31 Oct 2007
Love Thy Neighbour (Wolfscotedale)
It was near the end of summer and those lovely big brown monsters were putting in an appearance at most rivers throughout Derbyshire. Most browns are happy to supply smashing takes of vengeance at this time of year, taking your flies as if convinced every tasty morsel was its last supper. It's that magical time of year when you often find yourself thinking "how can this beautiful large specimen come out of a small river like this, and where would it hide in such shallow crystal clear water. Wolfscotedale is a deep winding valley and place of scientific interest, but the real bonus for me is the river Dove cuts through its length for miles, enjoyed by walkers for its beauty, peace and tranquillity. Small wiers and fast shallow riffles sprinting into long deeper pools, some canal like in places as the Dove meanders and sculptures her way through the hills and mountains in a most glorious fashion, while creating a most beautiful place to see. This part of the Dove caters for all styles of nymphing and surface fishing and this can be equalled by a few rivers but surpassed by none, and all who fish there are bound to feel privileged, even before they cast a line.
I decided to invite my neighbour for a days fishing at Wolfscotedale and he jumped at the chance, though his experience to date was all still water venues only, he'd walked this stretch of the Dove many times trout spotting and dreaming of fishing there. We arrived at lunch and cast a few dries in the small brook that runs for ½ a mile before the entrance to Wolfscotedale. We managed a few small browns just to warm up the old reflexes, and this gave my friend a useful practice before moving into the faster waters below us. The fish were taking our Balloon Caddis happily, and we soon hooked some fantastic browns as we slowly made our way downstream, casting into all the little eddies, nooks and crannies along the far bank.
We stopped for lunch and noticed a few lunkers playing around in the pool in front of us, and before too long we were stalking them. My neighbour managed 2 browns which I have to admit, were larger than anything I landed that day. After strolling 3 miles downstream we turned and fished our way back up, picking up some specimen fish along the way. Watching my friend enjoy success on the Dove was an uplifting experience and forced me to realise that assisting someone can be as rewarding as catching the fish, well nearly.
Night falls quickly in the valley, but we still managed front row seats for a display from the black devils, acro(bat)ically picking insects from the air and skimming the surface of the river. I then looked up to the brightest moon and my friend and neighbour looked to me and said "is that why it's called Wolfscotedale?" At which point we both laughed and quickly made our way to the car. My friend couldn't thank me enough for a wonderful days fishing - and he was welcome to it, especially as I've previously learned this kind of experience can bond the hardest of men into a friendship for life, and we all need friends.