Gosh it’s been dry. Aside from the dew, which frosted last week, we haven’t had significant rainfall for weeks. Then, last night it finally came, and today has remained damp and dank – just as a Monday should be.

The rain has probably come a little late for the mushrooms. Normally by now, every jar and tupperware in the corner cupboard is crammed with dried ceps. This season has been quite different, and those few ceps that have braved the dust are getting battered by slugs as soon as the sun sinks.

Fly agaric (Amanita muscaria)

The chanterelles have been good, but on my local porcini patches the fly agarics are already trooping – and on these spots they normally wait until the ceps have marched their last.

The rivers will be welcoming the rain at least. The Stour has been as low as I have known it, but it has been amazing to cast in running water once again. After a summer of lethargy, my fishing has a purpose once more, and two trips in a week have seen me smiling.

The gudgeon have been voracious. Almost (almost…) something of a menace. It has been a bite a cast in every swim, with roach, dace and chublets grabbing the bait when the gudgeon aren’t looking, and even a few perch making their presence known.

Gudgeon (Gobio gobio)

The perch have been missing for some seasons on this particular stretch, but I caught four last week without even trying and though none were particularly large (all between 8 oz and slightly less than a pound) they were clean, fresh fish with buttered bellies and fins of crimson. And I lost a couple more that felt considerably larger, the second one, which came on dusk, thumping deep and heavy as only the big perch do.

I’ll be heading back soon, with a worm or two and a bigger hook. This rain might just get the bigger perch stirring….

Chris Yates with his first river perch of the season…..




  1. Always a pleasure to read your posts, particularly when I’m stuck in front of a monitor designing a magazine – but longing to get out for a wander. It’s been simply ages since I had a dangle for gubbies. Your photo reminded me of the many happy hours I’ve spent catching these lilac-hued beauties under the arches at Christian Malford.

  2. Kevin Parr says:

    Thank you muchly. They are such fabulous little fish. Incredibly solid and spirited. There are lots and lots on the Stour at the moment and a few seasons back there were barely an at all. Peaks and troughs – I shall definitely enjoy this peak….

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