Saturday, April 27, 2013

In the lakes

It seems that the Jet stream has moved north over the last few weeks, relieving us of the very cold snap we had through March. Apparently, from what I've read, it's sitting right on top of us now and is responsible for the south-westerly winds and the milder, damper weather we have at the moment. I know I won't be popular with some, but I can live with that for now. It's providing near perfect (maybe a touch too windy at times) weather for us fishermen of the northern lakes.
Sunshine and flat calms are cursed by the brown trout fishers of the Lakes District. During these early months - the prime time on most of our lakes - we pray for cloud and wind. The last week has provided both and I've tried to take advantage, with a few outings since last Sunday.

What our lake trout lack in size they certainly make up for in beauty, with most sporting buttery yellow hues and big black spots. Irrespective of what some may claim, the fly-fisher rarely gets big fish on our lakes, although the average size has gone up over the years and 12" - 14" (31-36cm) fish usually make up the bulk of an average catch. Years ago they used to always say our lake fish were small, but plentiful, with 3 or 4 fish to the pound quite common.
I've often thought that our lakes are an untapped resource as far as fishing goes. We have so much choice in this area that most of us (well at least I do) give up to concentrate on our rivers once stratification takes place and the lake fishing slows. The only year that I've fished through the slow months of July and August was the year of Foot and Mouth, when we were forced off the rivers. The fishing was slow, but I did get sport if I chose the right conditions - cloudy with a ripple.
I'm sure that if we took a leaf from the book of the lough fishers of Ireland and worked at it a bit more, then we would come up with methods to fish our lakes all season - although, unfortunately, I don't think our lakes are in the same class as Corrib and the likes for producing the numbers of sizeable fish that they do.... but you never know. I have heard of trout close to double figures taken on bait and lures by pike fisherman on lakes like Bassenthwaite, Derwentwater, Windermere and Thirlmere.

Paul had his first taste of fishing the lakes this week. It was a day of firsts for him - first time on Ullswater, first time fishing from a boat and first go at fishing a team of flies - he did very well, considering.
Conditions were near perfect for him, albeit a touch windy, there were white horses rolling down the centre of the lake, but sticking to the calmer more sheltered bays did provide some sport.

Paul had conceded that he was a dry fly fisherman and never fished more than one fly. The dry fly does produce on the lake, but not at this time and in these conditions, so we set up with a three fly leader and left the middle dropper blank (two well spaced flies were sufficient for now) . After a brief chat about safety, tactics etc. we were on the water and heading for an area of deeper non-productive water for a practice run - a chance for Paul to try his hand at traditional loch style, long-line techniques and retrieval rates. The conditions meant that access to potential fish holding areas was restricted, and they were not to be wasted on practice runs.
Paul coped admirably with the conditions and his introduction to new techniques, so we were soon fishing and it wasn't long before he was into his first fish of the day. He soon progressed to a three-fly rig and managed another couple of fish, dropped a few and had quite a few offers.

Well done Paul, I hope you enjoyed your first go at our northern lakes....

1 comment:

Paul Hanks said...

Thanks for an absolutely amazing day Geoff.I learned more today through your patience and guidance than i have in the past 3 years of fly fishing.For sure i couldn't have been in nicer surroundings or better company.
For anyone thinking of using Geoff's services,don't hesitate,after asking around for information on Geoff he confirmed his reputation as a Cumbrian legend,
both with his knowledge and his ability to be able to pass it on to a novice such as myself.
Once again thanks for a memory that will last a lifetime.