The lakes have been on fire! Who would've thought that we would be witnessing such spectacular fishing considering the most recent conditions? colour in the water at Chew, temperatures rising and next to no wind on numerous days don't seem to have hampered catches recently. Some small hatches of fly and on warmer days flying ants hitting the water. Tempting fish up even in the brightest of conditions these wiley fish can be tricky to tempt but exhilarating when hooked!
Water temperatures fluctuating around 17-18C still but the fish seem to have acclimatized better now and the cooler nights and shorter days are no doubt helping encourage them to feed more readily. There's an abundance of fry around this year, in particular at Chew. Gathering in strong shoals they can be located in numerous areas around the lake although anywhere with some weed or man made structure seemingly holds better concentrations. A good sign for the oncoming cooler weather as we approach October, most notably a month where our pike fishing by dead bait/lures commences.
The English National event soon upon us with final preparations underway. We have decided not to let either fish pens go ahead of this event. Growth rates haven't been as good as we would have hoped for and so have decided to hold these back until after the National. Instead, there will be a stocking of approximately 1,800 fish from the shore direct from our fish farm over coming days. These smaller stockings will be completed by Friday. We aim to scatter these stockings as much as possible. This should help them spread well and help produce gradual catches as we see pressure increase on the lake in the next couple of weeks. Stocking is always a challenging subject, we cant predict fish movements, weather, temperatures or indeed feeding habits of fish. We like to think that most of the time we get it right with some exceptional fishing this season at our waters. We believe holding both fish pens back until after the National is the right decision in this instance.
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On to the fishing.....
Chew Valley- Res level 71% full
Stocking to Date: 33,077
Rod Average: 4.8
Average Weight: 2lb 12oz
Biggest recorded Rainbow (this period): 11lb 8oz
Biggest recorded Brown(this period): 8lb 8oz
Walley continues to produce with bag limits also coming from Woodford and North shore recently. Interestingly season ticket holder Mr A Gillard managed a limit bag from North Shore on Sunday despite a westerly wind blowing into the bank and this area being a bit slow in recent months. Crunchers and diawl bach's fished slowly on a floating line worked well.
Fish along Woodford bank seem to be close in under your feet with boat anglers struggling to pick fish up from this area but bank anglers doing well. Mr D Hitchins managed his limit fishing an intermediate line with a black booby on the point and diawl bachs on the droppers. Fishing slow with occasional long slow pulls worked well on Friday of last week.
Not many anglers off of Nunnery recently although the boats have done well just out from the stones. It may be worth a visit especially in Northerly winds which will aid with casting. Just around the corner, Herons Green is also holding fish although weed will hamper bank fishing opportunities in this area. As water levels drop, bank fishing may be viable so its worth considering if wanting to try somewhere new.
Wick Green is chucking up occasional fish, not quite as productive as a week or two back. A shallow bank which requires wading, one to try early morning or late evening when fish will move into the shallows. Lots of perch in this area at present so there may well be a surprise brown trout lurking around.
A cracking event this last weekend at Chew with the Cortland Team Championships taking place. Over the two days a rod average of just over 6 fish pp per day demonstrates just how fantastic the fishing currently is. Despite horrid conditions on Saturday and challenging ones on Sunday to see some anglers managing over 10 fish was simply incredible. Numerous 4lb+ fish caught and released including a fantastic rainbow of 11lb 8oz to Mr R Elms during practice on Thursday of last week.
There seems to be a mass of fish throughout the middle of the lake all the way from Nunnery to Denny island. In brighter conditions finding wind lanes or patches of fresher water will be key. Don't dismiss trying drifts on the outskirts of areas of heavy pressure, having some fresh water in front of you that no other boat angler has fished can be a massive advantage. Consistently watch the water looking for any signs of rising fish, if you cover one chances are they will have it. Interestingly, if you don't get a pull immediately after casting to a rising fish keep going, they will come and have it but it might take time.
Tactics wise a variety of methods working. In overcast conditions consider a slightly faster retrieve through the higher water column on a intermediate or midge tip line. The Roly Poly method worked well for some this weekend teamed with a small booby on the point, hoppers and diawl bach's on the droppers. The key seems to be keeping the flies high in the water. When faced with particularly hot and bright conditions slow things down a little and try the washing line setup with a booby on the point. Black seems to be the color at present, perhaps standing out slightly better in the tinged water? If trying a midge tip or similar try a longer leader to allow the washing line setup to stay higher in the water for longer. A shorter leader will see flies drag down quicker meaning you are spending less time in the water columns holding the best numbers of fish.
Herons and Nunnery are holding fish along with a scattering in front of the Moreton spit. Try and concentrate through the open water of Herons more so than the margins. Similarly at Moreton don't dismiss a long drift out from the spit towards the Roman shallows, fish can be found all through this open water.
