South West Lakes Trout Fisheries Report October 2021

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All of the South West Lakes Trust trout fisheries continue to be operated under strict Covid 19 restrictions, in line with the current Angling Trust and Government guidelines. At the time of writing the on-site permit huts are not open, so day tickets, season tickets, and boats should be pre-booked online ( or via the telephone. Water levels are currently between 60% and 65% full, and water temperatures have now started to drop.

Kennick – The weather conditions have generally been settled (apart from one short spell of very heavy rain) with a couple of mild sunny weeks toward the end of October, when there have been buzzer hatches and a number of fish showing on the surface. Generally intermediate or sinking lines have accounted for many of the fish caught, either on nymphs (Damsels, Montanas, Diawl Bachs and Buzzers) or lures (Cats Whiskers, Boobies and Baby Dolls), with only the occasional fish rising to a dry Daddy or Orange Hopper. The fish have been well distributed around the lake, although The Narrows and Clampitts Bay proved popular locations for both boat and bank anglers.

Matthew Simpson (from Exeter) caught the best fish of the month – a 4lb 5oz rainbow, using a yellow and white Booby fished on a fast sink line. Graham Roberts (from Torquay) caught a 4lb rainbow from a boat deep down in the middle drifts, while Alan Behan (from Plymouth) caught a bag of five rainbows to 3lb 2oz using various patterns on an intermediate line.

Siblyback – Another challenging month’s fishing at Siblyback, with not much insect life in evidence, and few fish showing, although the occasional fish could be tempted by dry patterns when the wind was low. Buzzers, Pheasant Tail and Montana nymphs fished on intermediate lines produced the best results, with some deeper lying fish taking Baby Dolls and Black and White Fritz patterns. Crylla Bay, Stocky Bay and the West Bank were the most productive locations. The best fish caught varied between 2lbs and 3lbs – Phil Messenger-Roberts (from St Austell) caught a 2lb 9oz rainbow, while William Brown caught two rainbows of 2lb 8oz.

Burrator – Although there has been little insect activity and few fish showing on the surface, apart from the occasional evening rise to midge hatches, anglers have still favoured floating lines fished in conjunction with a wide variety of nymph patterns (Damsels, Montanas, Buzzers, Diawl Bachs and Bloodworms being the most popular). Longstone, Sheepstor, Discovery Bay and Pig Trough Bay were the most productive locations, with most fish being caught by bank anglers. Robert Prout (from Plymouth) caught the best fish of the month – a 3lb 2oz rainbow caught using a floating line and 18’ leader. Sam Brown (from Plymouth) caught two rainbows of 2lb and 3lb.

Stithians – The fish have been well spread out around the lake, with anglers catching fish in most locations (Yellowort and Mossopps in particular). Floating and intermediate lines have been the most successful, with the fish still feeding near the surface – toward the end of the month in particular, there was plenty of insect activity and fish feeding from the surface, when dry sedges, daddies, emergers, beetles and hoppers all produced good catches; otherwise, slow-fished nymphs (Damsels, Diawl Bachs and Buzzers) proved to be successful. Phil Messenger-Rogers (from St Austell) caught rainbows to 2lb 4oz, while Simon Peters (from Cusgarne) caught ten rainbows to 2lb in two visits, and John Hedges (from Falmouth) caught three rainbows to 2lb.

Colliford – The fish are still near the surface and looking up to feed, although sometimes the rises have been sporadic, with short bursts of activity. As usual at Colliford, the fish are well spread out, and the successful angler keeps on the move to cover as much bank as possible. Hoppers, Beetles, Daddies, Black Gnats and Sedges have been popular surface patterns, while sub-surface feeders have taken Hares Ears, Montanas, Soldier Palmers and Diawl Bachs. Dean Boucher (from Gunnislake) caught five browns to 2lb 8oz (best fish of the season at Colliford) using Foam Beetles and Red Hoppers, and another brown of 2lb 4oz on a separate visit; Chris Tilyard (from Fraddon) caught three browns to 38cm.

