Against the odds

Even if the weather conditions seem to be against you it can be well worth fishing anyway says Martyn Skoyles following a recent trip flying fishing in the Derbyshire Peak District.

“The river keeper says that following the heavy rain last night the level is well up and the water chocolate brown, I suspect the fishing will be difficult as it’s far from ideal fly fishing conditions.” explained Peter over the phone. After a few seconds debating whether to cancel we decided to go for it, after all you can’t catch them sitting at home.

The planned trip was to the River Derwent on the Chatsworth Estate, with fly fishing expert and Chatsworth Fishery Member Peter Lax giving me some pointers in the hope of catching trout and grayling. I had been lucky enough to have a day’s fishing with Peter a few years ago, and after a few hours teaching me how to cast a fly for the first time we caught a number of cracking fish on both dry flies and nymphs.

Arriving at the venue it was as beautiful as I remembered, although the raging river didn’t look quite as inviting for wading into this time. As we stood on the bridge a trout broke surface a little way upstream, giving us hope despite the tricky conditions.

After a quick casting practice we were ready to go, and carefully waded into position at the first spot we thought was worth trying. After a few casts we worked our way upstream a few steps, a pattern that was to continue for the next few hours as we searched in vain for any fish that might be willing to feed. Arriving at a spot with a slight crease in the river, I made another cast and whispered to Peter it looked perfect for a bite. Just at that moment the leader slid away and the rod was bent double as an angry fish shot downstream. After a couple of strong runs, Peter slipped the net under a fine trout and it was smiles all round.

Although you might not catch as many as in perfect conditions, a fish caught when things are against you and you have to work that little bit harder for a bite are often the ones that stick in the memory the longest.

Visit for more information on guided fly fishing trips in the Derbyshire Peak District and South Yorkshire area.