Monday, 24 December 2012

Rain Still Persistant

Not much changed I'm afraid as the rain has continued to relentlessly batter us and lift the rivers to unfishable levels for the avid fly fisher, the main problems being unsettled and coloured water conditions, "better known as 2012".

High water & wet weather
I did manage one session with Borderlines with a group of youngsters on the 8th December, albeit with swim feeders, to enable them to catch some fish, as water conditions were high yet again, (as you can see in the picture) and fishing the fly would have made it almost impossible for them to have had any chance of success whatsoever. I also managed to fit in a tuition session on tactics and techniques for Grayling, but apart from that the rest of the days had to be cancelled due to hopeless conditions.

Never mind, it's Christmas day tomorrow, and hopefully many of you will have some new gear to try out in 2013, which will hopefully provide us with a much better season. So whilst we are waiting, please allow me take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, with many successful fishing trips still to come.

"Tight Lines" for 2013. Clive.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Rain, Rain & More Rain

A familiar sight on the river this year
I obviously tempted providence at the end of my last blog, when I said, "things were looking good as long as the rain stayed away", because ever since then, apart from a short spell of very good fishing, the rain has returned with a vengeance and the river is in the trees yet again, (as you can see from the above picture) something we are encountering more and more here in the UK, especially this year.

Chris from Borderlines on the Pike day
However all was not lost as I was busy again with Borderlines introducing another keen group of youngsters, from one of the schools we are currently working with, to Pike fishing, with some success too, although we did find ourselves having to abandon the day half way through due to more persistent torrential rain (now there's a surprise). Nevertheless the youngsters involved had a great time and managed to catch three Pike in the morning, one of which can be seen here in the picture as Chris helps one youngster hold her quarry up to the camera before returning it to the water.

So not much else to report I'm afraid, but as soon as the water recedes (if it ever does) I will be back out on the river chasing some quality Grayling with the guys who have had to cancel and re-arrange their days due to the present conditions. I will keep you all informed!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

More Grayling About

A successful Smile
I was out on the Eden with a group of youngsters last weekend in my role as one of the Borderlines instructor team along with Glyn and Chris, and although we did have a bit of extra water to contend with, it didn't seem to effect us too much at all, as we experienced our fair share of success with the Grayling throughout the day.

Following the weekend I had a session higher up the river with John Dunn who wanted some casting tuition with his new salmon rod and skagit line in preparation for next season, but he also wanted to try his hand at the Grayling fishing too, and why not, as there definitely seems to be an upturn in fish repopulating the areas that fished very well a couple of years ago, and they certainly seem to have found there way back to these areas, "this is excellent news", as we often have to do a bit of searching further afield to find them.

John into yet another fish
John certainly found them ok, and after we wasted a little time trying to tempt them to the spiders, (which have been working recently) we eventually found them in the time served areas you might expect to find Grayling, hugging the bottom, and John then managed to catch a few, not to mention the several near misses he encountered too as some of the Grayling were being very touchy feely, as they often are, lightly investigating the flies as apposed to hitting them with any meaning, however, we had a good day regardless.

Unfortunately, the session I had booked in today had to be cancelled, as the river rose again yesterday, making conditions very difficult, especially as the guys were total beginners to Grayling fishing. Never mind, hopefully we can re-arrange, as it would be a shame to miss out on the good fishing we are presently enjoying.

One of several for John
I am looking forward to getting out on the river again as soon as possible, all the signs for this winters Grayling fishing on the Eden are looking very positive, which is great news. All we need now is the rain to stay away as much as possible and the river to behave itself for a while. "Here's hoping"! 

Monday, 29 October 2012

Time for Grayling

One I managed to land
Back from Wales last weekend, and as promised I have been indulging in a bit of Grayling fishing, albeit only for a couple of days, although my intention is to do a lot more when I have the time. I ventured out on to the middle Eden with my good friend Geoff Johnston over the course of this weekend, and although we had to search for them we did eventually find fish, and when we did we had some good sport and encountered some decent sized fish too. Both days produced some serious interest from the Grayling about two hours before dark, however, they were not fully convinced about our offerings and they were being very cautious in their interest. We both encountered and lost quite a few fish and good fish at that, and I remember commenting to Geoff that I couldn't remember the last time I lost as many fish in one session. Some takes simply tightened the line as if they were just investigating the flies and although the first contact was solid and the fish were on, they were often not on for long.

