Following the success of opening day I was on the starting blocks ready for day two. The question was, where do I go? With such an abundance of water to fish on the Isle of Man it's sometimes hard to decide. A friend of mine had reported on Facebook that he'd had a tough day on the Laxey River on opening day with only a single fish. That didn't sound right for the Laxey River which is one of the most prolific rivers on the Island. Decision made. I had to go and check it out.
As dry flies were on the menu for the Silverburn I thought it a good idea to set up the vice and create a couple of patterns for the Laxey. It's a little early for Hawthorn flies yet, but come the end of April the Laxey river will be alive with the big, gangly legged, flying monsters. I'm sure the trout in the Laxey would remember this event so a Hawthorn pattern never goes amiss. Both tied on Esoteric Dry Fly hooks. An extended micro chenille body with a black hackle. It doesn't get simpler than that. The other pattern is still easy to tie but with a little more to it.
The tail is deer hair which is tied in with black thread. The thread is brought forward in touching turns over the deer hair and forms the body. Returning the thread to the tail you catch in fine silver wire. The deer hair is then folded back to the tail where it is secured with open turns of black thread and then counter turns of the silver wire. Finish off with a badger hackle so you get a dense looking thorax with a halo of lighter hackle above. This has to be one of my favourite colours of hackle. Both patterns have the hackle trimmed beneath so they sit in the surface film.
The water in the Laxey was flowing crystal clear, although you probably can't tell from the picture above. The lower, town section has a lot of work on the left bank to protect the properties. This is the first of such reinforcement. It's not pretty but it has a deep run along it that always holds fish. I put on the Hawthorn and fished all the way up the run without a single look. Something not right here, perhaps my friend was right.
On went an olive caddis pattern and immediately I had a fish. I went back and fished through the run again. This time I took four fish from it. Amazing how a river can seem dead until you get the depth right.
Water flowing down the Laxey was certainly higher than I'd fished it previously. Not pushing too hard in the deeper sections but enough to make a difference where the fish were holding.
This picture really shows how clear the water was. The fish were there in the small pockets but you really needed to be accurate and fast or they rejected the fly before you had a chance to set the hook.
The Laxey has a variety of water, from rough boulders of the pocket water to smoother glides where there is deep water. Once you get to the old mill with the bridge over it you are into one of these calmer sections. I saw a fish rise in the middle of the pool. Off with the nymph and on with the dry. This time I'd thought I'd give my other pattern a swim. It sat perfectly in the water as it drifted for two seconds before it was engulfed.
This one was not getting off. With a deep golden colour to it's belly and in the fins the fish here really are precious. It was the first of many fish to be caught from this section of the river. I admit I spent quite a while enjoying the dry fly sport in this short stretch before moving on.
Who could resist these little fellas with golden tones? However, once you're in this section of the river there is no going back. You either have to push on through to the Laxey Woollen Mills bridge or turn round. There was no chance I was turning round. Nymphs for the pocket water, dries for the slower glides. Sorted! Now I could crack on and enjoy the fishing.
They are not all big fish but look at the size of the tail! It's huge in proportion to the body. Such is the way of the Laxey River fish. They'll give one heck of an account for themselves no matter how big they are.
The height of the retaining wall on the left bank in the final section is impressive. No chance you're climbing out here. The private land on the other bank gives you no chance of getting out either. Your only option is the side of the bridge up ahead.
Fortunately there is fantastic fishing to be had in this final section. Difficult, with the wall and trees, but rewarding. I was a little too tired to take full advantage of the opportunities this trip. Fifteen fish to the hand after an afternoon on the Laxey River. There was nothing to fear. There are still plenty of fish to catch in the Laxey river.
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