Friday, 31 August 2018

Water at Last!

Fish On!
At last August saw some fresh water entering the rivers which certainly helped to drop the water temperatures and encourage a few salmon to accept our offerings. However there was a short spell at the end of last month and the beginning of this, when there was a significant amount of fish stacking up in the lower river, but whilst temperatures remained high they were simply ignoring our flies altogether. The up side to this was at least you knew you were fishing over fish, and when you were getting comments like" I have never seen as many fish in a single pool before", then at least things did become a little more exciting.

"When we did eventually get some water there were spells of action with fish lost and fish caught on the fly".

1 of 2 on the day for Brian.
The fish in question however have now moved on from these lower reaches following the recent rain we received and will hopefully by now be well distributed throughout the river, but before they moved on we did manage some success, with a few anglers connecting with a few of these fish.

With the river now dropping in again we will hopefully see some fresher (more aggressive) fish entering the system and once again building up in numbers ready to offer us some further excitement, especially around the tidal stretches of the river and hopefully they will be more willing to oblige.

The Sea Trout fishing didn't really materialise in any significant way this year and although there were fish caught, numbers of fish were definitely down. This is not necessarily down to lack of fish, but is most certainly associated once again with the high water temperatures and the stress this can cause the fish themselves, often causing a lack of interest in our offerings and when they do get the urge can often result in very tentative and missable takes, unlike the aggressive takes we like to encounter when these fish are very comfortable in their environment. So if you didn't manage to get out in June / July to indulge in a bit of night fishing, don't worry as you didn't miss much at all.

A nice Brown coming to the net.
It was good to see the Brown Trout fishing eventually improve too following the input of some fresh water. This gave us more options when fishing for them, other than just nymph fishing in pocket water. 

There has also been a few better browns grabbing the salmon flies of late, which is always a good sign that they have woken up a bit, unfortunately they are usually the sort of fish you would like to encounter on much lighter tackle.

A Casting Demo at the Lowther Show.
The Lowther Show was a great success again this year especially given the mixed weather we had over the weekend, but it was nice enough to bring people out to watch our demonstrations and get involved in the casting tuition and competitions available on the fishing island. It was good to meet new faces and catch up with familiar ones too!

I am hoping September and October will throw up some better salmon fishing this year, given that conditions were against us when we should have been having positive results, although I guess we will be at the mercy of the weather again if this is to be the case.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

The Heat is On!

Not much change in the weather throughout July I'm afraid, apart from the odd shower here and there, (some heavier than others) but with little effect on river levels (until now that is) as the water was quickly absorbed by the dry ground.

Unhooking a trout caught on a Spider
That said, these very welcome showers also brought with them some well received cloud cover offering us a little respite from the scorching sun. These intermittent mini freshets (so to speak) did produce a couple of sessions when the trout obliged us too, especially when searching the pocket water and the faster water at the heads of pools where gold headed nymphs were the order of the day. We did however have some success on the spiders too, especially at the tails of pools where the water was interrupted by the rocks protruding through the surface, creating slightly faster flows and small pockets of oxygen.

The salmon fishing, like the weather, also dried up throughout July with the odd report of fish being taken on goldheads whilst fishing for trout, something I have encountered several times myself over the years and also whilst guiding people on the river, especially in low water conditions. As I write this blog I am now receiving reports of salmon entering the lower river in response to the 20 cm rise of water we received towards the end of the month. "Finger Crossed".

A Borderlines Morning session
The good weather does however continue to encourage a number of youngsters to attend the many courses provided and delivered by the Borderlines team. These courses (like the one shown on the left) consist of various group sessions throughout the day which include, health and safety, fish recognition, entomology, fly casting, Knot tying, fly choice and much more. The youngsters then venture out onto the Stillwater's we use (under supervision of course) and proceed to catch their first fish. This allows us to explain playing and landing a fish, and either how to dispatch a fish properly, or alternatively how to catch and release a fish in the correct manner, should they so wish.

As mentioned in my previous blog, the good weather certainly doesn't stop people coming along for casting tuition and whilst the fishing is slow it's a good time to take advantage of this opportunity, so that once we do receive some fresh water, (which we inevitably will) techniques will be in place and ready to go.

The Lowther Show
Our next big event is the Lowther Show where several of us get together, under the Borderlines and AAPGAI banners (along with a variety of other instructors) to provide tuition, advice and demonstrations on the fishing island throughout the weekend of the 11th and 12th August. It would be great to catch up with some of you there and a browse around the Show itself can be a great day out. Until then!

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".