Monday, 1 November 2010


Well, back from the USA, and what a fantastic place to fish! sadly, didn't have quite enough time, or catch many fish, but really enjoyed it.

I was based in the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee, near Gatlinburg. The 3 day licence for the Smokey Mountains national park cost 30 dollars, and for it I needed to state my hair and eye colour, weight and height!

I dropped in at the Smokey Mountain Angler in Gatlinburg to get my licence and some flies, both of which were forthcoming, along with plenty of advice - really genuine friendly set up here. If you are ever visiting - drop in!

The first trip out I went to the greenbriar part of the park, and the middle prong of the little pigeon river. I was after a brook trout. I didn't catch one. I did get a small rainbow, caught on a PTN. The setting and the water was fantastic - I didn't have my waders so my access was limited.

Balancing on rocks - didn't have my waders!
Throwing the 4wt

Hmm - not sure where or what I was casting to here!

Lovely clear water

Beautiful autumnal colours and lovely "pocket water"
I fished for an hour or so and had a number of takes, but only landed one small wild rainbow.

After fishing here for a while, we moved slightly downriver to a slower run and pool, where we could see fish rising and taking from the surface - what they were taking, don't know - there was no hatch to see so it must have been insects in the surface film.

I fished a duo for a while, missed a few takes then switched to a yellow bodied attractor floating fly, which produced a few more takes, but I didn't connect with any of them. Mrs S-O-T-F was having a go a fishing too, and her casting was more based on the western whip-crack technique - not the best for spooky wild mountain trout!
Perfect fly fishing (and imperfect casting!)
Again, beautifully clear water

The following day I managed to sneak an hours fishing in on the way back from a day trip out, and caught 1 small minnow like fish. I would love to spend a week here in fine weather fishing, it really is a beautiful place and there is soo much fishing to be had, for really reasonable prices.

This is roadside fishing at its best - and there are 10s of miles of it!

So, whilst not a productive trip fish-wise, was fantastic fishing in a fantastic place - can't recommend it highly enough!

The rest of the holiday was engaged with a family wedding and a bit of a road trip to Nashville - I won't bore you with all the pictures on here, but boy, do they like their country music!!

Back to the don this week I think.....

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Getting Colder...

A definitely autumnal feel today - cool and overcast. The river was very clear, and we decided to fish up from the new middlewood road section for a couple of hours, sharing one rod.

As we tackled up, a large fish was jumping across the river, which despite our casts, was not interested in the Copper john on a duo rig.

Moving up to the faster section, we each had a few casts and handed the rod on. As Matt handed the rod to me, the indicator fly disappeared, and I was immediately into a fish - a small brown trout came to hand and was immediately returned - trout season now being closed. His cast got me my first fish!

We carried on up the fast water, and quickly got a couple of small grayling. REALLY small! At least it shows there are young fish, so the head of grayling is breeding and expanding successfully.

Nothing more from the faster section, so up to the pool.

Matt was soon into a reasonable Don grayling, which took the copper john beneath a white wulff.

Lunchtime was upon us, another fun but chilly trip. We packed up and walked back....

Monday, 27 September 2010

Up to Beeley Woods...

Well, its been a little while since i got out fishing. Night shifts this week means that I could get out today, prior to starting my nights. The rest of the daytimes this week will be devoted to sleeping!

I started from my usual spot on Middlewood  road, just near the bottom of Stockarth Lane. I elected not to fish the waters up to the weir, as I wanted to explore a little further upstream, and would only get distracted!

I entered the river just below the footbridge, and waded up through the fast section, fishing as I went. Last time I fished here, I caught a nice trout. This time - same again!

Comparing the picture to my previous good fish here -- it is definately a different fish! The trout here obviously get a good stream of food. This one took a PTN fished beneath a Grey Wulff.

At the pool above, there were fish rising - I suspect grayling taking midges. I had a quick go at tempting them with an F fly, but to no avail. I then switched back to a copper john, and tried nymphing without an indicator. On the second cast I struck into a small brown trout, my first fish out of this fishy looking pool.

Switching back to the duo rig, I carried on up through Beeley woods. The river here is really nice fishing - small runs, little pools, and some overhanging trees.

There was a nice looking run under an overhanging tree, which I persisted with. Soon I was into a decent fish, which charged up and down river a couple of times - putting a good bend into the 9ft 5wt rod I was fishing with.

I slipped him back, and finished off fishing up to the small weir pool above, getting a small brownie on the way. Despite some pretty grim weather - constant "mizzle", I'd had a good couple of hours fishing and explored some more river. I think upstream from Oughtibridge is the Upper Don Fly Fishers waters - I'll keep my eyes open for the signs that mark their lower boundary on my next visit.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

"dry" fly fishing.....

A saturday afternoon trip out - Hillsborough was to be avoided due to Wednesday playing at home, so I opted to explore a new stretch of river, accessed from Club Mill Road. I parked up on an industrial estate just off the A61, and walked a few hundred yards to the river.

