Saturday, 30 June 2018

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Warm Weather Jobs!
As June temperatures continued to soar and river levels dropped even further the fishing became very difficult, especially the salmon fishing. In fact the coin has totally flipped over when compared to the very cold early season weather we had to contend with, and because of this the usual transitionary period between the end of March and the beginning of June never materialised, ultimately sending us from chilled to grilled in a very short period of time and therefore missing out on the good sport we have become accustomed to over that period.

A good time for getting on with other important jobs I hear you all say, which is exactly what I did, i.e. a good bit of river bank Strimming for better access on the lower river and a well overdue style repair.

Knowing where to look!
The extreme weather didn't stop us catching a few trout though, as there are always fish to be found when targeting the right areas, regardless of the conditions. Granted it becomes a little more difficult, but that can often add to the challenge for some anglers.

We have taken advantage of this weather in other ways too, and it is always good to get some casting practice in when the weather is nice with some of you coming along to do just that in anticipation of things to come when conditions are more favourable for fishing. We certainly covered many interesting casts and techniques during these sessions.

Youngsters on a learning curve!
it is also a bonus to be able to teach the youngsters when the weather is good and as part of the Borderlines team we have been doing that on a small tailor made Stillwater whilst catching a few Rainbow trout. This is great way to teach children how to hook, play and land fish.

In summary, a little bit of fresh water wouldn't go a miss at this stage, for all species of fish, but especially as we are now into that time of year again when the Sea trout fishing can be very good, especially at night. So at the expense of this good sun bathing weather I do think it is about time we had some cloud and rain to put the rivers back in good order again for the benefit of us poor anglers. Although some may not agree!

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Warmer Times and Low Water

Richard into 1 of Several
The month of May did see the weather conditions gradually warming up at last, which included some hot and muggy days at times too, along with very low water conditions. Despite the sunshine we were also plagued by those persistent east winds again that unfortunately tend to hold those better fishing days at bay. That said though, we did eventually manage some good results regardless of the ever returning east wind situation and we did encounter both trout and Salmon along the way.

"If you search hard enough there is always a nice fish to be found hiding somewhere along the way" 

One of two fresh Salmon caught by David
There was a spell over a couple of days when we connected with four salmon, two of which parted company after a touch of "Heave Ho" between angler and fish, and two of which the guys managed to land. Around the same period another couple of very good fish (salmon) unfortunately won the day after a tussle on the lower river, an area where fish tend to hold up when the river becomes low, as was the case by the end of May. However there has been fish constantly showing down there and a touch of fresh water wouldn't go a miss just to liven them up a bit, although being a tidal beat we tend to get new fish arriving all the time and too much water sees them passing through the beat.

Another from the pocket water
The Trout fishing picked up a bit too as we moved further into May, although many of our fish were to be found in pocket water with upstream Nymphing tactics, a method we often keep for those very hot difficult summer days when trout head for those little oxygenated gems. 

That said, we did get some fish on the dry too as the fly life gradually improved throughout the month, with sparse hatches of Iron Blues in attendance along with a few Brook Duns and falls of spinners later in the evening. 

Mayfly
There were a few Hawthorn flies being blown onto the water at times too, but with not much interest from the trout I'm afraid, at least in the areas we were fishing anyway. However, what was very noticeable was the increase in the amount of Mayflies (Ephemera Danica) in attendance with trickle hatches of these large beautiful insects coming off on a regular basis throughout the month, "great to see", but again not a great deal of interest from the trout, although we did see one or two taken with intent.

"Looking forward to what June has in store"!

Monday, 30 April 2018

A Long time coming!

David with a drag free drift on the dry
The anticipated improvements in the weather throughout April have been a long time coming I'm afraid, with bitter winds and low water temperatures really holding things up, we have certainly been up against it from a fishing point of view, and although there has been several salmon caught on the river, some being recorded over twenty pounds, the fishing has still been relatively slow. That said, we only need to look back as far as last season and given the right water conditions some of the best salmon fishing of the season occurred in May and June, so time will tell.