Fernworthy – The fish have generally been near the surface, so floating lines with a long leader have been the order of the day with dry patterns working well (Black Gnats, Grey Wulffs, Klinkhammers and Hoppers in particular). Otherwise slow-fished sub-surface nymphs (Damsels, Diawl Bachs, Buzzers and Montanas) have proved successful, with fish well spread out around the lake. Clive Garland (from Tiverton) caught five browns to 36cm using a Balloon Caddis with a slow retrieve; Howard Thresher (from Crediton) caught six browns to 35cm using a floating line and static/slow retrieve.

Roadford – Daveys Bank, Wortha Bay and Grinnacombe have proved to be the most productive locations this month, with a floating line and a variety of retrieval methods producing the best results. Dries (Daddy Longlegs, Foam Beetles), Nymphs (Pheasant Tails, Buzzers, Damsels and Hares Ears), and Lures (Appetisers and Black Tadpoles) all caught fish. The best fish caught during the month was a cracking 3lb 8oz brown caught by Michael John Tregoning (from Wadebridge), while John Isaac (from Newquay) caught a bag of five browns to 3lb 4oz.

Please visit the South West Lakes Trust website ( for details on ticket prices, fishery information, clubs, competitions, and boat availability.

Chris Hall (October 2021)


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As temperatures drop and the days grow shorter the smaller stillwater trout fisheries offer exciting sport. Bulldog fishery near Barnstaple are building a reputation for quality hard fighting trout that are regularly stocked into double figures.

(Above) Tom Early stocks the latest trout in Bulldog fisheries trout lake.

“Summers out, big fish in! A few of the many fish we stocked in the fly lake here at Bulldog today! Ranging from 2lb- 10lb we think the anglers in the weeks to come will be very happy with the lumps that will be coming out!”


Friendships are a vital part of angling and it is always great to maintain those long lasting bonds with a trip to the water’s edge. Garry, Rob, Ray and I were once part of South West Waters Game Fishing Team who travelled the length and breadth of England fishing in the annual Water Industry Game Fishing Competition (WIGFIC). We have tried to maintain the tradition of an annual fly fishing trip ever since our participation in the event ceased several years ago.

After a long lull due partially to COVID the Old Fisher Farts set off for a weekend at Wimbleball Lake staying at the delightful old Exmoor pub The George at Brompton Regis.

We assembled at the ticket hut at around 8:30am and cooked up an open air breakfast of sausage and bacon sarnies before heading out to cast our lines. Rob and I for the shoreline and Garry and Ray to the boats to be greeted by the ever helpful Trevor.

Conditions seemed ideal with a gentle breeze and light cloud cover. Despite this the trout proved hard to tempt with just a couple of hard fighting rainbows and wild browns succumbing to my lures fished on an intermediate line.

We met up at lunch time for another fry up and a chat.

Garry had managed a couple of rainbows but Ray and Rob had yet to catch. Spirits were still high despite the uncooperative trout and we set off refreshed and eager. With me joining Ray in the boat whilst Garry enjoyed a few hours on the bank.

The afternoon drifted past with me adding another couple of rainbows to the tally along with a beautiful wild brown of around a pound. Mid-afternoon Ray hooked a good rainbow that to my alarm caused him to almost stumble overboard! I think Garry added another rainbow to the score from the bank whilst Rob remained fishless.

As the sun slowly sank we headed back to the pub for a well-earned meal and a pint or two. Back in the early 1990’s we had been part of a winning team securing overall victory in the WIGFIC competition held at Wessex Waters Sutton Bingham Reservoir near Yeovil. In the intervening years since we have fished many times without repeating that victory. Back then as young men working in the Water Industry we undoubtedly  talked a far different agenda. Close to thirty years later we discuss our medications and ailments and have more in common with the elderly gents in “The Last of The Summer Wine” and suffer occasional bouts of Victor Meldrew like grumpiness! The tales of days and colleagues some long gone bounced across the pub table. Memories of younger days rekindled once again.