Geoff on the Bugs
Many of you out there that fish regularly for Grayling will have encountered this before, I know I have, several times, although my success rate is usually higher when this happens, and even when the rod tip was raised as the flies traversed the stream to allow for better hooking, it was still difficult to keep them on.

As we have discussed before, Grayling can be much more accommodating after long periods of settled conditions and Sunday saw an early morning frost which can often be very welcome when Grayling fishing as they are certainly not uncomfortable with low temperatures, however as Geoff pointed out when we first arrived, this was the first frost for a while and therefore outside of the norm (so to speak) and until it becomes the norm it could make the fishing difficult, he was right.

Geoff returns a fish of 15 inches
However we were blessed with our fair share of sunshine throughout the day too, which helped to make the fishing very pleasant. Unfortunately we are now getting rain again, which will influence the conditions, but hopefully not too much for now as I have a group out this coming weekend. Time will tell.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Salmon Season ends on the Eden

Jeff's Success
Yesterday saw the end of the 2012 Salmon season on the river Eden. However, not before we encountered a few more big fish coming to the fly along the way, as water conditions semi behaved themselves, at least on the higher beats, as the lower beats showed little relief from high water levels yet again. For all we have had quite a difficult season due to the persistent fluctuations in water levels, many of the anglers I have had out over the course of the season have come up trumps on several occasions, and as you can see from the pictures the last few days have been no exception as they show a few more success stories.

OK, A Joint Effort
I must mention my good friend Jeff who came up from Wales for three days tuition and fishing with me early last month, in what was proving to be rather difficult conditions, but I am glad to say that this did not phase him at all and the tuition we managed to get in during his visit came to fruition as he returned to the river with me just a few days ago to put it into practise and landed not one, but two fish of a lifetime. The first of which he insisted was a joint effort (although he did all the hard work whilst playing the fish) and the second was all Jeff, and a good job he did too considering these were his first ever salmon. "I think he is now hooked for life".

A big improvement in Jeff's casting

Another successful story was a day on the river with Bill, who came along with John Schofield who is a regular visitor of mine on the river. Bill hooked and landed his first ever Salmon and also lost a nice fresh fish close to the bank. A bit of bad luck though for Andrew Wiper, another regular visitor of mine, who has had a few fish with me in the past, as he hooked and unfortunately lost a good fish after an epic battle with what turned out to be a worthy advisory. As you can see we have certainly had a good spell of action over the last few days. "All of the fish in the pictures were carefully returned to the water.

Bill's first Salmon
I am off to Wales on Friday for the next assessment weekend for potential new AAPGAI instructors which will also take in the AAPGAI AGM and open day, this is an event worth coming to, especially if you have not been to an AAPGAI open day before. There will be plenty going on, including demonstrations and one to one tuition throughout the day, why not come along and see for yourself. Here are the details of the day: AAPGAI Open Day.

When I return from Wales I will be focusing on the Grayling fishing (if the water behaves) as I already have one or two people booked in for that, but when I am free I'll be indulging in a bit of that myself, it's great fun.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

And the Deluge goes On

An Icelandic View
Since my last blog I have now returned from Iceland where the fishing was unusually difficult for that part of the world, and for 9 shared rods over a 4 day period we only managed 19 Salmon with six Sea Trout over 3lb. Although this may sound reasonable by UK river standards, it is actually quite poor as Icelandic rivers go, considering we had around 115 salmon for only six shared rods last year, and 22 Sea Trout over 3lb. However, fishing is not alI about catching fish or we would simply call it "catching" and once again I really enjoyed the trip and I am considering a rematch again next year. The highlight of the trip for me (apart from the good company and excellent food) was my first encounter with Aurora Borealis (The Northern Lights) which I had the good fortune to gaze upon over two consecutive evenings "Fantastic".

