The trout are rising
WITH the shooting season long gone and hunting winding up in most parts of the country, my thoughts turn to the delights of fishing. As I walked along the Itchen near Alresford in Hampshire in anticipation of the forthcoming season, there was a hive of activity both on and off the water. I didn’t notice the insects at first, but the constant looping flight of a pair of flycatchers told me something was about. Wrens busied themselves in the reeds beside the water’s margins and sang from the alders like lusty angels; a kingfisher flashing past left a streak of azure in its wake; a patient white egret stood like a ghost in the shallows.
The emerging insects were beyond my scope of entomology, but of a size to make a significant meal. The water temperature had reached a critical point and their appearance triggered the trout. A trout’s table manners depend on the size of the portion: small insects are delicately sipped from the surface, leaving an ephemeral halo in the water, but larger morsels, like these, are slashed at greedily with a characteristic plop and splash.
Our chalkstreams are as precious as any of the world’s rainforests; it was good to see one come alive for another year. MH