Friday, July 22, 2016

June in Eden

It's really great to see youngsters coming into our sport: Sam and Ben joined me for their first go at fly fishing on the final day of May. Both boys picked up the casting really well and both managed to get a decent line out at their first attempt and had the chance of fish when we got into that part of their day.

Sam with his first trout on the fly

The end of may and early June also saw the start of our evening fishing. A few clear, calm nights provided ideal conditions and good hatches of Sedge had fish feeding hard during the last hour of daylight....

Some good fish responded to Caddis patterns

May's dry weather continued into early June and the river was down to it's bones for David's visit, but he managed to get a bit of action to a well presented team of his own tyings.

David with a trout to the nymph

The dry conditions provided challenging fishing during the first ten days of the month. Low rivers and clear blue skies were not ideal for daytime hatches. Surface sport was at a premium, although spiders fished in the surface or just below did attract some attention on occasions and - as usual - the nymph didn't let us down....

Jane scored on her debut

June saw a few newcomers to our sport and to Eden: Jane and Charlie came to Eden to try out fly fishing and after a bit of work on their casting etc. they both scored, with fish coming to their offerings on their debuts. 
Heavy rain on the night of the 10th brought fresh water into the river and a welcome lift in levels during the third week of the month, which perked things up for clients that fished during the final two weeks.

Steve on his first visit to Eden

Andy had fish on the nymph

Mark with his first Eden trout

A 'rare' Chub to the fly for Larry

It's funny how things happen sometimes: Larry  - a visitor to the UK from Texas - was out with me on the 16th June: the first day of the 2016 coarse fishing season and he hooked into a chub! As a young angler in Eden, I used to see quite a lot of chub and often picked them up on the fly. They were always a bit of a disappointment; after an arm wrenching take and one initial run, they were spent and lifeless as they were dragged to the net. No one seems to know why, but they have virtually disappeared from the river, to the extent that friends who used to chase them and regularly got some quite large specimens, don't and haven't bothered fishing for them for years. So it was a very unexpected surprise when Larry caught one whilst having his first taste of Eden. The fish put up a very un-chub-like spirited fight and I thought that he was into a large trout before it came to the surface and I saw what it was. Even though I don't chase them, it would be nice if these fish made a come back and hopefully, it is a sign that all is well on our great river.

Derek is into a fish

Derek was on his yearly visit to Eden in June and he joined me for a day to look at a few techniques. We looked at dry fly presentation; the 'Duo' and 'New Zealand' dropper and fishing Streamers. All produced some action and the nymph on his 'Duo' rig even attracted the attention of a five to six pound grilse. I was gutted for Derek when the fish managed to break loose, but to be fair, he never had a chance. The fight - if you could call it that - was over in seconds, as the fish turned and headed off downstream like an express train. It was a very short, but very exciting encounter and it was the second time it has happened to me this season. The first time it happened, I was fishing a pair of nymphs on a French leader when I struck into a take and got the shock of my life when a salmon of  approximately eight pounds exploded clear of the surface, it jumped twice in a matter of seconds and threw the hook on it's second leap. I would never have dreamed of using nymphs or spiders when I used to chase our 'silver tourists' but I've had the occasional Salmon on both whilst using them in the pursuit of Trout and Grayling....

The 'Klink' pulled fish to the surface

The last couple of days of June brought more rain and another welcome lift in water levels. The rivers were carrying colour on the final day of the month, but it was 'good colour' and even though there was nothing rising, a day of speculative fishing with my favourite dry/emerger 'The Klink' produced quite a bit of action when this great fly pulled a good number of fish to the surface.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

May catch up - Better late than never

I must apologise for the lateness of this 'May' update. It was a busy month and if I wasn't guiding or teaching, I was fishing myself and I'm afraid that I just couldn't force myself to sit at the computer when there was fishing to be done! I always find it difficult to keep my blogs up to date during the trout season.
May was a good month in Eden, it started off wet and the river was up during the first few days, but it was falling for Chris's session with me. A hatch of Large Dark Olives brought a few fish on the feed and Chris got a bit of action to a team of spiders.