Piaras playing a Nice Rainbow
Unfortunately upon returning home the weather was much the same as it was when we left, with the rain relentlessly returning time after time constantly contributing to unsettled river conditions yet again, preventing us from getting that spell of settled water we so desperately needed and still do. So with Piaras and Rab  arriving from Northern Ireland for three days Salmon fishing with me conditions were difficult and on the third day we had to fish a local stillwater for Browns and Rainbows as the river had swollen once more. However they did have some success with eight fish coming to Daddies and nymphs, a timely reminder of what a tight line felt like. Fortunately Piaras has been a couple of times before and has previously encountered our river Eden Salmon, but this was Rab's first visit, although he did seem keen to come again.

One of Christians Fish
Following a couple of casting tuition sessions, (when the river was out of order) and several youth sessions higher up the Border Esk for Borderlines, I returned to the river Eden again with John and Christian, two of my regular annual visitors who always seem to catch fish when they are here, and once again they did not disappoint as they managed to hook 5 Salmon between them, landing four of them. Three hen fish and one cock fish, which were all returned to the river, the biggest fish being around 18 - 20lb and as you can see from the picture below, it probably entered the river in the Spring, but what a magnificent specimen.

Probably Entered in the Spring
However, as I write this, the deluge continues, and the river is rising yet again. I just hope it returns to some kind of normality towards the weekend to offer a few more opportunities before the end of the season, which will soon be upon us. "Surely we deserve some respite from the rain over the next 11 days"! "Here's Hoping".

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Continuous Unsettled Water

The water has been so unsettled this year, with river levels rising and falling like an overzealous elevator, giving the salmon entering the system no time whatsoever to populate the pools in any substantial numbers, and therefore becoming well spread out throughout the river. Despite this there have been some good catches in places, with the majority of fish being taken on spinners. However in the interim when conditions have allowed, several fish have also been tempted to the fly, but unfortunately, as I am writing this, the river is rising yet again.

One winkled out by Alex
The constant high waters have also contributed to difficult periods of trout fishing, and at times almost impossible, but we have managed to winkle a few out on those days when the water clarity improved even though the river was generally carrying much more water than was ideal for this pursuit.

Apart from the usual tuition and fishing sessions throughout August, I have also enjoyed my involvement in a couple of additional weekend shows, which not only gave me the opportunity to meet some interesting people and indulge in a bit of socialising, but it also rekindled my passion for demonstrating and answering a few very interesting questions with regards to both casting and fishing techniques. The shows in question were The Lowther Game & Country Fair(formerly The Lowther Horse Trials) which I have not been involved with since 2008, and The Galloway Country Fair held at Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries & Galloway. I have attended both of these shows previously with Borderlines, but had the opportunity to be much more involved this year. If you have not visited these shows before they are well worth putting on your list of things to do in 2013, it would be great to see you there and have a chat!

The Galloway Show
Another good weekend in Dumfries & Galloway saw my good friend (and colleague) Glyn Freeman and I, running courses over a two day period for the Dumfries & Galloway Angling Association, as we have done for several years now, which has given us the opportunity to meet many of their members and hopefully pass on some techniques that may help them to encounter a few fish along the way during their outings on the river. "Great Guys"!

Guide Fly Fishing arranged another have a go day in August, this time for the local Penrith Angling Association and with a reasonable turn out the feedback from those involved was very positive and a good day was had by all.

Several youth sessions with schools and clubs again recently for Borderlines, introducing youngsters to fishing and the environment which can be very rewarding and enjoyable. Borderlines is a not for profit company formed in 2005 with the aim of removing as many of the
barriers to participation in angling as possible for all groups of the population regardless of age, ability, race, religion or social background, with particular emphasis on the disadvantaged, disabled, and those requiring rehabilitation. Borderlines relies heavily on funding to keep the good work going, and therefore any donations to the company would be very much appreciated in any form whatsoever.

With weather and water conditions constantly fluctuating, the fishing is difficult at the moment as the the last group I have had with me have recently discovered, and they fished the river very well. I was certainly impressed with the pace at which their casting skills have improved since our last session on the river as you can see in the brief video's (above & below) as Andy and Gary (two of the group) put out nice lines.

With reports constantly coming in of fish being caught along the river, and some good ones too, I am more than optimistic for the guys who are coming for some salmon fishing toward the end of the Month, and if the water can just settle for an extended period, then we will hopefully see some good results right through to the end of the season. "I will let you know".

