Spinning gets underway on the Frome after the 15th of May. I normally try and take a fish on the fly at least before this date and over the last 2 or 3 years have been successful. By the time spinning starts i have taken a fish by the end of the first weekend every year and sometimes a couple. This is also the case on the rest of the lower beats with a fair number of fish being encountered. This year, however seems to be a different story.
I normally go by the rule that fish will start to enter the river in any numbers on the first spring tide in May or late April. This year i was hopeful that we'd get a fish or two before spinning starts as there a few new, eager salmon rods on the Frome. Clearly, the fish did not come in in numbers on the springs late in April so it was with great excitement I set out yesterday morning in the knowledge that the spring tides had reached their peak a couple of days early.
Tony had fished the beat on Friday and confirmed that he hadn't seen a thing. Not to be disheartened by this news I set out with great enthusiasm, not as much as the dog but still, i was hopeful. On arrival all looked perfect although unseasonably chilly, as I drove down the hill the car temperature gauge confirmed this. There was a mist rising from the river and all looked set for a lovely day with maybe a fish or even two!
I tackled up whilst the dog tore around the hut looking excited and ready to go fishing. A large Mepp fished deep and slow should do the trick, I thought. As i walked across the meadow to the large pool the cold icy frost on the grass reminded me that the river water would be cold and that the fish may well be a bit reluctant to show themselves until it warmed up a bit.
As I fished through the pools everything felt very quiet and still. I saw no movement other than a few small Sea Trout in the usual spots. Even the Mullet were nowhere to be seen.
The winter floods have changed the beat so much that alot of the likely spots look totally different this year and sadly, some of the nice deep runs look a bit shallow and featureless. In addition to nature changing the beat there have been numerous tree removals and also removal of some of the much needed cover in the way of overhanging branches. This seems to happen every year, much to the expense of fish returning to spawn and also the juveniles during their vulnerable early lives.
|One of my favourite sea trout pools - sadly a victim of the 'tree butchers'|
I fished all of the way down the river then had a break for some breakfast and a coffee. I met the two other rods who fish the beat and between us no one has seen a salmon so far this year. The other rods had had some success with the sea trout however.
After a quick coffee and a bit of breakfast I made my way down to the bottom of the beat to fish back up. Again, despite the warmer temperature I still saw nothing move other than the shoals of mullet that were making there way up river on the tide to graze the brown algae on the river bed.
Upon returning to the hut one of the other rods had taken a sea trout of 2-3lb on the upper beat. Maybe next week I'll fish for the sea trout as there are clearly a few about. After all the fishing and talking to the other rods on various beats we are all still scratching our heads wondering, where are the salmon??????