THE trout fishing season is coming to an end on the River Devon, the evenings are perceptibly shorter but the fish are still active and snap eagerly at a well-presented fly.

Angling is such a satisfying way of getting close to nature and for many years blissful happiness for me was wading in the middle of my beloved River Devon and with a flick of the wrist send forth my fly-line in a gentle unfurling arc.

I had become part of the river, feeling the water's pull around my boots, aware of its power and strength, and its gentler side too.

Then the rod bends and the line tightens; a trout has taken!

More times than not, it would be a small fish, perhaps half-a-pound, but the beauty and intensity of pattern inscribed upon these little gems never failed to astound.

The brown trout is surely one of the biggest misnomers of them all; a much more appropriate name would be golden, red-speckled trout, or burnished copper trout, or something in that vein, for they are a shimmering concoction of every hue imaginable.

But what I admire most about trout is their ability to thrive in the smallest burn or the highest mountain tarn.

They are such adaptable fish and no barrier seems insurmountable and there are trout, for example, in the Burn of Sorrow above Castle Campbell in the Ochils, which are completely isolated from the rest of the river system by tumbling waterfalls.

They are small fish but are still able to reproduce and ensure a self-sustaining population.

Then, of course, there are sea trout, the same species as the brown but instead adopting a different lifestyle by spending some of their time in the sea before returning to our rivers to spawn.

The adults are often silvery in colour, a bit like a salmon, but the young ones, or finnock as they are known, are speckled and look similar to a brownie.

Mature sea trout often feed in the River Devon at night, presenting a very special challenge for fishermen.

The great angler Hugh Falkus enthused about night fly fishing for these flashing bars of silver, describing it thus: "Of all fish and fishing this for me is the very top."

He was surely right, fly fishing in the dark, the ultimate angling skill and so difficult when you can hardly discern your cast. But imagine the excitement when a fish takes the fly!

And how does a trout see that fly in the dark swirling water?

They must have the most incredible vision, tuned to the slightest movement or glimmer.

Trout are such fascinating fish, ubiquitous in nature and beautiful by design.