Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A brief respite ?

We had a brief respite from the cold weather at the weekend - the sun came out, the east wind dropped and the temperatures lifted close to double figures. Saturdays sunshine also produced the first March Browns (Rhithrogena germanica) of the season.
Even though there was another fairly good hatch of Large Dark Olives, good numbers of Midge and a few March Browns, the fish were still pretty reluctant to come to the surface to feed - I only saw three risers. I guess, from a fishing point of view, you could argue that it was another wasted hatch....in normal conditions and with more seasonal water temperatures you'd expect fish to be rising in good numbers.
The three risers: the first was put down by a swan! I'd spotted it, tackled up, got into position and before I could get a cast, this damned swan broke away from a group that were grazing just downstream of me, it swam right over the rising fish then stopped and started preening itself ! it gave me a look like it knew exactly what it was doing and needless to say, that fish never rose again, so I moved on.
 The second riser was a few hundred yards upstream, it was ignoring the March Browns and sipping away at the more plentiful Olives. There weren't enough olives for it to hold station so it was quartering from left to right then moving slightly upstream to intercept the approaching flies, but it was rising confidently and relatively easy to track, so it was mine third cast.
 The third was missed - the Olives and March Browns had disappeared and it was rising intermittently to the odd remaining midge - I got one go at it, rose it and missed - I didn't feel it so hoped it would come on again but it didn't.
I may have had more if I'd tried nymphs or spiders, but I wanted to stick to the dries and was happy with my lot.

Yesterday saw me on Ullswater for the first time this year. In previous years I'd have been on well before now but having fished the lake since I was a boy, I knew the cold snap would be keeping water temperatures well down and sport could be slow. Temptation got the better of me though and the forecast was good - cloud and wind, albeit the wind meant a return of that damned cold easterly  - so I got well layered up with thermals and fleeces, and ventured out.

It's the first time I can ever remember fishing the lake when there's been snow on the fells, it felt a bit weird really, I felt like I was fishing out of season - like I shouldn't be there. I fear we'll have some cold days on here until that white stuff is off the tops. But, like the rivers, the fish are there and they'll be feeding....

As expected, it was pretty cold and sport was slow, a few of my favourite spots produced nothing but I did eventually find a few that showed a liking for the Red Ullswater and Rarl hopper. They were typical, beautifully coloured Ullswater trout. A bit thin but thats only to be expected at this time, their staple early season diet tends to consist of Midge (I didn't see many today) and Hoglouse....


Bradford Fly said...

Ullswater's a wonderful place - even better as it's accessible fishing only a short bus ride from my uni digs in Penrith. I do struggle to catch there though and I've had very little luck other than the odd trout to a (whisper it) ledgered worm. Beautifully marked fish mind you - well worth the wait.
Do you have any tips on fishing it from the bank on fly/any particular areas worth a try?

Thanks in advance for any help!

Geoff Johnston said...

Hi Eric, as you seem to be restricted to travelling by bus - the shoreline around the Pooley Bridge area is as good as any or if it stops off along the A592 to Glenridding then that shoreline can be okay although some of it is private. The lake is notorious for it's steep drop offs and some are very close in to the shoreline so if you do intend to wade just be very careful. I would suggest that you wear a life jacket as not all the drop offs are rocky, a good friend once told me that some consist of fine gravel and if you get on it, it can be like treading quicksand. As far as flies are concerned most traditional lake flies (Bibio, Zulu etc)or my Ullswater range work okay. Keep on the move and vary your retrieve rate.

Bradford Fly said...

Thanks for the advice Geoff - I'd heard about the dodgy drop offs so if I wade I'll be mindful of that.
I think they sell your Ullswater patterns in John Norris? I'll bob in and pick a few up.

Thanks again,