ROAD and agricultural land run-off resulting from recent heavy rainstorms, have had the net effect of turning our rivers into coloured and raging torrents, thereby curtailing what had been a good start to the winter grayling season. John Pass of Cromford Fly Fishers reports that warmer conditions than previous years resulted in the dry-fly being especially productive as the grayling were continuing to rise freely well into late-november, with catches of 20-plus grayling being reported. Fish caught ranged from 4oz juveniles up to adults of 1lb 12oz and a few nudging 2lb. Fishing the nymph into the cooler evenings also proved to be very effective. The fact that anglers were achieving such results without having to move from the same spot, indicated that the grayling were already beginning to shoal up. At the time of writing in early December, river levels and flows are currently falling and are now close to their seasonal means so it is to be hoped that conditions more conducive to successful angling will once again prevail in the near future. Access to winter grayling fishing is readily available
via the Peak Angling Passport Scheme (see www.peakanglngpassport.co.uk) or alternatively via membership of one or more of the various clubs that manage and control waters in our region. Cromford Fly Fishers are currently offering a seasonal pro rata membership incentive that offers access to three miles of excellent double bank fishing on the magnificent Derbyshire Derwent on 362 days of the year (see www. cromfordflyfishers.co.uk). The present low water levels in all of our major water supply reservoirs are a very real concern given that they are still falling and expert opinion is that we need exceptionally wet winter weather to have any chance of restoring them to normal levels before next summer. This year’s 40ft-plus reduction in level at Ladybower, that has revealed bygone villages and features that were flooded and have remained largely hidden since its construction over 73 years ago, must surely now be seen as an ominous portent in terms of years to come. Complacency regarding the problem of water supply system leaks and increased reservoir capacity is no longer an option. Although most of our major reservoirs will remain closed until early March or thereabouts, it is worth remembering that in neighbouring counties, Thornton Fly Fishery and Toft Newton Trout Fishery will be among the first to reopen for business on February 1 to supplement venues such as Press Manor Fishery and Barlow Lakes that remain open almost all year round. As the daylight hours get noticeably longer, there is much to look forward to but please remember that despite its obvious attractions and allure, the Derbyshire Peak District, together with its surrounds, can be a deceptive and unremitting place in winter. Make sure that you take all necessary precautions to remain safe while enjoying the fantastic sport it has to offer the intrepid angler. – DAVID M THELWALL.