The River Frome in Dorset rises in Evershot and flows 30 miles eastwards before, like its neighbouring river the Piddle, entering Poole Harbour near Swanage. It is the most westerly of the classic English chalk streams and provides excellent fishing for trout and in the lower reaches, salmon and sea trout.
The upper river fishings, upstream of Dorchester, are wonderful for brown trout. The beat I fish (with variable success) is a couple of miles above this hut, where the fish are as wild as the unkempt banks, wily, and hard won. I have occasionally fished the beats lower downstream, above and below this wonderful hut, where the banks are well tended, though without pretention to the manicured perfection found elsewhere.
The river level changes abruptly at the hut, with a water-level control and an overflow that goes directly under the hut through two entries. Inside the hut, is it slightly strange to watch and hear the water passing underneath. The hut is a simple structure, its historic beams and brickwork more or less original.
The pastoral setting makes this stretch of the Frome a most pleasant place to be for a day. And if it the weather becomes adverse, there’s a simple and most attractive shelter from the elements.
I can’t remember when I last saw a Comma, but yesterday there was one fluttering around me as I fished on the Frome. I’d forgotten how comparatively large they are. I only had a tiny camera with me, one that doesn’t matter if it goes in the water. It’s for recording fish, should I ever catch one and have a free hand available as I remove the (barbless) hook and release the fish as quickly as possible. In practice, never.
There were wonderful damselflies – blue, turquoise, reddish and green – but it would have been a waste of time to photograph them. I also saw a white egret (quite common now in Dorset) and 4 kingfishers. Or more likely the same bird 4 times.
The sun is shining, the birds are twitterpating (©Disney), the trout season has opened. Also, the first swallows arrived on Tuesday, followed by the martins on Wednesday. These birds are already checking out the mud nests under the eaves that remain from last year.
The hedges are suddenly greening up and the grass is beginning to grow fast. The Alpacas, formerly the official lawnmowers for the paddock, have been banished to another field to give the ground a rest. That means resorting to the mechanical method for the first cut of the year.
Some creatures appear to have got Spring fever. The rabbits for a start, who are clearly ‘going at it’ for all they are worth. And the sheep over the road surprised me one evening when I opened the kitchen door (the notice on the gate is good for their self-esteem).
My first fishing of the season yesterday, on the River Piddle (as in Tolpuddle) – very pretty, pretty unproductive… Today on the River Frome, the swallows were skimming insects off the surface of the water. There were heron and egrets, and a pair of common sandpipers clearly looking for a suitable nesting site. It’s been a great Spring week.
The moon and stars have been wonderful all week. There have been plenty of moon photos around, pink or otherwise, but one evening Mars was gleaming brightly too. Only one shot was steady enough to use – at maximum zoom most of the images looked like squiggles.