Breathless at Block Eairy River
Block Eairy Reservoir is our highest reservoir on the Isle of Man. I had a report that there were fish in the river that feeds it so when I had a few hours I took the opportunity to see if I could catch some of them for myself. The river doesn't have a name on the map so I'm calling it Block Eairy River for easy of reference.
I parked up on the mountain road at the Mountain Box and walked down into the valley. The plan was to walk all the way to the reservoir and then fish my way back to the car. Plans are all very well and good and it didn't look too bad on the map or from the road. There were a surprising number of people about on the way down (camping in a small plantation) and walking round the reservoir. The walkers were gone by the time I got there.
At one point I had to cross the river and it looked really promising.
I didn't stop to fish but continued to the reservoir keeping away from the water so I didn't spook any fish I wanted to catch later. I spent a few minutes resting at the Reservoir while sorting out my Tenkara rod and line, selecting a pattern and just enjoying the quiet. It soon became aparent that fishing back up from the reservoir was going to be somewhat difficult.
There was some dense tree growth on the backs which totally masked the water. Coupled with very steep slippery banks into a deep rocky ravine made me more than a little nervous. I decided discretion being the better part of valour, climbed higher and went round the worst of it until I could get easy access back to the water again.
Fabulous looking water it is but I was a little confused because it was a muddy brown colour. We hadn't had any rain recently but the visibility in the deep water was very poor indeed. There was a lot of brown algae on the rocks on the bottom and I wonder if that was breaking away and colouring up the water?
There was no reaction to my usual nymphs and wets. No reaction to the dry. Such a fabulous pool surely had a fish in it somewhere? The pools kept coming. Many over 3 foot deep when suddenly there was a grab at the line.
Fabulous looking fish took a sunk black dry fly almost as soon as it hit the water. Fin perfect, fat and very dark. At last! I thought I had cracked the code for the water. With such a healthy fish here there must be more to be caught.
I can't tell you how good this water looks. Absolutely perfect for Tenkara with post and pools and cascades. The place should be full of fish but I didn't see another fish or get another take. I wonder if it was the brown algae putting them off? Perhaps earlier in the season when the water has been cleaned by the rain storms it will fish better?
There are more pictures in the Block Eairy Gallery of the water. I think this will have to be one for early next season.
Just in case you were thinking this is a great place to visit. Consider how remote the water is.
The Block Eairy River is in the valley in the left. The plantation in the distance is Tholt-e-will. It took 45 minutes to reach the reservoir and an hours and a half to walk back to the car from where the Millennium Way crosses the river at a small foot bridge. That is after two hours fishing. The plateau of this picture is deceptive. It gets very steep the nearer to the river you get. You are looking at a height difference of over 200m from the reservoir to the Mountain Box. It will leave you breathless over the very rough ground.
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