However in the interim I will be off to Iceland to see if I can tempt some Atlantic salmon and sea trout over there, and I hear they are just getting some rain now after a long period of dry weather. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

More Crazy Weather

Andrew with a Rainbow
June and July have continued to be mainly a washout with persistant high waters making the fishing very difficult, especially the trout fishing, with very little insect life in attendance, however there have been a few days when the salmon fishing has been good with several fish being caught, mainly on the middle and upper beats of the river, but not with any consistency as the water is just not getting time to settle at all, and as soon as it looks as though it is going to drop in nicely, the rain returns yet again to scupper our chances. There is an up side to this unnatural summer though, as salmon are pushing well up the system which will hopefully bode well for their future progeny, so lets hope the winter months don't produce too many formidable floods that could potentially damage the redds, and if not I think we will see a further upturn in returning fish in the future, which we have already seen with the spring runs this year.

Doug Playing a trout
Plenty of tuition sessions though as the water conditions do not effect this whatsoever, but not much to report on the trout fishing front over the periods of high water, as conditions have often caused us to be off the river all together, however, during the few days when we could fish, a couple of the guys I have had out did get some trout, and we even spent a little time on a local stillwater as I took Andrew out (Pictured Top left) to do a bit of casting tuition whilst fishing for Rainbow trout, where he caught a couple of nice fish and missed a few chances too, so not all was lost.

Doug Douglass came back again this year after an earlier cancellation due to high water, so we did a little bit of casting tuition on the river whilst fishing for trout, and he did manage a couple of small trout, but not up to his usual standard as he has had some exceptional days in the past for both Salmon and trout. However as always we had an enjoyable day.

CAA (Guide Fly Fishing Event)
In the interim, as well as delivering the usual Borderlines youth days for schools and for Carlisle Angling Association (which once again saw another good turn out this year) I was also involved in a few open days for Guide Fly Fishing  with my friend and fellow instructor Jim Fearn. The days were aimed at local angling clubs and consisted of free tuition, whilst giving the members who attended an insight into some of the new fly fishing products available on the market today, and more importantly giving people the opportunity to try them out on the river. We still have a couple of these days to deliver this weekend.

AAPGAI & Borderlines Stall
I returned to the BFFI (British Fly Fair International) again this year, (held at the Staffordshire Show Ground in June) as part of the AAPGAI (Association of Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructors) demonstration team, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I was also asked to be part of the demonstration team for the West Cumbria Game Fair with another friend and fellow instructor Neil Barcock, this was held at Armathwaite Hall in Cumbria and was the shows inagural event. I think the show is now poised to become an even bigger event next year which will hopefully see the expansion of the fishing area. Well worth a visit.

Whilst water conditions on the Eden were unfriendly, to say the least, I took a trip down to Wales to stay with a very good friend and collegue. We fished the river Wye for salmon on day one, to no avail, but we then had a night on the River Dovey for Sea trout, which I am very fortunate to have been invited to do for several years now, which is one of my favourite indulgences, and once again we managed to encounter a few fish, (sea trout) up to around the 11lb plus range. If you have never experienced this type of fishing or this quality of sea trout before, then I suggest you book onto one of Illtyd Griffiths's courses and at least give it a go.

Lowther Show
This year will see my return to The Lowther Show, which is now called the Lowther Game & Country Show. This is a venue I have not attended since 2008 as the 2009 show was cancelled and saw the end of the show as we knew it. This year however, AAPGAI has been asked to run the fishing area, casting clinics and demonstrations, so I am happy to return to the event in this role with several other AAPGAI members. Let's hope it will be a great event and I hope to see many of you there over the weekend of the 11th & 12th August.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

A Turnaround in the Weather

A Hammered Klink
Since we last spoke conditions took a total U Turn toward the end of May, from cold days and a river holding it's water well, to a heatwave and the water dropping fast to much lower levels, making both trout and salmon fishing difficult once again. Despite these conditions though, there were evenings when we experienced good results with the trout fishing and the Klinkhammer became the go to fly, but the salmon slowed down significantly, as you would expect. Following this Mediterranean spell things did cool down again but weather patterns continued to be unpredictable for June and we are now experiencing high water again following heavy rain on Thursday and Friday and into the early hours of Saturday morning, which made the river unfishable on Saturday, especially the lower river which will now be out of order for a couple of days.

