The Ice Fly

My pal and I have been watching the weather closely over the last few weeks, desperate for a window of opportunity. The rain slacked off a little bit towards the end of the weekend, and yesterday the weather was fantastic. The river levels were also looking superb. All in all, perfect conditions for getting the grayling excited. Unfortunately, we didn’t go fishing yesterday. No, we went today.


I looked out the window at 8am whilst my tasty brown bread toasted away, waiting to receive its coating of chocolate spread. The ground was slightly damp, but the sky looked clear and in a few minutes the sun began to squeeze through the last remaining clouds, shedding weak winter rays into the kitchen. Surely the conditions were good. No rain at midnight, no rain this morning.

Arriving at the river, we got that feeling unmatched anywhere else in life as the first glimpse over the bridge revealed a torrent of mild diarrhoea. Specifically, the kind only obtained by eating too much chicken madras followed by several pints of heavy. Take this from someone who knows.


What followed can only be described as the single most extreme act of optimism in human history. We fished. All day. I had a total of zero takes, ten frozen toes, and a similar number of frozen fingers. I lost four flies. There’s got to be something special about an activity where this happens and you still have a good time.


The finest moment came when a snow shower passed through as we stood waist deep, chucking bomb flies and shrimps into chocolate soup. Staring into the water next to the bright yellow strip of line that marked the end of my leader, it was a strangely trance-like experience as the horizontal snow sheets passed across my vision. The gurgling river in the background completed a view right out of a weird LSD trip.


We will be back for a proper assault when the weather clears up. In the meantime I’m going to try to replicate some of my pal’s amazing ice flies at the vice.



  1. Trout Underground’s avatar

    OK, you’re already a leader in the “Grossest Water Quality Metaphor” Category of the 2007 Blog Awards.

    I’m leaving before you eat any more Indian food…

  2. Anonymous’s avatar

    Looks like a sh*t load of fun… kind of like my memories of grayling fishing… much effort with zero reward and a pair of frozen bollocks. At least with trout it’s much effort, a little reward. Lets hope more luck next week. However, looking out yonder window at lashing rain, I’m not optimistic. Though the jogan is reason enough tbh.

  3. Anonymous’s avatar

    Think I might adopt the Mears approach and chuck the fly rod in. Nothing beats a straight spear.

  4. Alistair’s avatar

    “What followed can only be described as the single most extreme act of optimism in human history”

    The Don in May ?

  5. Mike’s avatar

    Fair point Alistair. But remember, you caught a fish back in May, a real monster as i remember. I caught some rocks and a couple of branches yesterday. I have confidence our next Don trip will be a total success. Once you learnt the deadly fly (DHE) nothing will stop us.

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