Natural Eden Images Nature Photography by Stephen James Thompson
Natural Eden Images Nature Photography by Stephen James Thompson
Devon shells, once the most used Lure on the Eden

Eden Salmon Fishing in images

From the fast flowing streams to the deep slow pools, these images show some of the best Salmon water on the lower Eden where the carlisle Angling Association controls the Fishing.Also added are odd images of past success had by the Photographer.Most of these images are photostats taken from old albums that i have built up over more than twenty years.

A May afternoon at the "Neck" NB

The above image shows the pool below the old Waverely bridge behind the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle.A narrow Gut known as the "Neck", flows into fast rapids of the "Bay". This stretch of water was famous for holding large numbers of Spring Salmon at the start of the season on the 15th January.

Solway Bound

Taken from the new Western Bypass bridge, shortly after construction. This view of the Eden shows the high wooded bank that leads to Grinsdale village.Directly below the bridge is the "Fence End" one of the best pools for Salmon on the Eden.

A Heron grabs a Salmon Smolt

Its not only the Anglers who catch there share of fish from the Eden, as there is always a patient Heron waiting to pounce, or an elusive Otter swiming through the pools searching for Eels and small fish.

The Fence End on a misty early Autumn morning

With its sandstone ledges that shelve out from the Carlisle side of the River, the Fence End was always a popular cast for the Carlisle Angler.Once a peaceful remote stretch downstream from the small village of Stainton , it now has the Byepass road spanning over the water here, which at certain times of day sees a large amount of noisey traffic hertling across its length.The Fence is a haven for wildlife , with the common sight of a Kingfisher, and Kestrels and many other Birds and Mammals.It wasnt an uncommon sight to see a Roe Deer or two crossing the River towards grinsdale a few years back. 

An Irish Shrimp pattern in the mouth of a Salmon taken at the Fence End

These days the Fly is becoming a very popular method on the Eden, as it is throughout the country.In the old days Spinning was always the prefered method with the Devon Minnow being a firm favourite.Although spinning can be a deadly method in the right water, all the diffrent techniques come into there own when the conditions permit.

The Bonemill NB

The Bonemill, named after the mill that once stood here in the early 1800s, was once a real good stream for Salmon particularly in the 1950s and 60s when there was a prolific run of Spring Salmon entering the System each Season.The large build up of Salmon in this pool was largely helped by warm water that was channeled into the River from the Powerstation.During the months of January and Febuary the water in the river would be very cold which makes the Salmon very lethargic but once they entered the Bonemill with its warmer temperature it would make the fish hang around , making them more suceptable to being caught by the Carlisle Angler.Such was the holding power of the warm water and the large volume of fish and Anglers in these Glory days that up to twenty fish could be taken on the opening day of the season. 

A hard frost in the Bonemill

Sadly the Bonemill is no longer the stream it was, attempts to deepen the stream back in the early 90s did little to improve it.One of the finest Salmon recorded from this pool was a 32lb fish back in 1966, it was a sparkling Springer taken in mid March.Its said that so great was the anticipation of hooking a large fish in front of the arch of the North British Railway Bridge, that it caused the Angler to shake with adrenilin as his lure swung in front of the lie.Once a fish was hooked in front of the Bridge it was often necesary to walk the fish upstream like a dog on a lead in order to prevent the fish darting downstream below the bridge.In the event of a fish passing through the arch a fellow angler would cut the line and re tie it to his own tackle and hand the rod to the lucky Fisher who was playing his fish. 

The Cally stream

Another stream on the Carlisle Angling Association water is the Cally stream "Cally" being short for Caledonian, due to the Railway bridge that crosses this stretch of water on its Route to Scotland.For many years Swans would nest on the Aptly named Swan island, a steep gravel bar that sits in the river on one side of the stream.

A large Salmon leaps as it reaches Holmehead Bay in the River Caldew

Another stretch of the Carlisle water is the Giants Grave, this pool lies below the point where the Caldew enters the Eden after its relativly short flow from the high tops of Mungrisedale.The Giants often holds a good number of Caldew fish that wait to run there River of Birth.

The Giants Grave
a Caldew Grilse powers up the shallow water of his home River

Down at Grinsdale, a small village on the outskirts of Carlisle is the Kirkpot.The Kirkpot is a deep hole below the Village church, this pool can be a very prolific stretch in the Backend, especially after a spell of dry weather when the River is low and the numbers of Fish are building up in the solway, waiting for freshwater to help push them upstream.

