Monday, 4 January 2010

Arsenal maggots and the lady of the stream

The last couple of weeks had seen a Siberian weather front locked over the country with more snow and ice than we have seen for a decade.

What do you fish for when the temperature barely moves above freezing? My experience would suggest grayling or rainbow trout, failing that river pike, chub and dace in that order. With stillwaters frozen solid, a winter trout session was not an option. Peterborough isn't renowned for its grayling fishing, but I do know of a small stream locally that holds a few, I lost one last spring whilst upstream nymphing for brown trout. The fly rod would be left at home this time and I would go armed with a 13 foot float rod matched to a centrepin reel.

I have caught plenty of grayling from the Hampshire Avon and Dorset Frome but I have never caught one locally, so a grayling of any size would be a result.
Mobility is key to success on small rivers and most anglers carry too much gear. A pair of breathable waders enables you to kneel or sit on the banks and dispenses with the need to carry a chair. My landing net clips into a ring on the back of my coat leaving the other hand free. A couple of pints of mixed red and white maggots, along with a disgorger, are placed in a bait apron and lastly a shoulder bag carries a flask, camera, scales and a small tackle box.

I arrived an hour after dawn and enjoyed a days trotting, feeding each run for five minutes before running the float through the swim a dozen or so times and then moving down to the next swim. I had a mile or so of small stream to explore and by the end of the day had trotted a float through most of it at least twice. Try it, it is a great way of getting to know a stretch of water!

As is usual on a trout stream the local trout population could not resist the maggots and I ended the day with four pristine wild brown trout and a couple of grayling. I had enjoyed a great days sport trotting arsenal maggots (one red maggot with a white maggot on either side) for the 'lady of the stream' on a freezing cold day in the countryside where the stream glistened in the winter sunshine with only the local birdlife for company.