Keeping Dry in Laxey
Laxey Glen is a little higher up than I've fished before. I had a walk in the glen, to have a look, earlier in the year but this is the first chance I've had to fish it. Bank holiday Monday was the perfect opportunity to have some Tenkara fishing fun in the Laxey River.
The lower part of the Glen has very steep, stone walled sides. It's "interesting" trying to drop into the river and takes a bit of blind faith, as you wriggle on your belly over the edge, that you will touch down. Not recommended, if you're on the short side. There are beautiful little trout to be had on the way up to the bridge from the various rapids and pools. Very easy casting for a longer Tenkara rod with little overhead vegetation.
The order of the day was very quickly established as dry fly. This little chap took a size 12 pheasant tail dry with a red game cock hackle. As soon as the fly sank it drifted through the pools without a second glance from the fish. On the top the fish came steaming to the surface to grab at the fly.
The water in the Laxey River is crystal clear, but don't expect to see too many fish. They are well camouflaged and hiding under rocks or the bank. This is to be expected because the Glen is quite busy with walkers and dogs.
Under the bridge are hundreds of small stalactites. As you pass under you do have to be careful not to touch them. There were fish in the runs the other side of the bridge and up to the weir pool. By this stage I'd had half a dozen fish in the first 50 meters of river. Every one was eager for the dry fly.
The weir pool is very deep with a few overhanging branches. Casting my prototype 360cm Tenkara rod parallel to the water kept the fly out of danger. I'm not more than happy with this rod and will be putting it into production very soon.
Before I dropped into this steep sided section of the river, I had checked that I would be able to climb out again. The weir pool is far too deep to wade, even at the margins, but a large log on the left bank gave me a step back up to the top and dry land. Without it I wouldn't have dared drop in to fish this lower section. I took three fish out of the weir pool up to about 8 inches before climbing out and stepping back in to the water above the weir.
My pheasant tail dry lost it's hackle to a trout that decided to engulf the fly so much that it required the use of forceps to extract it. I swapped to a black dry with grey slip wings. It seems that was appreciated by the trout as well.
Occasionally you could see a fish in the deep pools. Being careful to only land the fly and keep the line off the water, repeated drifts at a fish hovering just below the surface were possible until they lunged at the fly.
Laxey Glen really is a stunning piece of water with lots of interesting sections. My count at this point was over a dozen fish. Dropping the dry into still pockets behind rocks and in to deep runs at the side of the main flow brought one fish after another to the dry as it bobbed through.
Not all the fish are big, but they are all beautifully marked. The two pools either side of the big rock brought even more fish to the tally. I lost a very good fish to the left side, looking upstream. On the way back home I managed to get a look at the fish I think I had on. It was definitely over the 10 inch mark. As I watched it drifted back to hide under the bank. Time was too short to cast for it again, but it's card is marked and I will be back!
Pool after pool was so enticing. Crystal clear water required you to keep low and cast with care. The deepest part of this pool must have been 5 feet. Certainly not one I'd want to fall into, although it was such a warm day it was tempting! The fish in the pool were harder to see but they were there and one after the other came up to the dry.
The largest fish of the day came from the pool above. the largest fish I landed that is. I'd had a couple that felt much bigger but I over bullied them and popped the fly. This reservoir fishing has really messed up my delicate handling and patience.
The picture above was of the last pool before the vegetation closes in. Two fish came from here, which was a surprise because it was easy access for the walkers with their dogs. I'd seen quite a few wet dogs and I guess this was one of their swimming holes. Settling myself down it was time for a drink and a short break. I was pushing towards 20 fish and I wanted to swap my rod to the shorter Eso-Tenkara 245-206cm zoom rod.
Above the pool, at the style on the Glen path, it certainly was more difficult to get a cast in. Shortening the leader to a shade under 4 feet I could bow and arrow cast into the pocket waters where I couldn't cast in more conventional ways.
Sometimes these tight corners can be very productive because, I think, they get the least angling pressure. this Tittle fish was most obliging in taking the dry from under the leaning tree.
Still the pools with their deep glides keep coming. With a little work on the vegetation this pool could be fished with a longer rod but crawling up the margins and casting low brought more fish to the net. The count is 25 and all of them on the dry fly. It was still holding true that a sunk fly was being ignored. As soon as it was powdered up to float high a fish would grab at it on the first drift. It really didn't matter what the dry fly was. It just had to be riding high.
Yes, this is the same river. Yes it was taken on the same trip. Yes, the flash on the camera did fire. There were a few sections where the overhead trees were so dense it was almost dark. Much cooler and a welcome break from the intense sun. More fish to be had in the gloom.
One of the most beautiful pools. Deep, crystal clear, but not many fish. Why? Probably because there was an easy path down from the Glen path and it's been another swimming hole for the dogs. I raised one fish but missed it. I even put some nymphs through and tried the kebari pulsing techniques because I couldn't believe it was so quite. Perhaps another day it'll be different.
This was my last pool of the day. There is a viaduct that runs along the side of the valley to feed the old mill at the bottom. This is the top of the viaduct and some of the old railing can be seen where the flow of the water could be regulated to redirect some of the flow into the viaduct. Again there was easy access so I wasn't hopeful of a fish.
I'd resolved not to move for home until I had caught a fish from this deep pool. I didn't have to wait long. The first drift and I saw a fish come up from the depths and reject the fly at the last moment. Promising! I skated the fly a little back upstream before casting again. I didn't get to cast again because a little fella grabbed it.
Too easy. Of course I was going to have another go. This time skating the fly downstream a larger fish rocketed to the surface with a splash but didn't connect with the fly. Now this is fun!
I do enjoy skating sedge patterns on the river. I swapped to deer hair sedge and battle commenced.
This chap came up like a torpedo and launched himself from the water with the sedge in his mouth before diving to the depths. I guess he wanted it. Not the biggest fish but fabulous sport to end the day with a count of over 30 fish all on dries. Does wild brown trout fishing get any better than that?
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