Adrian’s Mayfly Break

I thought it was time to show Steve, a friend and member of our Wylye fishery how good the Mayfly fishing can be ‘over the border’. Fair weather and good water conditions greeted us and amazingly profuse early weed growth. We slipped quietly into the water at Poundbury and rod shared through the pockets & runs. A few odd rises and very occasional Mayfly gave me something to aim at with my French Partridge Mayfly, whilst my guest, a real artist with a tiny nymph and Sawyer style ‘induced take’ took 3 Grayling to about 14” and an 11” Trout.
Despite his love of this style of fishing, he soon knotted on a Mayfly when it became clear that the Trout were interested, after we both had some fun fishing with Trout up to 13”, we knocked off for a late lunch having only covered a short stretch.
After lunch in the more secluded Cerne valley, I showed Steve the wonderful ‘Lilliput’ River Cerne, despite the width reduced to 5ft in places with summer growth he was keen to try out the short rod.
Again we made slow progress upstream as every pool and run seemed to have a willing fish in it.
The Mayfly hatch got going quite well and we did rather well with lots of small fish topped by a nice 13 incher for my guest, as well as 4 exuberant escapee Rainbow Trout of 10 – 11”.

21st MAY
Enthusiasm resulting from Monday’s success causing me to start my own ‘solo’ 3 day Mayfly break a bit too early in the day, I found the top section of Stinsford quiet although spooked a number of fish as there was little cover and no hatch, I found a willing riser of 14.5” at the top.
After lunching at Bockhampton with my friends from Surrey who were fishing Lower Water I dropped into considerable depth and lush weed at Withy Bed, however still with very little hatching or moving I crept slowly up and dropped the Mayfly into a bank-side run that shouted ‘fish’, up comes a nice Trout and promptly runs me into submerged Willow branches, after finding it impossibly to free, I waded over to it and carefully worked my hand into the tangled branches and managed to pick up the 13.5” fish from underneath, bite the line, remove the fly and carefully release him!!
Sporadic hatches then occurred with a few more fish caught until I knocked off about 5.30, pleased with my afternoon but bettered by a good fish laying out in a tiny hole in the weed I decided to give the day best. Some very picturesque scenes by the railway bridge with the Crowfoot in full flower and Pounbury in the background.

22nd MAY
Again starting too early, found the rest of Stinsford generally quiet but managing 2 small fish and a nice 13” & 15” Trout and an surprisingly fat and powerful 14” Grayling just as a few Mayfly started to hatch right at lunch time when I needed to ‘fill up’ as well!
Two interesting sights this morning, Otter prints in the mud under Dorchester By-Pass and two separate incidents of good Trout chasing the crowds of spawning Minnows in very shallow water (don’t they know it’s Mayfly time!).
A change of carrier for the afternoon saw it cloud over and better hatches by about 4pm with a number of fish moving well to the big Duns. Some good fishing followed with fish feeding in difficult lies, but this sort of fishing is very satisfying when it all goes right, lots of small fish (a great sign for the future) and a few up to 12”.
Interestingly the main hatch pool had no willing risers, so I tried a Hare’s Ear nymph as it looked so perfect, there followed a mad 15 minutes with 8 ‘ASBO’ Rainbow Trout all 10 – 12” coming to the nymph, clearly as this is downstream of the Cerne, it looks like there has been a big loss of farmed fish further upstream.

23rd MAY
In less of a hurry to get to the river, and keen to relax and enjoy the ’green’ wonders of late Spring I set of for Upper Water in sunny and warm conditions, nice to be out, but not the best for the Mayfly hatch.
After strangely losing 4 fish in a row from the Wrackle, including one nice fish, then settling my confidence with two up to 11”, I switched to slightly less challenging casting on the main stream and found odd fish rising.
The stocked fish were busy! they rose well and fought very hard providing great sport, even though the hatch never got beyond ‘light’ in the bright sun, however wild fish above 10” were hard to find.
Two more incidents that all go to make the day memorable, after netting one of the stock fish I climbed out onto the bank, knee first, narrowly missing a 2.5 foot Grass Snake which calmly swam into mid river and settled on the floating weed eyeing me up before crossing to the far bank.
Then later when wading tight to the bank in deep water I found myself also eye to eye with a large Cob Swan sitting on the bank, I decided to hold my line and go by whilst talking reassuringly to him, this ploy worked for a start but when I was upstream of him his mood changed, having lots of experience of Swans while working on the Wylye I judged it best to withdraw to the bank, I soon found out why he wanted me out, his mate was sitting on the nest on the Island a few yards away below Fisherman’s Hut.
I was replete, time was moving on and there is much work to do back home.
I hope other members enjoy this magical period as much as I do but my fingers are crossed for you as I write this because the weather has turned and it looks more like November, with heavy rain and very strong wind.