Sunday, May 24, 2009

Our green and pleasant land

We fishermen certainly are a lucky bunch, we often have the privilege of fishing some great rivers in truly spectacular surroundings - of which there is no shortage here in North Cumbria, with the beautiful valleys of Eden, Eamont and Lowther on our doorstep as well as the Northern lakes/waters of Ullswater, Derwentwater, Haweswater and many more.
Its just a shame that my meagre photographic efforts can't really do them justice.

On Thursday I had planned a day on the Eden for a client (Tim) but heavy showers the day before had brought it and it's main tributary the Eamont up with colour and unfishable, so a quick change to Plan B saw us on the River Lowther - always a good bet if the others are out of sorts, it's waters held back by Wet Sleddale dam at it's head and often the last to flood, if at all.

The Lowther's a beautiful little river and usually a favourite of the dry fly aficionado, but today, with a cool downstream wind there was little sign of any fly life or rising fish so we resorted to spiders in the few runs that I thought may hold fish and we continued to ring the changes throughout the day trying upstream nymph, dries and 'The duo' - but other than a couple of small fish and a few half-hearted offers sport was slow.

Saturday saw me on Ullswater, with a strong-ish Southerly breeze and good cloud cover sport looked promising but as with a few of my outings on the lake this season - the fish forgot to read the script. Or maybe I expect too much sometimes as I did get fish albeit between long periods of inactivity.

I was hoping to see Mayfly and fish on them, as they're usually here by now, so I started with the Olive Ullswater muddler on the top dropper. Nature seems to be a touch behind this year and there was no sign of the Mayfly, not even any discarded shucks in the surface but the muddler still scored well, pulling some quality Ullswater fish to the surface, although not all made contact with the fly.

Sunday saw me on the Eden for a short evening session. The upstream nymph produced a few good fish (including the fifteen incher below) before a rise started at about 20.30, which prompted a change to the spiders fished down and across, a touch lazy maybe but easier than straining to spot a dry in the failing light.
Olives, Yellow May Dun and small sedge were on the wing so I tried a combination of Waterhen Bloa, Partridge and Yellow and Hares Ear nymph with all three producing in a rise than lasted forty minutes before the river 'switched off'.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A rough ride on Ullswater

We didn't get the heavy rain that was forecast for today (Monday) but we certainly got the wind, with a strong South - South Westerly blasting down the lake for most of the day.
The pictures don't really do it justice, with quite a large swell it got a bit hairy at times, the local Yacht club had an outing with a circuit set up but they weren't out long, it was either a short race or they were blown off - I suspect the latter.

Reports from some of the regulars have been a bit disappointing lately with either poor sport or only small fish (6-8 inches) encountered, more akin to June fishing when the small fish provide the bulk of the sport as the warming upper layers of the lake seem to push the more average 12 inchers into deeper cooler water.
In my opinion, by June stratification of the lake has taken place and the upper layer, the epilimnion, has warmed to the extent where it is not comfortable for the larger fish to remain in this zone, even though this is where the bulk of their food is as this is where we get the greatest light penetration and all the benefits that it brings, plant growth etc. - the larger fish still have to feed though and they still come into this zone, they just get a bit more selective with their feeding times.

I did catch and move fish on my first drifts but as reported there were none above 8 inches - these came to 'The Ullswater' on the top dropper.

After a lunch break in one of the few calm areas I could find, I decided it was time to brave the elements with a team of Muddlers stripped through the waves.

It wasn't comfortable fishing with strong winds and frequent gusts making casting difficult but the muddlers, an 'Ullswater Muddler' and a 'Glister Muddler' did produce a few fish although it was still a bit slow for the time of year - another couple of weeks should see the arrival of the Mayfly (Ephemera Danica) and hopefully an improvement in sport.