Spring Fishing: A time of expectation for the fly fisher
Derbyshire is a magic place for the fisher and for many, spring is its most magical time. If we are lucky the rivers, lakes and reservoirs are in first class condition and the passion for the sport is at its peak. Whilst these delights affect all fishermen, March and April is when the Trout fishing season starts and a strange compulsion comes over those suffering from winter fly fishing deprival. They have an unrelenting and irresistible urge to visit reservoirs and rivers to cast their fishing flies.
Derbyshire has a special place in the hearts of fly fishers. This comes from its focus in the fly fishing chapters of Walton's Compleat Angler and perhaps if fly fishing has a sacred place, a holy of holies, then it lies in the River Dove near Hartington. It was on this spot in 1674 that Charles Cotton, author of the fly fishing chapters in the Compleat Angler and friend of Izaak Walton built his fishing house.
The Dove in this area flows through beautiful countryside and towering limestone gorges. The spring-fed river is crystal clear as it dances downstream over the rocks and when the conditions are right; swarms of flies hover and skip across the surface of the deeper pools. In the spring flies are fewer but fly fishers dream of warmer days and of casting fishing flies and catching the lovely pink spotted wild Dove brown trout of about a pound or the larger stock fish, released by Derbyshire County Angling Club.
The River Dove near Hartington is clear and trout and grayling are plentiful. The river has benefited from much improvement under the Upper Dove Restoration Project, run by the Trent Rivers Trust in partnership with the Derbyshire County Angling Club. Much has been achieved and the fishing has greatly improved. Trees have been removed to allow more light into the river, allowing weed growth which provides cover for fish and a variety of invertebrate food. Long-term habitat improvement has ensured the health of the wild brown trout to the upper Dove.
If you want to know more about fishing available under membership of the Derbyshire County Angling go to: www.derbyshirecountyac.org.uk or for fishing the historic Charles Cotton fishery under the Peak Passport fishing scheme: www.peakpassport.co.uk
This article appears in our Feb/Mar 2012 issues - click here to read the All Things Local issue of your choice.