In years gone by evenings in the pub would have endured into the early hours with last orders signalling close of play. These days catching the end of News at Ten signals a late night!

Next morning when we arrived lakeside where the lake was hidden in dense early morning mist. A bright calm sunny day was forecast so we suspected that the fishing would be even more difficult. Admiring the morning splendour as we chugged out on calm waters having elected to use boats. Catching trout seemed to be secondary as the new day dawned and a brilliant blue sky was unveiled, trees emerging from the mist dissolving in the warmth of the rising sun.

The tree shrouded Upton Arm of Wimbleball Lake is one of my favourite areas to fish. We resumed the days fishing searching the water with various lures. The morning proved frustrating with numerous good trout following the flies before turning away tantalisingly close to the boat.

By late morning Rob and I met with Garry and Ray to discuss tactics and decided on a move to the far end of the lake where we had enjoyed some success the previous  day. We also knew that a fresh stocking had been made in the area so hoped a few uneducated fish would grant us success.

In the shallows we found the trout attacking fry sending tiny fish scattering to break the calm waters surface. Casting into the shoreline I tempted a small brown trout and secured a hard fighting rainbow. Rob also hooked a good fish that threw the hook  after a pleasing encounter. Retrieving lures briskly with a roly-poly retrieve brought several follows from some impressive looking trout including a blue trout that looked a good five pound plus. A few brief hook ups kept us casting until we eventually conceded defeat at around 6:30pm the sun slowly setting to close what had been a magnificent autumn day.

Our lack of catching was certainly nothing to do with a lack of trout in the lake for the stocking of Wimbleball is regular and often with fin perfect rainbows that will take you to the backing. Large waters like Wimbleball are my favourite trout waters for success is sometimes hard earned but all the more rewarding for that.

Once again we resumed tales of bygone days at the pub that evening. Eagerly plotting future forays and discussing the state of the world.

After a delicious Full English on the Sunday morning, we set off for home another collection of memories etched upon our minds. The Old Fisher Farts will hopefully reunite in the spring of 2022.

Lost treasures of childhood days

How many of those reading this started their fishing journey dangling a worm in a small stream? I remember well many hours spent exploring the River Umber that flows through the village of Combe Martin where I was fortunate to grow up. Those early years taught me a lot about fish and fishing and chatting with others who grew up in North Devon I know I am not alone.

Those beautiful wild trout with olive, gold and buttercup yellow flanks decorated with crimson spots were abundant in the main river and tiny tributaries that feed into it on the journey to the sea. I walked the river a few days ago hoping to glimpse a trout as I have on a few occasions in recent years. The river seems tiny now through an adults eyes and it is hard to believe I caught trout of over 1lb from this tiny brook.

My own observations and that of others is that trout are now very scarce in this once bountiful stream. How many other rivers have suffered a similar fate? I suspect that the generation of youngsters that live in Combe Martin now would not suspect the presence of trout in the river and would accept the present state as normal. It is sad that we have lost so much.

As I am now over sixty those days were close to fifty years ago. Fifty years is a long time to us but it’s just a moment in natures vast history and it is devastating how rapidly we are destroying what we once had. I suspect that sewage is a major factor in the decline of the River Umber.

I would be interested to hear other recollections on North Devon rivers and record a few memories before what we once had is forgotten.

SWL Trout Fishing Report

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September 2021

All of the South West Lakes Trust trout fisheries continue to be operated under strict Covid 19 restrictions, in line with the current Angling Trust and Government guidelines. At the time of writing the on-site permit huts are still not yet open, so day tickets, season tickets, and boats should be pre-booked online ( or via the telephone.

Water levels are currently about 80% full, with the fish at the brown trout waters generally responding better to the warmer water conditions.


Kennick – The month proved to be another of very mixed weather, with some very hot bright days, followed by heavy rain and winds – the main overriding feature continued to be one of warm, muggy conditions, and water temperatures continuing to gradually rise (to 20ºC), which often meant that the fish were lethargic and seeking the deeper cooler water, with boat anglers and float-tubers often enjoying better results.

