Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Best of the season so far

I had my best fish of the season at the weekend - this River Eden beauty was a tubby 19 1/2 inches (50cm) and weighed in at 3lbs 6ozs. These fish don't turn up too often on our local waters, I'm usually fortunate enough to get one each season so it will probably be my best of 2010 - but you never know.

The river is down to it's bones but it just goes to show that there is still some good fishing to be had. This beauty, like most of my other big river browns taken over the years, was caught on my favourite method, the upstream nymph.

As usual, the fish was safely returned after photographs and weighing.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Another catch up

The weather has been too good this year and consequently my Ullswater visits have been severely restricted - cloudless sunny skies and calm days may be good for the tourists but are definitely no good for us fishermen.

We were fortunate on what turned out to be our last visit to the lake - mayflies (Danica) were hatching and the fish turned on to them once the hatch got going. It turned out to be a strange sort of day, first we found rising fish and mayflies hatching but the fish hadn't turned onto them, small black adult buzzer imitations took the first few fish of the day and then they turned onto the larger mayflies and stayed on them for the rest of the day. Initially the fish were taking freshly hatched duns and later in the day they turned onto the egg laying spinners, but you had to find rising fish to get any offers, speculative searching of normally productive areas produced nothing.

With hot weather and a very low and weedy river I wasn't too sure if we'd get much sport for two clients on their first visit to the River Eden the week before last, but thankfully the fish didn't let us down and a combination of North country spiders, nymphs and dries tempted a few fish and both Davids got their strings pulled.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Too busy working and fishing

The updates have suffered lately, I've been too busy working and fishing.

I've had three days at Rutland with three friends, we were hoping that our trip would coincide with the the cream of the top of the water buzzer and nymph fishing but unfortunately it didn't happen - the only thing that really produced was sinking lines and lures, mainly blobs. Either that or fishing on the rudder in the main basin with Di 4's or Di 5's and Sparklers - which produced limit bags for my friends.

A farewell shot of Rutland

Back home I tried a touch of urban angling - fishing the lower Petteril among the mattresses and shopping trolleys - something I've often thought of doing but have never got around to until recently.

Well, that itch has now been scratched, it produced a few small fish which is what I expected, I'm sure that there'll be better fish down there but negotiating my way past mattresses, shopping trolleys, sheets of plywood and all the other rubbish dumped in this part of the river by our city dwellers is not something that I'll be doing too often.

Sport on a very low River Eden has been very good considering that the river is down to it's bones after the driest spring on record. The conditions seem to be suiting the flylife with excellent hatches of all our local species and some very large falls of Black Gnats earlier in the month with literally thousands on the water on occasions - the Eden beauty below was rising steadingly to Black Gnats when it fell for my offering, and as with all my wild brown trout, it was quickly measured, photographed and returned.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ullswater blowing hot and cold

All reports on the lake so far suggest it is blowing hot and cold - we have had good sport on some outings but it has also been frustratingly quiet on days when conditions seem perfect, I have often said that it will only tolerate so much pressure with the same areas being worked on a regular basis.

Having said that, we have had the best midge hatches I have ever seen, at times the water has been covered with discarded midge shucks so the fish should be feeding hard and maybe this is why there seems to be a lot of small fish about so early in the season - these don't usually appear in numbers until late May or into June.

If you look in the right hand corner of the picture above you may see that the air was full of midge.

Ullswater fish are still predominantly 'bottom feeders' - even though there has been very large hatches of midge this fish contained none, as is quite usual, it was full of Cased Caddis and a few Hoglouse.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Weekly fix.... half a day at Rutland's stockies

It's taken a while to update this one - been very busy with work and not had as much time for fishing as I'd like.
The Rutland visit was a real bonus as I didn't expect to wet a line on an Easter visit to my sister's in Nottingham, but the rods went in the car - just in case.

I only had time for a half day ticket and restricting myself to a four hour stint, I decided to concentrate my efforts around the Normanton Church area, reports suggested that the shoreline from here down to the dam had been quite productive with black and/or green lures doing best.

A quick search of my fishing bag revealed no lure box, I'd forgotten it, so rather than risk hitting the water lureless, I purchased a few of the recommended flies. As usual I needn't have bothered, I once did the same on an evening visit to Grafham and ended up catching on my own flies, and so it was today - I set up with the bought lures on top dropper and point, and found a Cormorant in my box so this went on the middle dropper. A slow retrieve with the Kelly Green intermediate produced two fish to the Cormorant

After a fishless hour and a half of searching with the lures I decided to change to the buzzers, I'd been told that they weren't producing but I'd had a couple of fish and was more than happy with my lot so I had nothing to lose.
I stuck with the Kelly Green and black buzzers top and bottom with an orange one in the middle - a long cast and slow figure of eight retrieve produced four offers in six casts with two sticking to the orange buzzer.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Small fish saves first blank and Ullswater

I managed a couple of hours on the river yesterday afternoon before having to rush home for the Penrith Anglers social evening where Paul Procter delivered an excellent talk and slideshow about fishing in Slovenia.

