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!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

April in Eden

We had a wet start to April and our rivers were out for most of the first week. They were dropping back and fishable by the 7th. The water temperature was still pretty low; it was down at 6°C but that didn't stop the Large Dark Olives from hatching in force. A few fish were drawn to the surface and I managed to catch my best fish of the season so far. It was picking off the emerging Olives and was tempted with a suitable imitation.

An LDO emerger fooled this 3lb 1oz beauty

Water temperatures were beginning to rise by the 10th - they were up to 9°C. Large Dark Olives continued to hatch in decent numbers and a few March Browns were starting to make an appearance. We still weren't see large numbers of rising fish - despite good hatches - but some very good fish were on the feed at times.

Another nice fish taken during a Large Dark Olive hatch

March Browns were hatching with more regularity

We were seeing trickles of March Browns on most days from the 10th of the month and a few fish were on them when Chris joined me for his first taste of fly fishing. The fish weren't feeding hard, but there was enough activity for Chris to tempt his first trout on the fly.

Chris is into his first fly-caught fish

The middle of the month brought strong Easterly winds and challenging fishing for Mike. The wind seemed to deter the fly from hatching in force, but ringing the changes between spiders and dries - when we did spot the occasional riser - produced some action.

Mike nets his first Eden trout of 2018

Tim tempted a fish to his spiders

The easterlies had abated by the 18th, the sun came out and we saw our first trickle of Grannom. It lifts my spirits when the Grannom appear - I always think that the massive hatches of our daytime sedge are the first big feed of the year for our trout and it often kick-starts our season. The Grannom made an appearance on most days following the 18th, but not in the numbers expected - we had to wait until the 28th for the first proper hatch.

Mike is into another fish

David plays a fish on a challenging day

Colin joined me on the 28th and fish were rising as soon as we hit the river - the Grannom were hatching in massive numbers and fish were on them! Targeting rising fish with dries and emergers produced an exciting few hours with fish risen, caught and missed....

An excellent hatch of Grannom

Colin with a fish during a Grannom hatch

Colin is into a fish on his day in the lakes

We hit the lakes at the end of the month and Colin joined me for a day on Ullswater. The lake - like our rivers - is still very cold for the time of year. But we persevered, hit many of my favourite drifts, and got some action! Colin moved, missed and caught a few fish and even managed a double, when two fish came to his top and middle dropper.

Two fish at once for Colin

So, the cold and slow start to the season continued into April. But I don't want to sound too negative as we had fish on all outings - they just weren't feeding as hard as we'd expect for April. The hatches of Large Dark Olive and March Brown have been excellent at times. The Grannom have started and a few Olive Uprights and Iron Blue Duns have began to appear. 
The optimist in me says all is looking positive for May and I'll finish April's blog in a similar fashion to the way I finished March's. The Grannom have been slightly late and there should be more to come in May. A few Large Dark Olives should continue to trickle off into the early part of the new month. We can expect hatches of Olive Uprights, Iron Blue Duns and Large Brook Duns. Depending on the weather, we should see our first Medium Olive and Yellow May Dun of the year and, if we're lucky, we may see a fall of Black Gnats. Oh, and the Mayfly should be making an appearance. So there's plenty to look forward to!