As the month continued, the fishing became more challenging in spite of plenty of hatches (buzzers and sedges) and rises, and the feeding fish were often out of casting range for bank anglers. A slow retrieve produced the best results, with both floating and sinking lines catching fish; fish were well spread out around the lake, although Clampitts Bay, Oak Tree Point and Boat Bank did seem to produce the moist consistent sport. A wide selection of patterns caught fish, from Daddies, Black Gnats, Klinkhammers, and Emergers on the surface; Montanas, Damsels, Buzzer patterns, and Diawl Bachs subsurface; Cats Whiskers, Lime Boobies, Black Tadpoles, and Orange or Lime Blobs in deeper water.

Brian Sedgebeer (from Ilsington) caught five wild browns using a black and silver muddler skimmed across the surface in an evening session; Robert Boniface (from Exeter) caught four rainbows of 2lb and a 1lb brown on a sinking line; Graham Read (from Christow) caught two 2lb rainbows on  a lime green Booby on the drop using a sinking line.

Siblyback – A very tough month’s fishing at Siblyback produced disappointing results, with few fish rising (although some fish are showing at sunset), and few anglers on the banks. Geoff Cook (from Falmouth) managed to hook three rainbows estimated at 2lb using a small yellow lure fished deep and fast, before losing all three at the net! Sport should pick up as the water temperatures start to drop.

Burrator – The fishing continued to be challenging this month, with anglers only averaging around one fish per visit, and nothing of any notable size being caught. Occasional buzzer hatches produced sporadic and brief rises, and apart from a few dry Sedges and Daddies, most fish were caught sub-surface on a variety of patterns (including Damsels, Montanas, Buzzers, Diawl Bachs and Cats Whiskers), with Longstone Bank and West Bank the most productive areas. David Hockin (from Plymouth) caught six rainbows while fishing from a boat using a sink-tip line during a buzzer hatch; Andrew Brown (from Chelmsford) caught a 3lb rainbow, and two more at 2lb; Tim Robinson (from Denmead) caught four wild browns to 1lb using a size 12 Sedgehog.

Bob Prout 3lb 2oz Burrator brown

Stithians – There are plenty of Rudd fry in the margins at Stithians, and this has, on occasions, made for some good fry-bashing. Although surface rises have been slow, dry fly fishing has produced some good sport, with anglers successfully using Daddies, Foam Beetles, Hoppers, Sedges, Adams and Sedgehogs. Rewarding sub-surface patterns fished on a floating line included Spiders, Hares Ears, Buzzers, Diawl Bachs, and Montanas. Fish were well spread out around the lake, although Pipes Bay, Goonlaze, Hollis Bank and Mossopps were all regularly mentioned on catch returns. Simon Peters (from Truro) caught two rainbows of 2lb using Fabs fished on a floating line with a long leader; T. Marks caught five fish using a Sedgehog.

Colliford – Another sensational month’s sport at Colliford, with anglers averaging 4.8 fish per rod. Fish were well spread out around the water, and dry patterns fished on a floating line (Red Hoppers, Foam Beetles, Black Gnats, Bobs Bits and Sedge patterns) produced some spectacular catches – Dean Boucher (from Gunnislake) had some excellent sessions (sixteen browns at 1lb 4oz on a Foam Beetle, Red Hopper, and Black Bits in one, ten browns to 1lb 14oz using a Black Tadpole on another, and nineteen browns on another using a Soldier Palmer). Chris Tilyard caught ten fish to 33cm using Black Gnats and dry Hares Ear patterns; Alan Judd caught eleven browns on a Soldier Palmer; Phil Messenger-Roberts caught fourteen and eight browns in two visits, mainly using a Soldier Palmer.