There were  couple of blokes float fishing just up from where I got in the river, so thought it best not to start wading up towards them. This however did mean that I had to wade down river, and then fish back up. I waded down, past some massive banks of Himalayan Balsam. Once I had waded a hundred yards or so, I waited for a while, sorting out my leader and deciding which flies to fish. As I got ready, fish started rising in the area I had just waded through 5 minutes previously.

The "grayling run"

I started off on a duo rig, but before long the heavens opened. I sheltered under a tree overhanging the water, which provided little cover!

As the rain abated, there were a large number of midge type flies over the water. Fish started rising all around me, so I quickly cast the duo rig (Wulff on the top, Copper John on the bottom) and covered some rises. To no avail - despite laying out some nice precise casts, nothing was interested.

Time for a change of flies - and onto a black F fly. As soon as the fly hit the water, there was a take which I missed. I cast again, missing the spot I was aiming for by about 3 foot. And the fly got hit again. And I missed again!

Fish seemed willing to take wherever I cast. I soon connected with a fish, a small grayling.

Soon after, another downpour, so more sheltering. Straight after the rain, casting to the same spot, I kept getting takes and connected with every 3rd or so. It seemed there were a lot of greedy grayling!

A cast tight into some overhanging willows produced a nice little brown trout - camera shy as it wriggled back into the water before I'd taken its pic.

After some good sport on this little run, I waded on upstream. The river was now running higher and seemed more coloured.

I fished on up to a slow glide, where there were fish rising. The F fly failed to tempt them on this occasion, and the duo wasn't working either.

Time was pushing on, so I decided to finish by fishing the fast run by the wall up to the weir, and the weir pool itself.

The bright green water weed (not sure of the name ? ranunculus) is really taking hold here, making the place look like a real trout stream!

I had a couple of hits on the copper john, before hitting into a nice little brown trout.
A nice Don brownie, with its blue-ish sheen

Fishing the tail of the weir pool, I soon had another brown trout, which skipped and splashed over the water.

The light was fading now, so off back to the car and home. Another fun trip, really enjoyable dry fly fishing for grayling and some nice brown trout as well.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


Another quick trip out, this time an hour or so down at the Hillfoot Bridge area. There had been heavy rain a day previously, and though the river was still low, it was moving fast and quite coloured.
Sticking to the usual tactics, I was getting lots of little knocks on a shrimpy type nymph. Fishing just above the first riffle, and tight into the bank, I had a convincing take, and hit into a small trout. Just as I was bringing it to hand, off it went - wriggled off the hook and was away!

I carried up on, along the faster run and up to the weir. No hits at all. I changed from the shrimp to a red tag type nymph, and then onto a sawyers killer nymph. Nothing. The weir pool was coloured and churned, and difficult to fish. I persisted, but to no avail. Chatting to a passer by, he'd seen fish rising down by the bridge, taking daddy long legs and wasps off the surface.  A brief look down there and I couldn't see any movement. Time up, I packed up and headed home. This is one of the first trips to the Don where I've not landed a fish - I blame it on the recent rains! I know there was a recent survey match the weekend prior, which fished pretty well, with one entrant landing 50 fish!

Autumn is certainly approaching - my feet were cold when I finished today, and the trees are starting to turn. Autumn is the end of the trout season proper, and the start of grayling fishing. My visits to the river will probably become less frequent - I had a good august with shifts at work making it easy to get to the river frequently.

However, the autumn is my favourite season for photography, so I aim to get out and at least get some decent pictures!

Friday, 3 September 2010

Sunny September...

A morning trip with my brother to hillsborough, for an hours fishing. Not having waders, my brother was confined to fishing from the bank, so I figured this stretch of the Don would be most suited.
Above the bridge

There was a chap fishing from the bank a little way up from the bridge, and not long after arriving he landed a 6lb Barbel, taken on a lump of sausage!

Back to the fly fishing, it was slower that it has been previously in this area. The river was quite low with a little colour.

We fished one rod, sharing the the runs and pools. After a little while, I had a take on a GRHE, and caught a small chub.
Greedy little chub

We carried on for a little while upstream, but as time was tight, we headed to the pool beneath the bridge, for a few final casts.

Before long Brother Sheffonthefly was into a decent fish - his first on the fly. And what a first fish!

A nice grayling, caught on a copperjohn fished beneath a royal wulff

My brothers first fish on the fly
Time up, we packed up and headed home - a successful trip!

Friday, 27 August 2010

Heading north.. Middlewood Road Don

The advantage of working shifts is that I get occasional days where I can get out fishing during the week - today was one such day (though it does mean I'm working nights over the bank holiday..).

I decided to venture a little further north out of Sheffield, and parked up on Middlewood Road, not far past the ambulance station, next to the speed camera. There is free roadside parking here, and as it is on a main road, I suspect the car is safer left here rather than some of the more secluded spots you end up parking for the other spots I've previously visited on this blog.

I entered the Don, and fished up to the weir, managing to tempt out a small brown trout on a gold head PTN fished underneath a balloon caddis.

The true right stream up to the weir.