The river was dropping and clearing after the band of rain that passed through our area on Thursday night/Friday morning and it was just fishable. Once again, there was a distinct lack of Olives - I saw three, so it was on with the nymph again.
My first blank of 2010 was just avoided when this 8 1/4" (21cm) fish saved the day.
I was on Ullswater today, guiding for Peter and John. They were first timers on the lake and unfortunately the weather did not do them any favours - with a bitterly cold and at times very strong westerly, making fishing difficult and pretty uncomfortable at times.

Sport was slow but they both did well considering the poor conditions and managed to save their blanks with a fish each.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Second outing 2010 - The River Eamont

This (above) is a sight that we're not enjoying this year as we fish the River Eamont - the host of golden daffodils are nowhere to be seen, they like most things, have been slow to make an appearance this year. The Large Darks (Baetis Rhodani) remain sparse - I only saw about six today, so hardly surprising that there was no surface activity.

My favourite method - upstream nymphing, was the method for me today and although sport was slow it did produce four good fish for the session. All were quickly photographed and returned safely.

The first was 14 inches (36cm)

The second was 16 3/4 inches (43cm)

The third 15 inches (38cm)

And the fourth - this tubby 15 3/4 incher (40cm)

All four fish came to a Size 10 Hares Ear Goldhead nymph - some I've talked to express surprise that I use a size 10 but in my opinion one of the most important aspects in chosing our general imitations is size and at this time of year any invertibrates that are reaching maturity are quite large - and there's not a lot but we should expect to see, Large dark Olives (Baetis Rhodani), March Browns (Rhithrogena Germanica) in some areas (although I haven't seen one around here for years) nymphs of The Large Brook Dun (Ecdyonurus Torrentis) should be reaching maturity and towards the end of this month and into early April we should start to see the odd stonefly nymph.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Here at last - The glorious 15th

It was great to be out after the Trout again after the long and very cold winter lay off - I've been looking forward to this day for weeks.

I saw my first Large Dark Olive at 1200 and caught my first fish of the new season five minutes later - a 14 1/4" (36.5cm) Brownie on the nymph.

Three more olives appeared on the water and I took my second fish of the season, a 16 1/2" (42cm) fish, fifteen minutes after the first and also to the nymph - I wondered if this very slight piece of invertibrate activity had woken these two from there slumber in the hope that there would be more food on offer. Well there wasn't, I didn't see another fly for the rest of the day and didn't get another offer.
But I'm not complaining - I expected a slow start after the coldest winter for 31 years and am more than happy with a couple of fish on opening day.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Last Weekend

After saying that we wouldn't get out last weekend - we did. By lunchtime on Sunday the temperature had risen to a balmy 3 degrees C so we decided to brave it.

The river was iced up in places but we managed to find our way in among the grue (ice) and wet a line.
Sport was slow though, the icy cold water had definitely taken effect. We managed to hit on one pod of fish which produced six grayling and that was it. We did the usual when it's slow and rang the changes
, tried heavy flies then light ones, large bugs and small, short lining and indicators - all to no avail - the fish were having none of it.

It reminded me of when we used to get cold winters and the fish at this time of year usually shoaled up in the deeper holes and could be hard to find, especially on a big river like the Eden.

We've had the rain now and the thaw, and the rivers are up, so no fishing this weekend.

I need to make time to stock the boxes up for the coming season, and have Salmon flies to add to the list this year. I've just received an HMH tube fly tool from Pat Stevens at Flytek and it looks the biz so can't wait to have a go with it, so maybe it's time for my annual winter break for fly tying and the jobs at home that need doing before the Trout season starts - but then again, if the weather is okay next weekend ?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Could be a bit cold to wet a line this weekend - or could it ?

Even though the night time temperatures were well below zero last weekend, the daytime temperatures rose to a bearable level, encouraging us to brave the elements and get on the river.

Our efforts were rewarded with a few fish - they were hard to find but when located sport was good to a variety of weighted bugs.

Guess this was deposited during the last floods - shows how high the river was

By midweek the night time temperatures had dropped dramatically, reaching -14.5 by Wednesday and on Thursday we saw the first signs of ice on the river.

River Petteril as it enters the River Eden

River Petteril

With the daytime temperatures holding around -8 for the remainder of the week and not much of a change forecast, I can't see us braving it this weekend - but you never know, it won't take much of a rise in temperature for us fishaholics to be tempted