Sunday, 3 February 2013

The Lady of the Stream by Lamia textor
Grayling, "Thymalus thymalus". River Don South Yorkshire 
It's difficult to write an ongoing blog in winter that's predominantly about insects as they have by and large to be retrospective as very few are around. I don't get out much, probably doing what the majority of working people are are doing at the moment, leaving for work in the dark and returning from work in the dark. This week proved no exception. However I did manage to escape and get into the "wild" yesterday.  Up at 6.30am 50 miles up the M1 to Sheffield, pick my son up, who has just completed a few university examinations and needed a day out, and by the banks of the River Don, once one of the countries most polluted rivers.  The purpose to catch, what in my opinion is the UK's most beautiful fish, the Grayling.  Known as the Lady of the Stream it is an inhabitant of clear fast running unpolluted water, which nowadays includes the Don.   Grayling are a member of the salmon family possessing an adipose fin, a small rubbery fin positioned between the dorsal and caudal fins.  In Britain a good sized Grayling is about 10 ounce to a pound in weight.  

We had the river to ourselves apart from a "pod" of Canoes that made a brief appearance.  Birds noted included a couple of Dipper and Gray wagtail, whilst Nuthatch and Willow Tit were calling in the surrounding woods.  And we caught a few Grayling and Brown Trout as well, no monsters but  a couple of dozen fish later my yearly reaquaintance with the lady of the stream satisfied we both retired to the pub, a pint in the Kelham Island and a pint in the Fat Cats, in my opinion two of the best pubs in the World.  If you're in Sheffield pay them a visit.  


  1. If anybody is interested, and ever in Bakewell (Derbyshire), there is a small cut of shallow water between the A6 and main River Wye, by the fire station, and here you can watch grayling at close quarters. Beautiful fish!

  2. Always fancy fishing th eWye, but a little too expensive. The Don is free fishing, not as beautiful as the Wye, but there is something very pleasing about catching in a post industrial landscape.

  3. Hi - do you have any information on lamprey in Notts? I was walking in Derbyshire next to the Derwent and came across a brook where Brook Lamprey breed. I'm going back in March to try to see them when they should go to spawn but was wondering if there is anything known about suitable waters around Notts. They seem to be quite a fascinating species. Thanks!