Fernworthy – Anglers averaged just under three fish per rod, with plenty of fish rising to dry patterns (Daddies, Klinkhammers, Foam Beetles, Bits, Hoppers and black Gnats); otherwise a selection of subsurface nymphs and traditional patterns fished on a floating line with a variety of retrieval speeds produced results. Again, fish were well distributed around the water, with no particular location standing out. Notable catches included Eric Kuchenbecker’s three browns to 2lb, caught on a Diawl Bach fished on a floating line; Richard Pleydell (from Exeter) caught six browns using a Kate Maclaren and Black Midge; Daniel Price (from Crediton) caught seven browns in one session, while Roy Gill (from Exmouth) caught five using a size 12 Klinkhammer.

Roadford – The weekly averages ranged dramatically at Roadford, from one week when only small perch were caught, to another week in early September when anglers averaged just under 3.2 browns per rod (when there was some sunshine and a nice ripple on the water, and a few Buzzers and Sedges hatching). Daveys Bank, Wortha Inlet and Grinnacombe proved to be the best locations, with Black Tadpoles, Soldier Palmers, Hoppers, Bibios, Diawl Bachs, Shipmans Buzzers and Hares Ears all proving popular patterns. Jamie Gillman (from Plympton) enjoyed some fabulous sport, catching twenty-four browns to 3lb, while John McCallum (from Westward Ho!) caught two browns to 2lb using a floating line and fast retrieve.

Please visit the South West Lakes Trust website ( for details on ticket prices, fishery information, clubs, competitions, and boat availability.

Chris Hall (September 2021)

For more information, please contact:

Annabel Underwood

Communications and Marketing Manager

South West Lakes Trust

01566 771930

[email protected]

Raising the profile of rivers

There is much talk from politicians regarding the Environment but this is of little consequence without adequate funding for the bodies charged with enforcement. If you care about the rivers of the UK help raise the profile by signing the petition below.

          SALMON & TROUT CONSERVATION                                                                                            VISIT S&TC WEBSITE
Welcome to your September news roundup

This time of year is spending round time in Government. We need you to lobby your MPs for more spending on enforcement to protect our rivers from farmers and raw sewage.

Without enforcement action from the Environment Agency, we will not stem the pollution tide. We are heavily critical of the Government and its agencies – we have made the first complaint to the Office of Environmental Protection about the failure of DEFRA and Secretaries of State to enforce sewage pollution laws and we have produced a report (in conjunction with Angling Trust) demanding DEFRA impel OFWAT to allow water companies to invest to slash abstraction and stop dumping raw sewage in rivers – but all will come to nothing without funding and commitment to enforce the guilty to clean up their act.

Nick Measham
CEO, Salmon & Trout Conservation

The goal is simple but time is running out. We have until 24th November to reach our goal of 10,000 signatures at which point the government will respond to our petition. 
Please SIGN OUR PETITION using the link below and help to protect wild fish and their habitats from the impacts of pollution and over abstraction.
You can find our more about the petition here

Last casts of the season

After a long dry late summer and early autumn the rains have arrived swelling the local rivers into a dirty torrent. On the last day of the salmon season following rain earlier in the week the rivers had started to drop. I took my rod to the Middle Torridge and swung the fly more to say goodbye to season as in expectation of catching.

The river was at a good height but visibility was no more than 6″. I put on a big orange tube fly in the hope that it could be seen. The water was dark and turbid and rain beat down. The Bankside trees and vegetation showed little sign of the changing season. I savoured the sights of the river bank, the invasive Himalayan balsam has spread widely in some areas. Its pink flowers added colour, water droplets shone like jewels upon  seed heads that popped as I walked past. Rose hips added a splash of colour as persistent rain beat down on this grey final day of what has been a disappointing season. In a few days the river will have fined down and will hopefully be full of salmon and sea trout forging up river to spawn high up on the redds.

Rose hips add a splash of colour on the dullest of days.

We are living in strange times the ash trees suffering from ash die back some already dead and cut into lengths. Nature will heal of course I read recently of the loss of the nations elm trees during the dutch elm disease outbreak during the  60’s and seventies when an estimated 25.000,000 elm trees perished in the UK.