Small Brownie taken on the goldhead PTN in the area shown above.
I fished the weirpool for a while, not catching anything. I then walked another couple of hundred yard upstream to where the footpath crosses the river. I entered the river just below the bridge, and fished all the small riffles. I caught 2 tiny grayling - and I mean REALLY tiny! Just upstream was a professional fisherman, probably having more success than me! (the heron at the top right of pic)

Fishing up under the bridge I was soon fishing the faster moving water, and hit into something BIG. It tore around the river, and was a good fight, especially in the fast moving water. I soon brought it to the bank and netted it - a decent sized brownie well over a pound, maybe just making 2 pounds? It certainly only just fitted in my net.

A good fighter!

and back into the river...
I had caught this one on a goldhead PTN, and carried on fishing this set up - a PTN beneath a Royal Wulff. In the fast flowing water, the Wulff flies are excellent, being nice and buoyant and floating through all the choppy riffles.
There was lots of evidence of fish here - rises all around, and some really nice deep runs.
Fishing a little further up the run, I soon was into another fish.
Moving a little further up the run, another take!
All really good fighting fish, beautifully marked and of course wild.

The fishing here was fantastic, good fish in fast water.
The productive area today - a mix of fast runs and deep eddys

I moved a little further up and fished the pool beneath the bend in the footpath. There were plenty of fish rising here, but I didn't manage to tempt any of them onto my fly.

Another great few hours fishing, all for free on the Sheffield Don.

Definitely worth a visit here! I would like to explore further downstream from where I started, the section between here and Winn Gardens. For another day perhaps....

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Hillfoot again...

Popped out for and hours fishing between chores today. Having enjoyed the fishing here yesterday, and the convenience, I opted for more of the same today.

There were 2 lads feeder fishing from the opposite bank, and a bloke feeder fishing from the near bank. I got in the river upstream of both of them, and started fishing.
The riffle - productive yesterday but not today

My Sawyers flies arrived yesterday, and I tied a foam backed caddis  on to start with. The flies are very nicely tied, on really good quality sharp hooks.
Within 2 casts, I had lost the fly, caught up in snags on the riverbed ( I know - it was supposed to be a dry fly! - it sunk). I then opted for a Royal wulff, with a killer bug nymph underneath.

There was a take on the dry fly which I missed, and then the productive area from yesterday produced nothing today. I moved up further, and fished the weir pool. There was more water in the river today, and overnight rains had coloured the water as well. I soon had a small chub, and 2 small browns out from various spots in the weir pool.

Looking upstream to the weir pool - todays hot spot

A tight cast under the overhanging bushes opposite the weir produced a positive take on the nymph. I hooked into a solid feeling fish, which charged all over the weir pool. I was standing in a fast flowing bit of water, and as I brought the 1 lb + brownie to the net, it came off (probably due to my inexpert attempts at coaxing it into the net). When playing the fish, a 4lb leader suddenly seemed really light!

Time up, I walked back down and packed up. Another nice hours fishing.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Hillfoot Bridge

So, whilst mrs sheffieldonthefly was sleeping after working a night shift, I kindly went out fishing. So as not to make noise in the house you see.....

I originally intended to head towards hillsborough, but turned off the dual carriageway at Hillfoot bridge. Having not fished there before, I thought it worth investigating. I parked up amidst the broken glass and bin bags - you wouldn't come here for the bankside scenery!
I'm sure my car will be fine here....
I started fishing a small riffle, using a duo set up - copper john beneath a klinkhammer. However, the klink was not behaving very buoyantly, despite a good "gink"ing, so I changed to a foam backed caddis as the floating fly. The foam is yellow, so can be seen easily amongst the white foam and bubbles. After about 5 minutes and one lost fish, I landed a small grayling.

There was plenty of fish action as I cast up above the riffle, with several splashy rises in the mid current. A few more casts and I had 2 consecutive takes on the foam backed caddis. As is becoming an increasingly regular occurrence, I failed to hook either fish.

I moved on up the river, and before long was into a small brown trout. Despite the Loxley having joined the don a few hundred yards upstream, the river here was low and clear.

Released into the shallows, he soon darted off into the main flow.

A pretty Don brownie

Moving up still further towards the weir, and casting under the vegetation on the far bank, I was soon into another small brownie. This one moved into the main flow and put up a scrappy little battle, but was soon in the net, and seconds later back in the river.

An almost golden little fish

Back in the river, and soon to swim away under an old tyre!

I moved up further, fishing under the weir. There was no sign of rising fish here, and I had no takes. I think I was perhaps fishing too shallow, as the weir pool looked quite deep.
Looking up to the weir

I walked up on top of the weir, and waded the slower water above it. I could see fish moving ahead of me, and had several takes close to the true left bank, under some overhanging vegetation.
It was obvious that this area is a dumping ground, and there were numerous bin bags in the river, as well as a comfy looking chair!
Urban - in the worst way...
It had taken me over an hour to fish about 300 yds of river, but great fishing! When you are down there in the river the derelict surroundings are not so visible, and you will certainly get no better value fishing!

I arrived home to find some new flies had arrived from Sawyer nymphs - they certainly look the part - I will see how they fish later on in the week, hopefully.

As I have said before, I have been fly fishing now for less than a year, and almost every trip discovering interesting and fun fishing. Looking at the map, there are still loads of sections of river I have yet to explore. I shall update you on what I find!