A frozen Kirkpot during the deep freeze of 2010

An effective method in the Kirkpot is the shrimp, which can be delicatley presented to the fish in the gentle flow of a low water, with it being best float fished.The Shrimp dyed either Red or Purple and mounted through a pin with treble hooks added, can at times be irresistable to a Salmon.This bait seems to stirr the Fish possibly due to the smell of the bait and its life like appearance as it is trotted downstream towards the resting Salmon.

A pair of Autumn run Fish taken by the Photographer on Shrimp 2002

The Eden system once had noteable runs of Seatrout, but the Eden was always over shadowed by the Border Esk for its Seatrout, with the Esk having prolific runs. Nevertheless the Eden could throw a good number of these enigmatic Fish as they run into the river from May onwards.Long gone are the days when bus loads of Coarse Anglers made the jearney up from Lancasher and Yorkshire to fish for the huge numbers of Dace and Chub that once filled the River, with the disapearance of the Dace between the late eighties and,  early nineties, and followed by the slower loss of chub, the Coarse Anglers turned there back on the river.At the end of the 1990s the chub seemed to be replaced by an upsurge of Grayling, which seem to keep growing in numbers throughout the Eden system. 

A Canada Goose stands on the island at the Cally stream

The Salmon are just one of the many different species of wildlife that can be seen in and alongside the River when either Fishing or walking alongside the water.

A Sanpiper stands beside the River in early Spring
A Kestrel hovers above the field at the Fence End
Fishing at the Fence, pensioners bank (note the swirl of a Salmon)
Stephen Thompson with a 12lb Summer Salmon taken from the Longpool close to the M6 Bridge 2011
Where the Caldew meets the Eden minus 10 degrees

The river Caldew sees a good run of Salmon each season, moving up out of the Eden with a lift of water.Once the migrating fish reach Holmehead Bay, a large weir built for the industrial factory, now gone, they then can go no further.This high weir stops the Salmon until the Environment Agency staff come to open a gate at the side of the weir, to let the fish pass.Fish that give up trying to leap the fall drop back and spawn further downstream.This River has seen further decline in the last three seasons due to a combination of factors.

A Grilse with long tailed lice

Once the first flood in mid summer has started to fall and the colour has thinned out the grilse start to make there way upstream out of the Solway.Carrying long tailed lice these small torpedo shaped Fish, which average 5-6lb, race upstream like a bullet from a gun.These gleaming silver fish often leap from the water as they enter the pools in the lower Eden, charging over shallow streams they scarr there pearl white bellies on the gravel bed.

A typical Eden Grilse taken by the Photographer on fly 2012

The next set of images show some of the anglers of the Carlisle angling association.These are images ive taken in the past and il add a few through the coming season of present day anglers.

an angler flyfishing the bay at the NB on a late July evening circa 1999

Salmon Season 2014...

the next set of images will be from the current Salmon season 2014 showing the season as it develops ( if it does much!! ) I aim to capture images of salmon leaping in the pools along with Anglers fishing and the netsmen of the Solway.

the Photographers first fish of the season 2014

The spring fishing in 2014 was poor,with a lot of high waters i personally didnt fish at all in the spring.The fishing in June and July was poor as really low water made it hard going with very few fish entering the system.August has picked up with good numbers of fish moving upstream with fresh water in the river i made a start to my season on the 7th August with a 9lb fish pictured above.The first week of August was to be the only week that decent numbers of fish entered the river as the rest of the season saw long periods of low water and a distinct lack of Salmon and Grilse moving.Personally i only fished on about 3 occasions between late August and the end of the season as it was that poor there was no insentive to have a go! so unfortunatly with a lack of Anglers on the water and very few Salmon i didnt manage to gather many images in this field! but heres a couple from late August and the last day of the season...

Raymond Temple at the Pumphouse stream late August 2014

Raymond fishing a Copper bait down the Pumphouse in the low water of late August.

The scene of the last day at the Fence End in the lower Eden
Bob Robinson puts a line out across the top of the Fence End

Bob on his final day of 2014 on the river at the Fence which saw another poor day on the river with nothing cought and barley a fish seen.