Thursday, December 5, 2019

Another season draws to a close.

September began the way that August ended, in fact it seems to have been the pattern for the whole of our 2019 summer: a series of wet fronts blowing in from the west!
We had a high river on the 1st, cold winds and showers on the 2nd and a rising river on the 4th! But it wasn't all doom and gloom. Fish are resilient creatures and they seem to be capable of acclimatising to, and living with, whatever the elements - within reason - throws at them. This year, despite unseasonably low temperatures and fluctuating river levels, has - in my opinion - been the best year on our rivers since the devastating floods of 2015 swept through our region. The trout have been back in good numbers and a broad range of sizes. Fly hatches have been excellent at times. The Blue Winged Olive hatches were tremendous this year - we had great hatches back in the 70's, 80's and early 90's but I think these were the best that I can remember!

David draws a fish to the net

As already mentioned: the first week of the month followed the unsettled pattern. David had showers, rain, cold winds and a rising river during his few days in Eden. But, by varying techniques to suit the conditions, he had a relatively productive time. And that can be the secret to success sometimes - have a variety of techniques at your disposal and learn how and when to use them.

David with a nice trout

Mike joined me to look at various nymphing techniques. The river was carrying colour, but fish fed. We looked at Upstream nymph, Czech nymph, French leaders and even managed to squeeze in a bit of North Country spider fishing. A few fish obliged, we managed to get some action to each discipline and Mike caught his personal best for the river with a trout that weighed in at 2lbs 10ozs!

A cracking fish for Mike!

Ian into a fish in Eden

Mark scored on the nymph!

The second week of the month brought more rain and rising rivers and a few days of guiding/tuition were lost to the elements. Luckily the weather and river settled by the 12th and we got back to fishing. The 13th was lucky for Ian and he managed to christened his new gear on a couple of fish. Mark had a positive Eden debut and got some action to the nymph after we'd done a bit of fine-tuning. 

Mike is ready with the net!

Mike was up for his latest visit to Cumbria, he's become quite an accomplished river-man over the years that we've fished together and a relatively full Eden wasn't as much of a challenge that it would have been when we first met. He can normally cope with anything that I throw at him nowadays, so we mixed it up a bit to cope with different depth, current velocities etc. and Mike was rewarded with a relatively good number of late-season trout.

The final fish, on the final day, of the 2019 trout season

The final week of the season was a bit of a challenge with intermittent spells of rain and fluctuating levels. A couple of days of tuition were lost, but I managed to scratch around and find some fishable water most days. I thought my season was over on the 27th of the month: with a rising river and a wet weekend forecast I thought that was it - season done. But temptation got the better of me; I had to fish the final day; there wasn't a lot to go at but a hunch paid off and I managed to fish the final afternoon of the season and finished it off with my last trout of 2019 - a beauty that hit the scales at 1lbs 9ozs.

2019 has been a really positive season. There were definite signs that the river is recovering from the floods of 2015. Trout were back in good numbers and we had some great hatches, so let's hope that this positivity carries into 2020 and beyond. Unfortunately I can't say the same for the Grayling yet. They don't appear to be back in the numbers that we had pre 2015; but I'll be out in search of them this winter, so we'll see....

Sunday, September 22, 2019

A soggy August!

August was a wet month in Eden! River levels were up and down throughout the month, but we were lucky. We didn't lose many days on the river and when we did, our local lakes provided a good back-up.

After a big lift at the end of July our rivers were out on the first day of the month, but they quickly settled and fished from the 2nd, and the fish fed well!

Fish fed well when the river settled

Another spell of heavy rain on the 9th saw a 2 metre lift in some areas and they were blown-out for four days. Although still a touch on the high side, they were back down to a fishable level for Matt and Tiger's visit. The river performed well for the guys, they both fished well and their efforts were rewarded with a number of fish on their day in Eden!

Matt plays a fish!

Tiger got some action on Eden!

Our local stillwaters are often a good alternative when the rivers are high - confirmed by two successful days during another unsettled spell....The fish were up at the surface gulping down a mix of Fever fly and midge, and we had two productive sessions presenting a selection of dries.

Tolu is happy with her first Rainbow trout!

Paul is into a fish!

Paul with his first Rainbow

A lively rainbow comes to the net!

Ready with the net!

We had a settled spell during the final week of the month, which worked well for Jonny's first attempt at fly-fishing. He came for one of my 'Taster days' and we had what I class as the 'perfect scenario'. We looked at the gear - what we use and how it works, casting with a fly rod, reading the water etc. and then we fished. Jonny went on to finish the day with his first trout and his first grayling!

