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!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

A Joyful May

May was a very changeable month, but we had some great sport with most Eden Angler clients seeing action on their days out.

The month started with cloudy days and cold Northerly winds. The fly weren't put off though and we had some great hatches of Iron Blue Dun and Olive Upright. Fish were on both species and some days produced good sport to the dry fly and spiders.
We also saw really positive signs that our rivers are recovering from the massive and extremely damaging floods that swept through our region in 2015. There definitely seems to be more fish about this year, fish between 8 and 12 inches (20-30cm) that have been in relatively short supply over recent years! Which bodes well for the future.

Colin with a beautiful lake trout

Suitable weather is critical for productive days on our lakes. It's been hard to come by with this years changeable weather and high winds, but everything fell right for Colin's visit. The day started with a good fish and although sport wasn't prolific, good fishing ensured that Colin ended the day with a reasonable number of fish.

A river Brown Trout for Colin

Rain coloured the river towards the end of the second week of May and the slight drop in water temperature slowed hatches for a couple of days. But fish still fed and a change to sub-surface tactics still produced action. Tim came to work on the dry fly: tactics and fly selection. The surface sport was slow for his day. So after covering what he came to do, we changed to presenting a sub-surface imitation, which ensured he finished the session with a few bends in his rod.

Tim draws a fish to the net

Sunshine hit the region on the 12th and we had 12 days of summer-like weather. The Iron Blue duns and Olive Uprights petered out. Our fish turned their attention to the midge and the many Aphids that were falling to the water, and we enjoyed some great sport to dry imitations of these tiny morsels.
It wasn't all about small stuff though. Mayfly hatches seem to get better with each year on our rivers and this year was no exception. Yellow May Duns also hatched and we had days when fish were on both or either of these larger upwings.

Ollie tempted a fish with his Midge imitation

Mike into a fish on his debut

Mike with a fish to a North Country Spider

Jason into a fish in Cumbrian sunshine

The final week of the month saw a return to unsettled conditions and  a welcome lift in levels. The lift was slight, only about 6 inches (15cm), but it was welcome as the warm spell had meant that weed growth was becoming prolific, and a nuisance, in some areas and surface scum was building and becoming an issue.
The extra water freshened things up after the warm spell and fish reacted well to the nymph. This slight change in levels was right on cue, as one or two clients came to look at nymphing tactics/techniques and the additional water suited this perfectly. We looked at the French leader and it's various uses. Decent numbers of  fish reacted positively to our offerings - which is always good when you're looking at new techniques.

John draws a fish to the net

Thorsten christens his new rod

The month finished unsettled, with colder weather, spells of rain and fluctuating levels. A bit different to last year and the unseasonably hot weather, low rivers and high water temperatures. I know which I'd rather have and hopefully there'll be plenty to look forward to in June!

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