Male Adult Mayfly
Through the latter part of May and now into early June, there have been some good hatches of flies on the river, and a wide variety too, from sedges of all sizes, to olive uprights, Large Brook Duns, Yellow May duns, pale wateries and even the odd true (Danica) Mayfly. I did manage to get some good pictures with the macro lens on my digital camera of one or two of them, and just recently I witnessed a persistent hatch of Blue Winged Olives, spanning most of the afternoon and into evening affording us some good sport yet again.

Male Adult Olive Upright
I can't help thinking that if we hadn't been plagued by the persistant east winds we have experienced up to now this year, which have certainly contributed to lower temperatures at times, that hatches of insects would have been much heavier and more diverse, although that will hopefully change, and yesterday there were indicators that this will be the case as there was a large amount of June Bugs in attendance (Coch-y-bonddu beetles) on the mid river, which are generally seen on warmer days, (see picture, below right) but unfortunately as the water was high and coloured from the rain we had the night before, the trout were not paying much attention to these substantial mouthfuls of food as they were blown onto the surface, most likely due to the lack of visibility in the heavily stained water. 

Eden Coch-y-bonddu
In the interim period between the exceptionally hot weather we experienced toward the end of May, and the high water we have now, conditions improved yet again for the trout fisher, with last weekend being overcast and dull (despite the return of the east wind) the river was again fishing phenomenally well for brown trout. However, the high water we have at the moment is also good news for the salmon angler, as today the upper river is coming back into good condition, and if the water continues to drop, the lower river should fish much better for salmon around mid week, and we can then hopefully continue to enjoy the exceptional salmon season that the Eden has provided for many anglers already this season.

Eden Seat Trout
We have also had a few sea trout too, which are definitely in attendance, although there's not a great deal of angling pressure on them at the moment, as the evenings are still a little on the cool side to produce the kind of results that bring people out in numbers, having said that, it was warming up before this high water came, and the jungle telegraph will soon be kicking in along the river. In all fairness though, those that do venture out are the usual die hards that put the time in from year to year and they do deserve a fish or two, as they know what they are doing, but be aware, they are a secretive breed. A bit more sea trout fishing (late evening, early morning) is definitely high on the agenda, but this will have to be put on hold for a while until the river drops in again. I will keep you informed!
Playing a Tiger Trout
Continuing our work with youngsters, we delivered a couple of youth days again for Borderlines toward the end of last week, on a Loch in SW Scotland, with the few rainbow trout we caught coming to dries and suspender buzzers, and one of the youngsters even managed to land and return a tiger trout. This is a hybrid fish that is often artificially bred for fisheries, it is created by adding the milt of a brook trout to the eggs of a brown trout. It does occur in the wild where brook trout exist, (North America) but it is not that common. We have more youth days lined up for next week on the rivers.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Much of the Same (with a bit more rain)

Andrew playing a Brown Trout
As discussed in my last post (May 2nd) I intended to indulge in a little more trout fishing with my good friend Tony before the weather changed, and as luck would have it the day was quite a nice one, although to continue the trend the conditions were changeable throughout the day with warm spells when we caught a few fish, and cold snaps when we didn't. However during the day we did have some good sport and reports were also coming in of several Salmon being caught up an down the river.

A nice little Eden trout on the dry
The conditions over the following two days were very similar, but this time I was providing tuition and guiding for salmon and trout for a couple who were travelling up to the river Tweed the next day and then on to the river Tay to fish for salmon. We did see a couple of salmon as we arrived on the lower Eden, and following a tuition session they covered the water very well, but unfortunately to no avail as the fish had other ideas. Nevertheless they did drop me an email later in the week to inform me of their success in Scotland, with salmon of 7lb and 12lb as well as a successful trip to the river Dun back in England with a bag of seven nice trout. "Excellent News".