It is hard to believe that another season has passed by and for me a season without a salmon. As an all-round angler there is much to look forward to as autumn arrives and I will be torn as to where to cast my line. Until the wild daffodils once again decorate the banks I will no longer cast in hope of silver.


I joined South Molton Angling Club members Edward Rands and Roger Bray on a stretch of their club water on the River Bray to observe work being undertaken to clean the gravel where it is hoped salmon and sea trout will spawn this coming winter. Jeremy Weeks and David Weeks have been working to cleanse potential salmon and sea trout spawning areas over recent years for the Taw Spawning Habitat Improvement Project (SHIP). This important work is coordinated and funded by the West Country Rivers Trust and River Taw Fisheries and Conservation Association. The work entails pumping water into the gravel at the tail of pools to loosen and dislodge the silt that clogs the potential spawning areas (redds). Plentiful oxygen is essential for the successful survival of salmon ova and fry. The South Molton Angling Club have also carried out moderate bank clearing to expose riffles to light and maintain shady pools.

It was unfortunate that sods law intervened with heavy rain the previous night colouring the water to make conditions poor resulting in the work being rescheduled for another day later in the week. Jeremy and David were however able to give a demonstration and talk at length about their work and its value.

The dwindling stocks of salmon and sea trout are of great concern to anglers who invest time, money and effort into habitat improvement. The reasons for the decline in salmon and sea trout are many and complex. Whilst many of these factors are beyond the influence of anglers every bit of habitat improvement can help to ensure the long time survival of these iconic species.

A Day with the Fluff Chuckers

The calm expanse of Chew Valley Lake on an Autumn morning is an inspiring location to start a day if you are an angler. I have fished this renowned water on numerous occasions with mixed success but always relish the challenge that it provides. The water renowned for its huge pike brings a mixed response for as with all famous waters it brings with it the politics and traits of human nature born of egos and a desire to succeed.

I first fished the water for pike during the season it first opened to this branch of the sport and remember those early trips with fondness. Early morning breakfasts in the Lodge prior to loading the boats with tackle. The room packed with the big names of the day; legends of the pike and specimen angling world.

Even then the fishing wasn’t always easy despite the headlines in the angling press. Plenty of twenties, lots of thirties and even a few forties. These fish made the news but nobody read of the blank sessions that demoralised those who went to the lake expecting the fish of their dreams.

The seasoned specimen hunter eagerly spent hours on the phone trying to secure a day on the water that is presently run by Bristol Water. In those days there was a certain amount of friction between the trout fishers and the pikers. Fortunately, I think those days have to some extent gone as the angling world contracts and different disciplines to some extent diverge.

I had joined an online Facebook Group named the Fluff Chucker’s after speaking with my good friend Bruce Elston who is like me an all-round angler and occasional fly fisher. A species competition at Chew Valley Lake armed with the Fly Rods sounded fun so I messaged Bruce and suggested we give it a try.

And so, we found ourselves at Chew Valley Lake as the morning mist lifted from the water and low cloud hung in the autumn sky. An eager group of anglers assembled tackle and climbed into the flotilla of boats. The lakes surface was mirror calm with barely a breath of wind.

The boats headed off to various areas of the water as anglers used their intimate knowledge of the lake or followed their instincts. Bruce and I were somewhere between the two as we had both fished the lake on numerous occasions and knew the topography well.

We spent the first hour exploring the deep water in front of the Lodge hoping for a perch or trout without success. Deciding that we should get a pike under our belts we headed off to fish the shallower weedy areas where we expected to find the pike.

Casting a big pike fly into the vast waters of Chew Valley Lake is always filled with expectation and hope. The fish of dreams dwell within and each cast has the potential to connect so it is always particularly thrilling when the line draws tight as a pike hits the fly.

It only took a few casts before that exhilarating pull came as a jack hit the fly giving a spirited tussle before sliding over the rim of Bruce’s capacious net.

