2022 Bristol Water Fishery Report
As we close our doors to angling in 2022, we reflect on a varied and productive yet challenging season that we have all enjoyed!
Despite the extreme weather, there’s been some notable catches, in both quality and quantity, across all our lakes. From a cold spring and into a scorching summer with low water levels, followed by flourishing weed beds and some of the strongest winds we’ve experienced as storms rolled through the valley.
The droughts over the summer have not only made catch and release problematic, but it has also made things difficult for our fish farm. You’ll be pleased to hear that the trout are back to being fighting fit and hungry, ready for stocking as we approach the 2023 season.
Over the winter we are on the trout farm feeding and grading; in the office and shop, we’re organising the 2023 calendar; and on the banks, clearing and repairing ready for the season ahead - keeping Alan Dymock, Fisheries Operation Manager, the newly appointed Fisheries & Recreations Manager, Luke Cox and the rest of their team busy!
Chew Valley Lake
Starting the year off with our boat predator anglers partaking in the February Pike trails. The season started with a bang with three thirties landed on the opening day and four on the second, including a 37lb specimen!
Also, we saw large pike caught by our bank anglers with several 30’s landed; John Chester with a 30lb+ Pike from the bank at Nunnery caught in just a couple of feet of water.
Season fly ticket holders were welcomed back to Chew on the 1st March.
Anglers headed out despite the Cold NE winds, Herons Green was a hotspot for many. Reports of fish being caught on every bank around the lake ensured some cracking early season sport. One noteworthy catch was 23 fish to a bank angler off Walley including two fish over 5lb. It was pleasing to see some overwintered fish mixed in amongst the fresher stock, including a fine 8lb 2oz rainbow from Mr Smart.
Boat anglers first hit Chew on 3rd March. The first two days saw forty-seven boats out fishing for the trout with an astonishing 1,194 fish caught. Despite the challenging conditions courtesy of the remnants of storm Eunice.
The Spring into early Summer provided some larger fish, such as this impressive brown trout caught by our regular angler, Alan Clarke, weighing in at 10lb 10oz, the fish went back healthy to fight another day.
August saw a 9lb 4oz Rainbow caught by Tony Coxhead in the Evening League with
16 Anglers fishing Chew between 17:00 - 21:00. Only fishing for four hours and landing fifty fish despite the high temperatures and weed.
In September, both Chew and Blagdon provided the backdrop for the 2022 Cortland Team Fly Fishing Championships where team Elinor took first place with a very respectable fifty fish over the two days.
As the season progressed, the Pike fishing really came to life with fish reaching a staggering 43lb, taken on the fly by Andy Cheetham back in September.
The tail end of the season also saw good numbers of Trout being caught right up until the last day with fish coming out all over Chew. Wick Green producing many fish and Walley & Woodford also producing well.
Catch reports indicate the usual suspects of Diawl Bachs and Crunchers producing fish as well as lures fished with an intermediate.
Blagdon’s season ticket holder day started off with some tricky conditions and just a scattering of fish here and there we were wondering where the fish were held up!
Official opening day gave an answer when conditions improved and boat anglers started to hit into big numbers of fish.
Areas of note were Ash Trees to Rugmoor and Top End to Bells Bush. Fishing in front of the Lodge and dam areas also proved consistent.
Kasidit Leoviriyakit enjoyed some early season lure and buzzer fishing with his boat partner landing no fewer than FORTY-SIX fish.
With the hot spring weather came water temperatures over 20°C, the fish backed off the shallower areas of the lake. The aerators at the dam basin, as well as Pipe Bay and Cheddar Water seem to be providing the most action.
A stocking at Blagdon in April really pushed the fish on and most areas of the lake started producing fish such as Home Bay, Green Lawn and Long Bay. Much like Chew, the order of the day seems to be anything black, particularly superglue Buzzers and black Muskins. Although a few anglers have found fish taking Damsels too.
The weed pushed up into the summer but not enough to stop fish being caught as the ATTEFF qualifier in June proved with Dale Burgess taking eighteen fish. The next large competition was the Scierra pairs hosted on Blagdon in July with Andy Hoffrock and Kevin Richardson landing sixteen fish for 50lb.
July finished with a rod average of 5.5 on the Blagdon boats so certainly not to be sniffed at for summer fishing!
August saw the lowest levels we‘ve seen for a long time across our waters and Blagdon was no different. We were glad to see the tail end of the heatwave and average temperatures returning.
The Cortland heats held on Blagdon fished better - thanks to a few cooler days!
The deeper water, namely aerators at the dam basin, Pipe Bay and Cheddar Water providing sanctuary for the fish.
We saw some very good Pike fly catches through the months of October and November. Blagdon has fished well into the end of the season and was arguably neglected with few anglers on the bank.
Those getting out saw North Shore being very consistent as was the Dam basin. Again, Floaters or Intermediates with Diawl Bachs and small Boobies taking the bulk of the fish with the odd one coming to small white lures also.
The Barrows open day was 22nd February for our season ticket holders. The fishing really started off well with some stunning overwintered fish. Both Clive Blacker and Sean Glover had some quality fish within their bags!
Diawl Bachs and Damsel Nymphs proved to be popular fly choices during the first week with an apparent switch to more traditional Buzzer patterns.
Tank 2 had arguably the best early form with the Western corner near the tower being a particularly favoured spot.
As the season progressed, the fish dispersed and staying mobile proved to be a successful tactic allowing anglers to pick out the better fish.
April saw the 'Barrow Bash' event kindly organised by the B.R.F.F.A and supported by Franks Flies and Flyfishing. Sixteen anglers fished the event in difficult conditions and thirteen fish were caught, including a stunning fish to over 4lb.
As the season continued, the first few hours of light and dusk seemed to be the hot times particularly as the weed increased.
Any areas of flow seemed to be consistently producing fish with the pipe on tank three being one to note.
Reports suggested decent dry fly action into the evenings and lures or nymphs fished deeper during the day producing the main bulk of fish.
September saw a stocking of seven-hundred fish into tanks 1 and 3 which picked the fishing back up after a long summer. This good sport ran late into the season with some of the larger fish also making an appearance
Thank you all for your support through the season.
We look forward to seeing you all on the bank this coming year and would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
All the best,
BW Lakeside Team