A Quick Photo I'm Afraid
However, not long after their departure from the Eden, things did take a turn for the better in the afternoon, as I decided to return to the river following a mid day tide, and managed to have a fantastic afternoon, with a Salmon of around 14lb on a size 10 double Cascade, and several very healthy and hard fighting brown trout on a dry Klinkhammer as the sun shone through and encouraged a hatch of olives, and in turn a prolific rise of fish, making the latter part of the day much more enjoyable.

We had a group of youngsters out again with Borderlines, this time on a local fishery for rainbow trout and they managed to catch a few too as you can see from the picture below, a really enjoyable evening session.

Another successful youth Day
The river rose again on the evening of May the 9th and continued to do so as the rain persisted, keeping us off the river from a fishing perspective, but it hasn't prevented a few casting tuition sessions with several people over the last few days, covering both trout and salmon techniques, during which time the water has been continually dropping to a fishable level again, mainly on the upper river at the moment as levels do drop off quicker in these areas.

The river is still holding extra water at the moment, but it is still fishing well at times, mainly in the slightly warmer spells, although it is taking some warming up of late, and both salmon and trout are being caught as we speak, unfortunately also as we speak the rain has returned and persisted all day today, so not sure yet what tomorrow will bring . Time will tell.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Good Catches "At Times"

A brief Glance before Freedom
The trout fishing has continued in good form, but only when the air temperatures have been kind to us. Let me explain! Throughout April (apart from a few intermittent days) the cold easterly winds we have experienced have persistently chilled the surface of the water, causing the temperatures to take a dive, which in turn contributes to the insect life switching off, making it difficult to target those fish that have been quite happily, and visually, picking off those Large Dark Olives that have been in attendance, almost looking as if they are trying to hide in amongst some prolific hatches of Grannom Sedge (caddis flies). However, as soon as the clouds part, the wind drops, and you can feel the heat in the air from the sun, the trout have become instantly active again, picking off these Large Dark Olives voraciously, with almost clinical precision, offering up some great sport once again, on both spiders and dries.
David with one of many
Apart from the continued cold snaps and awkward east winds we have been quite lucky with water height (most of the time) on the Eden, as the heavy showers skirted around us for long periods, and although on a couple of occasions the river did become swollen, it was nothing that kept us away from the trout fishing for too long as David and Steve encountered when they were out with me on the mid river. David having a red letter day one Saturday with around 15 fish, and whilst enjoying some good sport the following day on the lower river, he lost a fantastic trout which took off like an express train. This was not the only good spell though as many of us have enjoyed some very good double figure days throughout April. "Lets hope this continues into May"!

Although the Eden is no longer a prolific Spring Salmon river, I have to say that this years Spring run has been one of the best I have seen on the river for many years, with good reports coming in from several anglers of good catches, some recording multiple catches to their own rod. Considering that there are only a small amount of anglers now fishing for Salmon in the Spring, in comparison to pre 1999, when new byelaws were introduced preventing the removal of rod caught Salmon until the 16th June, this is therefore very good news.

A fish on the Dry for Stephen
The weather report for the weekend is for another cold snap, (but not rain) so I am off out again tomorrow with my good friend Tony, to see what the river gods have in store for us before conditions change once again. With more people coming for tuition and fishing over the next few days we will certainly not be letting the weather get in our way, and I will be sure to let you know how we got on in my next post. Goodbye for now!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

The Last Six Weeks

Borderlines School Session

Sorry I have not kept you all posted over the last few weeks, but I can assure you that it's not because there's been nothing going on, quite the opposite in fact, I simply haven't had the time to sit down and write about it, So I will attempt to do so now whilst I do have a little free time.

Amongst other things, lot's of people have been coming to get their casting and fishing techniques up to speed ready for the new season (now upon us). In addition to this I have been working with schools for Borderlines introducing youngsters to the final stage of their journey from the classroom into entomology sessions and onward into the joys of angling.

AAPGAI Open Day (Demo)
Lots of work with AAPGAI of late too, first of all an instructor training weekend on the river Eden, aimed at potential new instructors, and then following this, one of our assessment events and open day's which was held at cockermouth on the river Derwent, where members of the public could come along for a small fee and enjoy the many demonstrations, buffet lunch, and one to one tuition that followed.