Pike came steadily to our flies throughout the day. I used a large black lure with marabou that pulsed tantalizingly as it was retrieved. Bruce swapped and changed using various pike fly patterns tempting several pike throughout the day. To be honest I’m not too convinced the choice of fly is that important when targeting pike. I just persist with a fly I have confidence in hoping I drop it in front of a feeding pike. Depth, speed of retrieve probably more important than the actual pattern?

We ended up sharing a haul of eight pike between us nothing over 5lb but good fun.

The trout proved harder to tempt. Bruce had a rainbow chase a large white pike fly which inspired me to try stripping a white cat’s whisker. Bang! A hard fighting rainbow trout of just under 3lb.

A steady stream of posts appeared on the phones telling of big pike and a few rainbows. The thought of that big pike lurking in wait somewhere kept us fishing hard until the competition closed at close to 5:30pm.

By now I think most anglers knew the result. The biggest pike caught was an impressive 28lb. Many thanks to Rodney Wevill, Jethro Binns, Bristol Water and Orvis for putting the event together.


Exmoor was shrouded in early morning September mist as I negotiated the twists and turns of the road to Wimbleball. I was meeting with Snowbee ambassador Jeff Pearce for an eagerly anticipated day  searching for the hard fighting browns and rainbows that dwell within the lakes 500 plus acres.

Autumn is an exciting time for the reservoir trout angler with dropping temperatures often resulting in an uplift in sport. The long warm days of summer tend to result in the trout becoming lethargic, languishing into the deep water where they can be difficult to tempt.

Jeff arrived at the boat launching pontoons after the long drive from Cornwall and we eagerly loaded the gear onto the boat. We noted that the water was full of fry and wondered if the trout would be embarking in a bit of fry bashing somewhere around the lake?

It seemed the perfect day for trout fishing with overcast conditions and a gentle breeze riffling the lakes surface. The beauty of a boat is that the lake can be explored  extensively moving from zone to zone within minutes.

We decided to head for the Upton Arm where the tree lined banks often deliver tempting morsals upon which the wild browns and established rainbows feast. A wide range of methods can work at this time of year but recent catch returns indicated that the fish were tending to be down deep. The absence of fish rising confirmed that this could well be the case.

Working in partnership two anglers can often find the key to success quicker using differing tactics until the best one is found.

I elected to start with a fast sinking line and three flies. An olive damsel on the point, a cormorant on the middle dropper and an orange blob on the top dropper. Jeff elected to start with an intermediate line and similar choice of flies.

After 15 minutes or so I hooked into the first fish of the day that came off after a brief tussle. The next half an hour proved frustrating as a succession of good sized rainbows chased the flies to the side of the boat. The trout were obviously interested nipping at the tails of the flies and lures.

Persistence paid off after a while and a small wild brown eventually nailed the damsel. These wild Wimbleball browns are delightful with patterned flanks with hues of green, gold, brown and bronze decorated with black and crimson spots.

As the morning passed chances came and went and it became clear that the trout were still behaving as if it was August and had not yet awoken into their Autumn mode.

Whilst Jeff constantly made changes I tended to stick to the damsel lure on the point making occasional changes to the dropper flies and varying the speed of the retrieve.

As the day drifted past we explored Cowmoor Bay and end up in the shallower Bessom’s and Rugg’s. The vast sky changed frequently from misty cloud to periods of warm sunshine. The landscape was still vibrant and green with leaves not yet showing any signs of the changing season. The occasional martin and swallow swooped over the water.

We reluctantly made our last casts shortly after 6:30pm having enjoyed a great day searching the lake. Four wild browns each and a brace of rainbow between us the best nudging 4lb.

The next couple of months will surely bring a riot of sport as the trout awaken from their summer slumbers. Fry patterns or dry daddies will tempt both hard fighting rainbows and perhaps even one of the huge wild browns that lurk in the lake. The best wild brown caught last year topped 8lb and bigger ones undoubtedly dwell in the depths of the lake. The rainbow stock density is high with plenty of full tailed five pounders waiting to be caught.

I look forward to my return to the lake in a couple of weeks with eagerness.

Many thanks to Jeff Pearce of Snowbee for sharing his images of the days fishing.