As yesterday was the opening day of the fly fishing season, Tony and I took some time off work and wetted a line on our local river Irwell.
I was certainly a little ring rusty and spent the majority of the first hour or so, freeing my line from the riverside trees and shrubbery, and untangling birds nests which i was creating around my rod tip (one day i will have to book some casting lessons with Chris Aldred).
The river itself was very cold, low and clear - not ideal conditions for catching fish - but I've always been able to catch a few from my favourite runs no matter what the weather and water conditions.
Not this year - we tried all sorts of runs and pools which we know from experience hold fish. But after a good few hours we had a nil result.
The only fish we saw sight of were two small fish rising in a flat pool, which disappeared as soon as Tony got in the water to present an f fly over them.
A really disappointing day. We didn't even see any fish in the banker pool at the bridge near the mill where usually a few fish can be seen lurking under the cover of the bridge.
We did a kick sample to see what was about, and found a fair few bugs, and Tony saw a couple of bullheads so pollution cant be to blame. I personally think that mink have decimated the river over winter - no doubt helped by cormorants which have descended on the river in numbers when the still waters were frozen over for 5 weeks earlier in the winter.
It could be a tough year on the river - i hope I'm wrong but the evidence says I wont be.