David with a small trout on the Nymph
The insect life has also been slow, thus effecting the numbers of trout being caught, especially on the dry fly, and it has to be said, that up to now at least, there hasn't been the usual early season enthusiasm we often see from the trout given our sub surface offerings either. However it was noticeable that as we approached the end of April we were beginning to pick up one or two more fish off the surface as better numbers of Large Dark Olives begun to appear along with the odd Late March Brown too. It was also noticeable that there were some relatively decent hatches of Grannom Sedge in attendance, although definitely not in the numbers we have encountered in years gone by.

Simon with his first trout on the Dry
So although things are a little behind this year, the usual signs of potential improvement are all there and with the last few days of April being a little warmer in Cumbria, despite those persistent winds, an improvement in the dry fly fishing is definitely on the cards for May. I am sure many of you will agree when I say, that despite the fact we can, and do, target these magnificent fish with a variety of flies, fished at all levels in the water, there is still something very exciting about the visual experience of catching a trout on a dry fly!

Ian's first trout on the nymph
With water levels as they are at the present time, and given the obvious probability of better temperatures ahead, we should be looking forward to some good dry fly action as we move into May, but we will surely need an influx of fresh water for some of the middle and upper beats of the river to see an improvement in the salmon fishing. However it is still early days yet and with many of you having already been for casting tuition in April I am sure you are itching to put it into practice and get at them.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Better Conditions on the Horizon

Snow on the Eden
Given the recent conditions we have been faced with here in Cumbria, and elsewhere, there was nothing to report in February with plenty of snow and high waters, and following on from that was snow melt and more high waters.

We are only now just coming out of the cold snap as I write, but coming out of it we are, which is good news as we are now moving towards the end of March and into April when historically the trout fishing is often beginning to flourish.

High Water following Snow Melt
That said in recent years the salmon fishing has also been improving in the early part of the season, so let's hope we have the same scenario this year, as this will afford us additional options throughout our spring fishing days.

Hatches have been sparse in this bitterly cold weather, although there has been the odd Large Dark Olive in attendance, but having said that, there has also been very little interest shown in them from the trout as temperatures have remained low, which will often delay many trout dropping back into the main system and feeding in any meaningful way.

One of my guys out practicing
However conditions look set to change in the near future and when temperatures improve, as they inevitably will, it will not be long before we are catching a few nice brown trout once again.

In the meantime we have recently had one of our biannual AAPGAI assessment and open day events at Cockermouth in Cumbria and I am happy to say it produced some good results with several instructors being successful in their attempts to pass their individual qualifications. I am also proud to report that I just happened to mentor three of the successful candidates, which gave me great pleasure indeed.

A great picture from the Open Day
The open day also produced a very good turn out, with a mix of people attending, ranging from those who simply wanted to come along and enjoy the variety of demonstrations, to those wishing to gain some insight into the AAPGAI instructor programme, and everyone enjoyed the one to one tuition in the afternoon. A very successful event indeed.

More tuition planned for this weekend as people are now re-appearing following the recent cold weather. Looking forward to these sessions!

Friday, 26 January 2018

A big Welcome to the 2018 Season!

Not a Grayling friendly water 
Not a great deal to report in the early part of 2018 as we have had few opportunities for Grayling fishing given the high coloured waters we've experienced of late. Here is a photo taken on one of the tributaries of the river Eden yesterday.

However, although the early Grayling fishing has been a bit of a wash out we have managed to get some tuition sessions organised on the main river, as water height isn't always a negative in these situations as there is always somewhere we can get into the water, and "believe it or not", we have had a few reasonable breaks in the weather which have presented us with the odd nice day giving us the opportunity to do this. 

Let's hope for a few more of these
On a more positive note, although still a bit early for great results, the salmon season is now open on the river Eden, and given the previous few seasons statistics, it shouldn't be too long before conditions are favourable enough for opportunities to present themselves to us once again. "Here's looking forward to that!

It is also quite surprising how quickly the trout season creeps up on us, and come March 15th, which isn't that far away, we will hopefully be enjoying some good sport there too, and once we enter April and into May we should be getting into some very nice fish.

