a fat 2 lbs Rye wild brown trout
|Rainfall in the Vale of York 2015
|Environment Agency gauge at Kilgram
The effect is obvious. This is what salmon fishing depression looks like - a straight and level line telling me that the Ure, in common with all the rivers in North East England is down on its bones. It's been like that for a month and looks set to stay that way. All we can hope for is an earlier onset of rain than last year, when the river didn't rise until 17th October.
|River Findhorn at Tomatin
3rd week September, 2002-2011
Average height and variation
All that said, we have to accept the variability of the natural world. In childhood my father impressed upon me that there was no point worrying about the things you can't change. However, for all the compensations of the trout and the garden (it's really beautiful this year) I miss the odd day out after salmon. I had a dream recently, almost certainly prompted by booking a week's fishing in Norway in 2016, in which I could actually sense the flexing of the butt of the Vision MAG in a perfect Single Spey cast on a crystal river. That must be the definition of salmon fixation, but perhaps that's what you expect from me. In any event the only perfect Single Spey I ever achieve is in my dreams!
But in all things there are reasons for optimism. Throughout history, from Nostrodamus via Malthus to the Club of Rome ("all the world's oil will run out on 17th February 1984") and today's gloomsters, the pessimists have all and always been wrong. It's easy to paint a rich and convincing picture of disaster and gloom, which through its vivid colour gains credibility and convinces people of its likelihood. The trouble is that the human fear of the downside far exceeds the attraction of the upside, so except when hysteria takes over - like in economic bubbles involving black tulips, South Sea spices, Victorian railway shares and post 1970 residential property - we tend to believe the prophets of doom. But for my part, I'm an optimist: it's hard to be a salmon fisherman without optimism.