Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A fickle April

There are many sayings about the changeable month of April and it didn't disappoint this year. It certainly was a fickle month. We had rain, hail, snow, and horrible easterly winds. But we also had some great hatches.

March Browns and Large dark Olives continued to hatch in the early part of the Month. The Grannom came early and lingered on for about three weeks in the changeable conditions. We had falls of Black Gnat and beetles. Then at the end of the month we saw the arrival of Olive Uprights and Iron Blue duns. And on top of all that we had a few fish midging in late April sunshine!

Mike is into a fish on a snowy day

Mike joined me at the start of the month and he had three very different days. On his first day we had sunshine (which our spring flies don't like). So there was very little fly, apart from a few March Browns, and the river was dead. On his second day we woke to snow. The fields were white and it was bitterly cold. Mike was rather pessimistic about our chances, but I reminded him that it was fishing and you can never tell, as fishermen we have to remain optimistic. As it turned out he has his best day, with good numbers of fish reacting positively to his offerings throughout the day! Day three was challenging with very strong ESE winds and sunny intervals. But, with a positive attitude following day two's success, Mike worked hard and managed to get some action on his final day.

Changeable weather for Mike but good sport

Toby with his first fish from a northern river

April was a bad month for winds. They were blasting in from the East most days and this slowed hatches. Luckily this was not the case for Toby's visit, when we had two flushes of fly (lunchtime and late afternoon). Each flush perked the fish up and he got some action during each.

The Grannom arrived

The Grannom arrived early again this year. That's the second year on the trot that they've been a couple of weeks early. Our daytime sedge is a sun lover and we didn't get a lot of sun, so the changeable conditions meant that we didn't see them on a daily basis like we often do. But when we did get the sun they were out in their thousands! 

Steve plays a nice fish

Strong easterly winds on Steve's day prompted a quick rethink and change of venue to a more sheltered spot. It proved a good move. It was more comfortable fishing for Steve, and we found a few feeding fish.

A nice fish for Steve

The conditions remained changeable. We had bitterly cold easterlies and spells of warm sunshine. For those that were in the right place at the right time we saw very good falls of Black Gnat and Beetles, with fish gorging on both. Towards the end of the month we started to see hatches of Iron Blue duns and Olive Uprights. Iron Blues are definitely not sun lovers, so the changeable conditions suited them and we had a few days when we had very good hatches.

A fish during a good hatch of Iron Blue Dun

By the end of the month the Grannom had petered out and sunny weather put paid to any chance of Iron Blue duns and Olive Upright (although more were still to come in May). A few fish still fed in the late April sunshine but pickings were slim and those that did feed turned to the midge. And suitably sized patterns did produce some action....

A midge feeder on a sunny April day

Here we go again!

Another trout season in Eden kicked off on March 15th. Strong winds and heavy overnight rain meant that opening day was a bit of a washout - then Storm Hannah hit us on the 16th!

A nice fish to start the season

March Browns were hatching

The river was dropping and fishable by the 19th and my season started well with a 3lbs 5oz beauty that was feeding on March Browns. Early season hatches of our spring flies - March Browns and Large Dark Olives -  were short-lived affairs, often as short as 25 minutes, and it was often a case of being in the right place at the right time.

A nice fish to the March Brown emerger

Some fish preferred the emerger

Strong easterly winds made life difficult on some days, but stunted hatches of March Browns and Large Dark Olives continued. Although fish seemed reluctant to feed in numbers. During one hatch I only came across four 'oncers' but they rose within range and I managed to cover all four with a March Brown emerger (, and three came to the net! That seemed to be the pattern in the early days of the season - a hatch was needed to get a few fish on the feed, sometimes very few, and all was quiet preceding and following the hatch.

Large Dark Olives had fish on the feed

Unsettled weather continued for the remainder of March and river levels fluctuated. Large Dark Olives and March Browns hatched simultaneously and both species tempted fish to feed.

Fish on Midge at the month end

The challenge some days was 'what were they on' Sunny intervals on the final day of the month had fish on both species and even the odd one sipping on midge. That day I was forced to ring the changes and fish came to imitations of all three!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

September and the end of another season in Eden

The seasons seem to fly over nowadays and the final month came around faster than I would have liked. But - despite changeable conditions - we finished 2018 on a high. The month saw a mix of newcomers and re-visits to Eden, our rivers provided most with some action, and I managed a Personal Best!

Colin is into a fish on a sunny day in Eden

The weather and river levels were quite settled during the first ten days of the month. Hatches were sparse and rising fish were at a premium, hunting with various sub-surface offerings produced action for most. Colin was hoping for some dry-fly sport on his day, but brilliant sunshine and no fly put paid to that! It was a good opportunity to learn some nymphing techniques though and he did manage to catch and lose a few on a variety of different weight and size of nymphs.

