Contributed by Tom Hird (09.07.2003)
I have fished 14 times this season, 11 times on the Kirkby Stephen waters, the other 3 on Applebys waters. Overall the river seems to have a good healthy fly life, with plenty of the various olives and a prolific mayfly hatch around mid-June. Otter tracks are present on the riverbank and with the exception of the mink seen at Musgrave bridge, which Stan photographed, I have not seen anymore on my river travels!
The bird life appears to be much more better than last year with plenty of kingfisher, (you can see a good pair between Blandsworth bridge and Musgrave bridge) and plenty of the usual riverside birds such as oystercatcher, sandpipers, redshanks and grey wagtails. Bankside birds have included treecreepers (at the woods downstream of Musgrave bridge) pipits, warblers and chiffchaffs.
Anyway back to the fishing, and I detail a few highlights of my fishing trips.
21.03.03 Sunny but cold with few trout actually rising. No trout on the day but a lovely 1.5lb grayling caught on a Czech nymph at Musgrave.
19.04.03 A very sunny day and I had travelled up on the command of John Garner as Appleby had stocked at Warcop Bridge. 6 blue spotted trout of 9-10” caught on a cast of two olive spiders, two kept for supper. Only for the second time on the river I actually caught two trout on the same cast! Stocked fish but still enjoyable.
13.05.03 Another visit to Warcop on a really nice quite sunny day. Armed with my light rod and some parachute Adams, you had to search the area for the stockies, but great fun with the dry fly and 5 caught and released, 4 had the blue spot and the other was “native”.
27.05.03 Three good fish, slightly under 2lb caught on the dry Adams on a warm and cloudy day. Keeping in contact with this website it was revealed later that the association had stocked at various places recently. The day had a super mayfly hatch which the trout seemed to ignore.
28.05.03 Another visit around Musgrave, the day was hot, humid and overcast. Little was rising and a change of tactics to a small spider and a black pennell resulted in a couple of nice 1.5lb trout, again there was a good mayfly hatch during the early afternoon.
Tightlines for the rest of the season, at least with a bit of stocking the fishing has much improved from last year and the fry life seems prolific.