Chris is into a fish on the spiders

Hatches were good during the first part of the month: the Grannom and Large Dark Olives were still hatching in good numbers and we were seeing sporadic hatches of Olive Uprights, Iron Blue Duns and Large Brook Duns. My first outing was on the 6th and the Grannom were coming off in force - unfortunately the fish showed little interest in the surface fly, but a pair of nymphs produced a bit of action, with the best fish on the day weighing in at 2lbs 4ozs. 

2lbs 4ozs  to the upstream nymph

It's not very often that I venture off my own patch these days, but a rare foray on one of our border rivers paid dividends during the second week of May. As this trip was as much of a recce as a fishing day, I decided to wander with the dry fly - have a good look around - and hopefully come across some of the leviathans that my chosen venue has become renowned for. Grannom, Large Dark Olives and Olive Uprights were about throughout the day, but brilliant sunshine kept most fish down and rising fish were at a premium. 
After a lot of wandering, I did eventually come across a decent looking riser. Stealth and angle of approach were going to be critical if I was to get a chance at my best - and probably final - fish of the day. So I crawled into position and watched for a while as the fish continued to rise. Olive Uprights and Grannom were floating into it's zone, but they were being ignored in favour of something that I couldn't see. There were a few tiny morsels floating past my position, so on went a size 20 black F fly. I often say to clients that you if you are casting to a fish it's better to make your first cast short - it's better to be short and add to the next cast, than be long and line a fish and put it down. So, my first cast was short, then I waited for him to come up again and covered him second cast. He rose confidently and took my fly, I lifted into him and he turned and tore off downstream. 3lbs 6ozs of Scottish border brown trout put up a spirited fight before it was netted, weighed, photographed and released....

3lbs 6ozs midge feeder

I was back on my beloved Eden the following day and small was the order of the day again. Fish were rising when I hit the river, but, although I could see Olive Uprights, Grannom and the occasional Iron Blue dun on the water, I saw none taken. The only other thing I could see on the water were Greenfly, so on went a suitable imitation. The first fish I cast to took it without hesitation and that continued throughout the day: every rising fish I covered came up for the small fly. I even tried larger flies at times - just to see if they'd look at imitations of Olive Uprights and Grannom - but they wouldn't look at them, it had to be my tiny aphid imitation or nothing.

On the Aphids

Chris joined me for a day in the middle of May, to look at techniques. I saw the best hatch of Iron Blue duns that I'd seen for years and not one fish rose! we looked at fishing spiders, the 'duo' and French leaders - all produced for Chris throughout the day.

Chris had success on a variety of techniques

May turned out to be a very dry month and the river was beginning to show it's bones for the visit of Steve and friends in the middle of the month. The river performed well - despite the conditions - and so did the whole group.  Varying techniques between nymphs, dries and spiders ensured that everyone caught fish during their three days in Eden...

Barry with the group's first fish on day one

Jim with a nice fish

Maggie fished the nymph to great effect

Peter with took a nice fish on the dry fly

Conditions were looking tough for Martin and Roland's three days in Eden during the final week of the month: we had sunny weather and our rivers were down to their bones, but the river gods smiled on them. Good hatches of Olive Uprights and Medium Olives had fish feeding at the surface and two lucky anglers had three days of surface sport with decent numbers of fish coming to their dry offerings...

Martin is into a fish

Roland with a fish on the dry fly

Our rivers continued to fish for Scott's day in Eden. He came to work on casting and river didn't take him long to cast and present his flies to a good standard . I often preach that if you get your casting skills up to a good level and present your flies well, you should get your just rewards. It's great for me as a guide/instructor  when all this comes together; it did for Scott and a good number of fish came to his well presented offerings. This also gave us the opportunity to look at playing/landing fish - another important discipline....

Scott with his best fish of the session

So, May was good in Eden. The month started wet before summer arrived early in Cumbria and we experienced a long dry spell with our rivers dropping throughout the month. Hatches were good and fish fed well on occasions, with most 
Eden Angler clients - too many to show here - experiencing good and productive days on our rivers. The conditions didn't suit our lakes and Ullswater was slower than normal, but we did have the occasional productive session on the few days when conditions were right.

We had the occasional productive lake session when conditions were right