Nate was fly fishing the UK for the first time

Rain on the 10th brought our rivers up, but  - although still a touch coloured - they were fine for Nate and Sam's first experience of fly fishing in the UK. The newlyweds were over from Wyoming on their honeymoon. I was hoping that the river would perform and give them a day to remember. It didn't disappoint, we rang the changes throughout the day, fine-tuned some casting, and both managed to get their first (plus others) UK fish.

Sam with her first UK Brown Trout

A spell of rain and fluctuating levels, culminating in a big lift on the 21st - Eden was up approximately 2.5 metres -  meant that we lost a few days during the middle of the month. All was settling back nicely by the 23rd ( in some areas) and we managed to fish the final seven days of September. 

Some decent fish were about in September

The big lift on the 21st seemed to perk the fish up and hunting around produced a few nice specimens, including an Eden personal best (4lbs 13ozs) for me.

A PB from our great Eden system!

A beautiful Eden fish is about to be returned

Mike had an action packed week

Mike joined me for the final week of the season and he enjoyed some good sport. We moved around and fished somewhere different on each of his days. Employing a variety of techniques ensured some action on each day, with decent numbers caught, lost and missed. He managed a river PB at 2lbs 14ozs, had one more at 2lbs 3ozs and a few around 1lbs 8ozs - all good fish for the Eden system, so he enjoyed a very positive end to his 2018 trout season!

Mike shows off his final fish of 2018

I managed to end my season by fishing the final day. Conditions were challenging with strong winds and very heavy showers mixed with brilliant sunshine. Fish were keeping their heads down. I saw two oncers stick their nebs out all day, so it was sub-surface fishing to end my season. It didn't disappoint though and I managed so get some action - although it wouldn't have disappointed if I hadn't, any day on the river is a good day, whether I catch or not! I did manage to get hold of what I thought was going to be a final day leviathan - that was before I spotted it and saw that a not-so silver tourist (salmon) had taking a liking for my nymph.

A not-so-silver tourist

So that's another trout season over. It's been a challenging one to say the least. We seem to have had it all this year: water temperatures as low as 4.5°C and as high as 22°C; heavy rain and Eden up to 3.5m. These extremes are certainly not conducive to good fishing, so lets hope for better in 2019! But it's grayling time now, so hopefully we'll have a good winter as we pursue our 'Lady of the Stream'

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Rain at last!

The long overdue rains arrived in August. River levels fluctuated during the second half of the month and we had some great fishing!
The water temperature was slow to drop, but the fresh water and tinge of colour certainly woke the fish up. They still had their moments when they refused to 'play ball' but, on the whole, they responded positively to most of our offerings - nymphs, spiders and dries.

A first Eden trout for Tony

The first decent flush of water came after heavy rain on the 15th and the river rose approximately 1.4 metres that evening. Two days later it was still carrying colour, but dropping back nicely for Tony and Sandy's first visit to the area. The fish were slow to adjust to the changes, but both managed a fair amount of action on their day.

A session on the dries before being washed off!

More rain on the 18th brought the river up again. The river was high, dirty and unfishable by mid-afternoon the following day. I was washed off, but not before I managed a very positive session. I was lucky to find fish sipping midge on the flats and they responded very well to my offerings before the water got too dirty and they switched off....

Chris is into his first of the day

The rivers were back to a good level for Chris. The remit was to explore different waters and look at different techniques for different situations , so we opted to split the day and fish two rivers. Alternating techniques ensured that Chris had action at both venues.

A beautiful Eden trout in August

My fishing has been severely curtailed during one of our hottest and driest summers on record, so I was determined to take advantage of the extra water. When I wasn't guiding, I was fishing! The levels continued to fluctuate, the river remained coloured - but it was good colour - and the fish, like me, took advantage of the conditions and  they seemed to be feeding hard. I had some very productive sessions with a few superb trout falling to my offerings. Fish midged the flats, fed on falls of  Fever flies and, when they weren't rising, responded positively to sub-surface offerings.

A midge sipper!

Another beautiful Eden Brown Trout

Peter with his first fly-caught Brown trout

Peter joined me for his first taste of fly fishing. We looked at the gear, casting etc. and then fished. The larger fish were not out to play, but Peter managed to have a very positive debut, with a number of smaller fish falling to his flies. I later heard from him to say that he'd been to our local shop, John Norris, to get kitted up. So hopefully he'll have many years of enjoyment from our great sport!

Video - 2lbs 5ozs, quick photo and released

Robert with a fish on his latest visit to Eden

My final client of August was Robert. It was great to see him again! The last time we met was in 2014. On that occasion Robert had what I often describe to clients as one of our 'red letter days' The fish fed hard throughout the session and Robert finished the day with a very high number of fish. On this occasion they didn't feed quite so hard, but Robert worked hard. We varied techniques throughout the session and he got a fair bit of action, with fish caught, lost and landed. Albeit nowhere near as much as on his first Eden experience. But, the conditions were completely different and, I guess, that's fishing! There's no guarantees....