The Winter solstice, the shortest day of the year so with time limited and Christmas looming I decided on a short session at Bulldog Fishery in search of a winter trout. With a cold Easterly wind blowing this sheltered water was an ideal venue to grab a couple of hours sport.
I arrived close to 10:00am and was given a cheery welcome from fishery owner Nigel Early who was busy preparing Christmas turkeys.
The lake was crystal clear with very little weed growth remaining. I set up and took a wander around the lake glimpsing the occasional rainbow but none of the double figure browns or rainbows that have been recently stocked. I had tied on a small bead headed pheasant tail nymph and cast this to the middle of the lake where a few trout could be seen cruising high in the water. The first couple of casts resulted in missed takes.
The inlet area is often well worth a try and the sight of large trout rolling in the turbulent inlet water prompted a move to the far bank where I could cast my fly into the flow.
The line sailed out the small nymph dropping past the flowing water. I tightened the floating line and watched the tip intently. The line twitched and I lifted the rod connecting with a hard fighting rainbow of around 6lb.
A large trout repeatedly swirled within my casting zone and I wondered if it was one of the lakes big browns? I persisted with the small nymph adding a couple more trout to the bag each full tailed rainbow in the 3lb to 4lb range.
The water was crystal clear yet the light was wrong to get a really good look into the water. The occasional good sized trout drifted into view but takes eased off a little. I experimented with a wet daddy longlegs to no avail then switched to the tried and trusted damsel nymph.
First cast a large rainbow followed the lure before turning away after following for a couple of feet. Next cast the line drew tight and the rod bent over in a satisfying curve as a large trout shook its head in an effort to shake the hook free. The flanks of a large brown trout flashed in the clear water and a tense tussle ensued before the fish was safely in the net. I admired its boldly patterned flanks and slipped the hook from its jaws. The brown trout looked to be about 7lb a very pleasing result to celebrate the turning of the year. I held the fish for a moment in the cool water until with a kick of the tail the prize was once again within a different dimension beneath the cold surface of the winter lake.
I fished on for a while changing back to the pheasant’s tail nymph to take a last rainbow before heading for home in time for an early lunch.