The stream, the mayfly and the brown trout

I recently visited the spectacular Lathkill National Nature Reserve in the Derbyshire Dales in England. I was there conducting fieldwork for my last book (England) in The Forest Guide series publishing with Bloomsbury Wildlife. The woodland is terribly afflicted with ash dieback but nonetheless still full of birdsong, fluttering butterflies, and darting dragonflies.

The River Lathkill is a beautiful watercourse that flows through a steep-sided valley. Its waters are crystal clear. I stopped to watch a pair of mallards with a waddle of ducklings feeding on pondweed when I noticed several brown trout hiding under the trailing river vegetation.

I switched from my landscape gear to a telephoto lens hoping to capture a good image of one particularly large wild brown trout. I snapped a series of photos as it swam by and then rose to a mayfly which had just splashed onto the slow-flowing water. I was pleased with how these images came out and thought they’d be fun to make into a short film.

The fish is quite clearly visible below the surface, including its beautiful red and black spotted flanks. When it rises to the fly and breaks the surface of the water, its head is super sharp, revealing its eyes and teeth in fine detail. I also love the colours of the water and riverbed, and the abstract ripples of the water.

Read more about The Forest Guide series.

Visit the government’s Lathkill National Nature Reserve page.

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