Jonny plays a grayling

Despite two very different days - one calm and fine, the other wet and windy - the river performed well for another two first-timers to Eden. Danielle, who was new to fly-fishing, and her husband Pete, a more experience angler, both caught a number of fish on their days....

Danielle shows off one of her fish

Pete is into a fish!

So although August in Eden was a wet one: the fish did respond well to the conditions and fed well when we did get on the river. September is the last month of our 2019 trout season. So let's hope that the weather, and fishing, gods smile on us and we have a positive end to our season!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

July in Eden

July was a drier month in Eden. The rivers dropped back and daytime sport was a bit more challenging at times. But, all - I hope - enjoyed it and it was great to welcome a few to Eden who were having their first taste of fly fishing.

Mike is into the first fish of his latest visit!

Mike resorted to the French leader on his latest visit to Eden. Although sport was not as prolific as it had been on his previous visit in April, he still fished the technique with great skill and got some reward for his efforts.

The warmer weather and lower river suited our evening sport and we had some good late evening hatches. Caenis and midge tempted fish to the surface early evening, before the sedge made their typical short-lived appearance to turn the fish on for their final feed of the day as the light faded.

Evening sport was good at times

Mark with a fish on his first visit to Eden

It's great to see lots of first-time visitors to Eden. One of the latest was Mark and it turned out to be a very positive day of firsts for him: his first visit to our great river; his first British brown trout; his first British Grayling and nearly his first Salmon! We were both surprised when a silver-tourist of about 7 pounds took his size 14 nymph and tore off across the river like an express train. A mighty fight ensued with the great fish motoring up and down the river taking Mark down to his backing three times before managing to dispose of the hook!

Mark is into a Salmon!

The end  of the month saw a return to wet weather. Heavy rain on the 22nd  brought a rise in levels and they continued to fluctuate for the remainder of the month. As is usual, once the fish acclimatised to the changeable conditions they fed well and we had some great sport and good catches during the final few days of the July!

A wet end to the month livened things up!

Monday, August 5, 2019

June was a great month in Eden!

June was a great month in Eden! May's unsettled weather continued into June, the river held at a good level throughout most of the month and we had the best hatches of Blue Winged Olive that I've seen for many years!

Hakan worked the upstream nymph to good effect

Rain at the end of May brought our rivers up, but they settled at a nice level to produce the opportunity of good sport during the first few days of June. 
Daytime hatches were pretty sparse and sub-surface offerings in their various forms dominated our approach! It was certainly the case for Hakan on his first visit to Eden, but it was an opportunity to introduce him to a technique that he wasn't familiar with - upstream nymphing - which he picked up well and his efforts were rewarded with some action.

A great start to Trigg's first taste of Eden

It wasn't all about dredging the depths with nymphs though and our 'North country spiders' produced the goods on occasions too. Trigg was over from the US and after a short demonstration of how we fish what his fellow countrymen more commonly term 'Soft hackles' he was soon into his first British brown trout! 

Steve into his first lake trout

As mentioned in the May blog: I have seen really positive signs that our river trout population is recovering from the devastating floods of 2015 and it seems to be the same for our lakes too. Steve stopped off on route to a loch fishing holiday in Scotland. The remit was to work on his casting and look at lake/loch techniques. After spending the morning on casting, it was time to fish and the Mayfly (Ephemerella Danica) began to hatch right on cue. The hatch brought the fish on and it was really positive to see good numbers of fish taking advantage. It was also a great opportunity to set up a 'lake rig' with Mayfly imitations and look at presentation, retrieve rates etc. - and Steve's hard work was rewarded....

A lake trout for Charlie

Our 'true' Mayfly made an appearance for Matt and Charlie's day in the lakes, and so did the fish, with a few responding positively to their offerings and both brought fish to the boat.

Matt is into a fish and it's gone under the boat!

Day two and another nice fish for Charlie

Day two saw Matt and Charlie having a taste of our rivers. Overnight rain had put some fresh water in and they were still rising slightly, but a few fish fed and Charlie finished the day with the best fish of the trip!

Success on the'French leader' for Phil

The middle of the month brought another spell of heavy rain and one gauge on the middle to upper Eden showed that the river peaked at 1.31 metres (approx 0.9m up on normal) on the 14th. The extra water brought more tolerable temperatures, our rivers carried a tinge of colour for much of the remainder of June and our trout remained active. Many days saw fish confidently midging the flats - even in relatively bright conditions!
Most who joined me for a day on the river had sport: including Phil who worked on his 'French nymphing' with positive results; Ed, who got his rewards after some good work with the nymph and Bill, who fished the final day of the month and topped off his first taste of Eden with some action....

Ed with a nice fish in a sunny Eden

Bill is into a fish!