See you all soon!
Several of you have already booked in for tuition and, or, fishing days for this year, so I am certainly looking forward to those sessions and I hope to see many more of you throughout the year as usual. Let's kick off the season with a bang. "Tight Lines to all".

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Almost the New Season

A day when conditions were okay
November and December saw some unfriendly water levels, not really ideal for Grayling fishing, most of the time, and a few cancellations by me along the way because of this. However we did have the odd day trying for them, but with limited success, i.e. just the odd fish.

Never mind we cannot complain I suppose as we have had some great days throughout the season and I am looking forward to many more when the New season is upon us again, which isn't far away I might add. Here's to 2018!

Enjoy the New Season!
This brings me to the main reason for sending this quick blog out to everyone on the eve of the New Year, and that is to wish you all the very best best for 2018, health and happiness, and to thank you for your excellent company over the 2017 season. I look forward to catching up with many of you again this coming year for tuition, fishing, and plenty more tales by the river bank. "Tight Lines" to you all.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

As the Salmon Season Closes

Simon getting in some casting practice whilst fishing for Salmon on the River Eden


Unfortunately the forecast was correct and the additional water we were expecting did arrive making the last few days towards the end of the Salmon season on the Eden difficult to fish, with the water up and down like a Yo Yo once again. However it didn't stop us from trying and we certainly gave it our best shot, some days paying off and some days not!

John with his first fish on the Fly
However, the days when the water was too high did give some of you the opportunity to get some casting practice in despite these higher water conditions, and the last few days of the season also saw some of you catch a few salmon too, and on one of these days in particular, it was great to see John (pictured left) catch his first ever salmon on the fly, a very fit little hen fish that gave a good account of herself and happily took off like an express train when returned to the water. (well done John). 

Another fish being returned
Apart from seeing the odd fish here and there, there was one particular day when things were definitely looking good and Jeff (pictured below) got off to a good start, with a large coloured cock fish, (into double figures) taking his fly relatively early in the daywhich I might add, he he quickly returned. However, there is no doubt in my mind that there would have been more fish to follow, given the amount of fish moving through the beat, but the reason for this soon became apparent as the water eventually began to rise fast and the river was ultimately out of order yet again.

A large cock fish (quickly returned)
Unfortunately we had to abandon the last day of the season as the water levels were far too high and on the rise once again, even the beats higher up the river were off limits, but at least we were offered a small window of opportunity the day before when conditions were okay to at least afford us the possibility of a fish. 

Nothing much more to report on the salmon front I'm afraid given that there was just two weeks of the season left since my previous blog, but at least we did have a bit of action in the interim period.

Into one of those large trout
However, that said, it has to be mentioned that we did, once again, encounter several of those larger brown trout that often elude us during the trout season, which were (as they often are) very active and aggressive at this time of year, many of which were literally hammering those quite large salmon flies with a vengeance. Some of these trout that were caught, and quickly returned, were formidable too, with several well over two pounds. However it was really good to have some confirmation that these guys are still lurking about out there.

Another large Brown on the Salmon rod
Moving away from the Eden, my next stop was Wales for the annual AAPGAI assessment event in Builth Wells. This is a great opportunity for potential new instructors to gain their teaching qualification, and for current instructors to move forward on the ladder to the next qualification level in their individual journeys. This event is always a great get together and affords AAPGAI members (amongst other things) the opportunity to watch some great demonstrations from other instructors.

One of the many Demonstrations
This years event also gave us the opportunity to watch a fantastic film and presentation delivered by my good friend and fellow AAPGAI instructor, Ken Whelan, scientist and research director for the Atlantic Salmon Trust (AST). The film and presentation was very interesting and focused on the migratory paths of the Atlantic Salmon and how this may ultimately effect us as anglers. I am looking forward to the next get together which will be held in Cockermouth, Cumbria, where I am hoping to see the return of the popular AAPGAI public open days. Watch this space!

Whats next you might ask? Well I do have a few people booked in for Grayling sessions over the winter period (water conditions permitting). So let's hope the weather stays fine long enough to help make the fishing is good and that we can tempt a few of these magnificent winter season extenders to the net. Here's hoping!