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....

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Dry July!

July turned out to be one of the driest and warmest on record - which was definitely not what we fisherman would have wished for!

The rivers were very low and water temperatures were high, so we had to choose our areas carefully. Areas where the water was cooler and more oxygenated, where fish would be less affected by the conditions. Our options were slightly limited. But it wasn't all doom and gloom, and fishing these 'correct' areas produced many positive reactions to our offerings.

Paul with his first of the day

July was mainly a month of firsts: most were either trying fly fishing for the first time or were making the step from stillwaters to rivers and looking at the correct approach and employing appropriate techniques.

Alan in into his first river trout

Julian gets some action on his river debut

Mike reaches for the net

The weather did become a touch more unsettled towards the end of the month. We didn't get a lot of rain, but it was enough to freshen things up slightly. Which was perfect timing for Mike's most recent visit to Eden.
Mike has become quite adept at employing the various river techniques during our times together and ringing the changes paid dividends in quite challenging and changeable conditions. The fish weren't exactly queuing up to take his offerings, but his hard work was rewarded with fish caught, lost and missed on each of his outings.

Mike caught fish on each of his days in Eden

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Flaming June

Flaming June has certainly lived up to it's name, some areas have experienced the warmest and driest June on record!
The month actually started off with a couple of wet days: the Eden and it's main tributary, the Eamont, both rose slightly. The touch of fresh water perked things up during the first week of the month and I managed a few productive sessions.

Fish came to midge during one productive session

Mayfly, Yellow May Dun and Yellow Sally stoneflies hatched in good numbers on some days, but few fish showed much interest in anything at the surface - and those that did seemed more interested in the midge. Brilliant sunshine and a falling, warming river meant that fish were keeping their heads down and it was the nymph that produced most activity.

2lbs 7oz Brown to the nymph

I managed a break from fishing and guiding during the middle part of the month, before Mike arrived for a week in Cumbria. The glorious sunshine was with us for his visit and our rivers were beginning to suffer from the dry spell. Many areas are getting very low and slow. Weed is thriving and our options are getting limited.

Mike with his first fish of the day

Fish were keeping their heads down and Mike had to resort to a variety nymphing techniques during his days on the river. He put them to good use though and had fish each day.

One to the nymph for Mike

A few newcomers to Eden, and the great sport of fly-fishing joined me for days during June. Fred and family had their very first go at fly fishing. We spent the morning looking at gear for fly fishing, casting, rivercraft etc. and then we fished. All had chances of fish in the afternoon and Fred was soon into his first fly-caught fish! Hopefully all will now be tempted to take up our great sport.

Fred with a fish on his fly fishing debut

The last time that I remember us have such a long spell of sunny, dry weather was back in the mid 70's (1975 and 1976). Our rivers are getting very low and we're desperate for rain. So if anyone out there knows a rain dance....

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Fly fishing in sunny May

May was a very dry, and sunny, month in Eden. Strong westerly winds blasted through the area at the start of the month, but Olive Uprights and Iron Blue Duns were still hatching in good numbers and some good sport was had on dry imitations.

This 3lbs 8ozs beauty was feasting on midge

Fish also fed on midge and one very good fish fell to a suitable imitation on an early May foray. A few had been on Olive Uprights and had fallen to emerger imitations, before all went quiet. I was just about to leave the water when, what was obviously a good fish, began to work the margins. With nothing obvious on the water I surmised that it had to be on midge and after quietly moving into position I managed to tempt the 3lbs 8oz beauty to a size 18 CDC midge imitation.

Robert shows off his biggest fish of the day

By the middle of the month, conditions were more akin to mid-summer than mid-May. Brilliant sunshine welcomed  Austrian anglers; Robert, Tony and Wolfgang to Eden. We moved around and I introduced them to different stretches of the Rivers Eden and Eamont during their week in the area. All three fished very well - despite challenging conditions - and managed to get action at every venue.

One on the nymph for Wolfgang

Robert brings another fish to the net
The third week of the month saw the yearly hatch of our true Mayfly (Ephermera Danica). Our largest upwing appear to be showing up in greater numbers on our local rivers and fish are taking a liking to them and suitable imitations.

A Mayfly with crumpled wing

Alder were hatching in force on some days

Willie with his first British Brown Trout

Willie and friends were on their first fishing trip to the UK during the third week of the month and they too were greeted by brilliant sunshine and a low river. But the conditions did nothing to dampen their enthusiasm and hard work, with appropriate techniques, ensured that they got some reward for their efforts. The modern angler has so many different techniques at their disposal and there is normally something that will suit most conditions..... 

Rising in a shaded area on a sunny day

The final week of the month saw me with a few days off from guiding and tuition, so I was determined to make the best of it. Daytime hatches were virtually non-existent in the bright conditions, but fish still fed . You can always rely on a few midge to hatch and keeping an eye out for fish taking advantage of any shade paid dividends. So did searching likely areas with the nymph. I even managed to tempt my largest fish of the season so far. A 4lbs 3oz nymph feeder was my only fish in very bright conditions, but I certainly wasn't complaining!

Best of the season so far at 4lbs 3ozs

Tony was visiting from the U.S. and joined me on the penultimate day of the month for his first taste of fly-fishing the U.K. . Fish were rising as soon as we hit the water, so we were straight at them with the dry fly. They were midging and hard to tempt initially, but a few changes of fly soon hit the mark and Tony was soon into his first UK brown trout. Other fish were caught, lost and missed to the midge before all went quiet. Ringing the changes throughout the day ensured that Tony had more action and a positive UK fly-fishing debut. 

Anthony caught his first British brown Trout on a midge imitation

With the jet stream far to the North it looks like we could be set for a long spell of hot weather and low rivers. So June fishing could be challenging, but certainly not impossible!