put a fattish parachute emerger on, with a body of peacock eye herl and buoyed with a foam ball. If that didn’t do the business I’d switch to a nymph.

I started here, just upstream of a hunting bridge:

As I say, it’s mainly a case of getting the fly in wherever you can. I had a couple of takes on this run but missed them both – the first due to inattention, which was annoying.

I worked my way upstream and after fifteen minutes or so connected with a typical little brown:

Blank avoided, which was a relief. Drops of water were falling from the canopy making it tricky to spot any rises. Much jungly water to work through:

I’d had five small fish after about an hour when I put the fly into a fairly random patch of slow water when I had a take and was startled by the violent pull. It was a really nice fish for these parts, probably not too far shy of 12″. Not a monster by many people’s standards but for this water a real belter:

Onward through more water like this:

I picked up another a fraction smaller than the biggie before reaching the weir which pretty much marks the end of the beat:

I lost a couple before landing another small one:

So that was it for the day: eight feisty little wild brown trout on challenging water after a couple of hours’ fishing. I’ll take that.

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