I think I've started every post so far with a negative, so why spoil the habit, I'm sure there'll be plenty of positives once the season starts - yesterdays local news confirmed what I suspected, that is, January's rainfall was twice the average for this time - how depressing.
On the tying front I've got my stillwater box well stocked with my Ullswater flies.
The Ullswater series started about 14 years ago, I wasn't into naming flies then, so it was just, my palmered hare's ear. The fly was so successful for myself and my good friend, Andrew Dixon that he said I should give it a name - as it was tied for the lake it had to be 'The Ullswater'.
Since then I have added - The Golden Ullswater, Silver Ullswater, Olive Ullswater, Orange Ullswater plus muddler versions of them all and the Golden Slipper (Originally tied for, and very successful on the peat stained water of Keilder reservoir)
The Original is still my top fly every season but the others aren't far behind and the golden version nearly pipped it last year.
The olive version and the Golden Slipper come into their own once the Mayfly (Ephemera Danica) time starts but are always worth a go if the others aren't producing.
As most lake or loch fishermen will tell you, it's not just Rainbows that want the flies moving and creating a wake, sometimes the Brownies love it too and this is when the muddlers shine - you don't always need a good wave either, I remember having a great day with a size 10 Olive Ullswater muddler, in a very light ripple it was part of a three fly cast and the fish picked it out every time.
The Ullswaters do work elsewhere, Andrew had success with them in Sweden while practicing for the World Championships (he has been a member of the England team for some years now) and they have worked for me on other wild trout fisheries I have tried.
Once word of them got out, they became quite popular with local anglers and are now sold by John Norris of Penrith.
One of the things I love about fly tying is that it gives you the freedom to experiment and I certainly do that - I am always trying different patterns or variants of traditionals on both river and stillwater, to me, that's what it's all about - it adds to the challenge and enjoyment of this great sport.