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....

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....