The weather forecast for yesterday stated that there was a 100% chance of rain, which is a pretty lousy forecast in most peoples´ books. Of course, if you wanted rain this would have been about as good a forecast as you could possibly hope for.

Personally I don´t mind the rain one bit. I´m Irish, which means that an occasional drenching is part of my cultural heritage, like drinking Guinness. So yesterday I headed off to the river knowing that I had a pretty good chance of getting soaked but it was not so much how the rain might affect me that I was thinking about, but how it would affect the river and, indirectly, the fish.

Fish don´t mind rain one bit. It would take a hell of a rain shower to make them wetter than they already are. But the changes in water level and colour do seem to affect the fish greatly and I am always curious to see how they respond. With water levels rising, the gypsy barbel are keen to move around. They have a chance to shake off the “cabin fever” which attends becoming constrained in low flows and being forced to sulk in deeper pools. Increased flows seem to encourage them to disperse and spread their wings.

In fishing terms, this is a mixed blessing. The fish are mobile and, particularly when levels are falling, they may be keen to feed. But they may need to be located once again and the increased turbidity doesn´t make this task any easier.

Flopping around on muddy riverbanks in the rain may not be everyone´s cup of tea but it certainly beats repainting bedroom walls, which was the alternative plan my wife had for me, if I had not made a clean break from the house.

The fish were certainly in evidence but they had little interest in anything I had to offer them. They were often tight to the riverbank, within inches, and that complicated things a little. The water was carrying colour too and so the fish were simply ghosting dark shapes without distinct form unless they presented a little of themselves, usually a tail, within the top inch or two of the surface.

Sometimes you can be lucky and pitch a nymph in front of a gliding blur like this, lift the rod to find that your fly had been taken but this little ruse did not pay off yesterday. I did manage to hook a pretty good fish in the very shallow water where a stream was swallowed up by a pool, but it broke me.

The heavens opened as I was driving home. Lightning sheets turned the night into day and the thunder shook even the mountains. The mud that was thrown over the car as I drove it through rutted unsealed dirt tracks was washed away and the old car, when it was finally parked outside the gate looked as though it had been born again.

One benefit of rain is that sometimes the river becomes unfishable. This can be a good time to tie up a few flies for when things get better.

One benefit of rain is that sometimes the river becomes unfishable. This can be a good time to tie up a few flies for when things get better. I tie a few heavier nymphs now to help get the fly deeper in increased flows.