One or two boats took advantage of the Northerly winds on Saturday fishing deep down into Villice near the weed beds. It was apparent some fish had held tight into this area and could be picked off fishing high in the water in this wind. Blowing straight into the bay was key and meant boats could drift ever closer to the fish holding areas. The wind swung Westerly on Sunday and the area died.
Similarly to Villice, the corner of the Dam closest to Walley bank is also holding a pocket of fish. If you are the first boat there there will be a chance of winkling out a couple fish quickly. If you are there late, chances are your efforts will prove fruitless. Keep an eye out for warmer spells which can encourage flying ants to disperse from their nests. These can prove irresistible to the trout and will see them up on top in no time. The heavily vegetated bank along Walley provides a perfect habitat for ants to thrive and is one of the areas where you will consistently see ant on the water in the right conditions. Keep an eye out for birds like gulls that work the water heavily when ant appear, they can be good indicators that ant are about.
Pike fly fishing is still challenging although we haven't had many anglers out targeting them recently. Quite a number of perch are being caught, mainly small around 1-2lb in size and there's certainly enough bait fish to get the fish feeding. The water still has a tinge to it and for fish feeding in the upper water columns it doesn't seem to be an issue, fish feeding deeper down most likely are having difficulty finding prey. Gradual improvement in water clarity should see fishing continue to improve for both trout and pike in coming weeks.
Blagdon - Res level 71% full
Stocking to Date: 22,504
Average Weight: 2lb 10oz
Biggest recorded Rainbow (this period): 6lb 8oz
Biggest recorded Brown (this period): none recorded
Some reports of some fish from the North shore this week with Ash tree's chucking up a few fish too. Also some indications that Wood bay is starting to fish better with Mr G Lumber managing a few from this area only a week or so back.
Corixae are still around so crunchers and diawl's will be the way to go. This is prime time for daddy long-legs so don't dismiss a foam daddy as a point fly. A speedier retrieve keeping flies high in the water can create wake and induce a take.
Most day ticket anglers are sticking to Green Lawn and Rainbow point where catches have been most consistent in recent weeks. Boats are catching well in the open water off of Green lawn and during the evenings and early mornings these fish will move in under your feet.
Weed dying back in places. For the more adventurous it may be worth trying Cheddar Water. Wading will be required but some good fish have come from this area recently. Being so close to deeper water you never really know what may turn up.
The whole of the dam basin continues to produce along with all of the open water in front of the lodge and nearing home bay/Green lawn. There are pockets of fish elsewhere but with such a vast area to catch fish steadily during the day it can be challenging to move out of the open water of the dam and in front of the lodge.
Lots of anglers catching on diawl bach's, most notably green or black in color at Blagdon. Numerous fish coming to dries too with hoppers being favored by many. Try ginger hoppers if the fish show up on top and go smaller if struggling to induce fish to the fly. Claret Bobs Bits would be a good alternative.
Washing line tactics are the way to go with a booby or F.A.B as a point fly. Keep flies high in the water much the same as at Chew at present.
A reminder that there is a no anchoring area in the dam basin shown on the back of your ticket and on display in the lodge. Similarly we do not permit tying to buoys. Please be respectful of these requests and of fellow anglers out on the water.
Barrow Tanks- Res levels 86% full
Stocking to Date: 8,160
Rod Average: 1.28
Average Weight: 2lb 3oz
Biggest recorded Rainbow (this period): 2lb 4oz
Biggest recorded Brown(this period):none recorded
Bank fishing only:
Fish recorded high in the water on number 2 with good clarity. There are some remaining weed beds but you can fish over these with a floater or midge tip. Try a washing line setup and strip flies through the surface. A wake fly of some sort like a bumble, dabbler or hopper is well worth a try as a top dropper. Crunchers and usual diawl bach patterns on the droppers and tail fly.
Tank 1 is suffering from some color in the water and its probably best missed at present. Tank 3 will provide some sport in the favored spots and will be worth walking around later in the day if conditions are settled. We say it each report but never dismiss the dries at Barrow tanks!
Rod Average: 6
Average Weight: 2lb 12oz
Biggest recorded Rainbow (this period): 3lb
Biggest recorded Brown(this period):1lb 8oz
Finally some fishing at Litton recently with the bottom lake now open and a couple of boats available for hire. Not many returns at present although Mr Stratton fared reasonably well yesterday managing a credible 5 rainbows and a brown trout. A damsel or Montana are always killers at Litton. Stick with a floating line and fish flies slow. Try to drift if you can, this will help locate pockets of fish. Never neglect a cast or two under an overhanging treeline or bank side.