River Tay Baggot
From there I was off up to the mighty river Tay, a little bit of salmon fishing ensued, although only the capture of kelts and a baggot I'm afraid, but very enjoyable. For those of you just starting out in Salmon fishing, a Kelt is a spent Salmon after laying her eggs or dispensing his milt (to fertilize the females eggs) trying to make it's way back to the sea (only a small percentage succeed) and a baggot is a fish (sometimes caught in the spring) that for whatever reason (stress maybe) has not spawned, or may even spawn very late. As you can see in the picture it looks very much like a back end hen fish in her spawning livery, but notice the flabby belly. Anyway, the main reason for my visit to Scotland was to assist in the assessments of potential new instructors for SANA (Scottish Anglers National Association) which also turned out to be an excellent event and very enjoyable when working with like minded people. So as you can see it's been a bit hectic.

Joe with his first River Eden Trout
Plenty going on back on the Eden though, and a few weeks ago we saw an influx of Spring Salmon entering the system with several fish being caught in the twenties, with the biggest to date weighing in at 27lb, but due to the low water conditions we have experienced since then, the Salmon catches have now slowed down again, but there are definitely fish about and when we get a rise in water again there will no doubt be a few more caught.

However, the low water conditions has not spoiled the trout fishing, as this can often contribute to some good catches at this time of year, especially if the temperatures are reasonable, and this has been the case (at times) I say at times, because we have also had some very cold snaps in between which did make the trout fishing difficult on occasions. That said, although we
Charles Playing a nice Trout
are having to work a little harder on some outings, we are now starting to see an upturn in catches, and we have recently been moving away from the weighted nymphs so that we can now target fish on the surface with north country spiders and a selection of dry flies, which I am sure you will all agree can be much more fun and very visual at times, but don't leave your nymphs at home just yet as we may be in for a drop in temperature once more over the next few days.

Charles with another trout
We are now moving into prime time for our trout fishing on the Eden and the last few days have been producing the right signs too. We are now beginning to make contact with a few more fish as the insect life begins to improve with olive hatches and sedges gaining in numbers and it has been great to see some steady hatches of March Browns returning to the river over the last few weeks too. It is also worth trying those stonefly patterns you are reluctant to remove from their pride of place in your fly box, as we have had some very good large stonefly specimens hatching of late, and the trout will often be tempted by a representation of the egg laying adult on the surface. "Give it a try", I'm off fishing!

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Milder Weather

Riverbank Snowdrops
As we now approach the end of February, the Snowdrops are showing solidarity  along the riverbank , which is always nice to see, not only for their beauty, but because this also creates a little anticipation toward the Spring, which we all know as anglers  will bring with it some eagerly awaited brown trout fishing, which I must say, has been exceptional over the last few seasons, with April & May seeing some phenomenal sport whilst producing some good quality fish along the way. "Bring it on".

Fly caught Grayling
February has also been reasonably mild this year, when compared to previous years, especially last year with its exceptionally cold weather, although the wind chill factor (when present) definitely brings the temperature down reminding us all it is still winter. This was particularly noticeable last Saturday during a double handed tuition session on the lower Eden. It is always a good idea to be well wrapped up (and layer your clothing) when spending a day on the river, especially at this time of year.

Another Successful Youth Day.
Whilst awaiting the brown trout season to kick in, we are still picking up a few Grayling on the fly, (see picture above) but as I mentioned in my last post, they continue to prove difficult, and unless you are familiar with the general hot spots on your particular beats and the methods required to entice those bottom hugging Grayling, (which is exactly what they are doing at the moment) then I am convinced that it would, at times, be almost impossible to catch them.

Nevertheless, as you can see from the picture, (above right) there is no stopping the youngsters, as they continue their success with Grayling on the swim feeders, which we had the pleasure to witness once again last week, whilst running a school fishing session as part of the Borderlines educational programme. "Brilliant".

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Where did January go?

Forgive the woolly hat it was cold
All of a sudden we are into February 2012, "Where does the time go"? Fortunately There has not been much missed in the latter part of January with fluctuating water conditions again which are not conducive to good results, especially for Grayling on the fly. That said, they are definitely there, and in good numbers too. I know this because we experimented with swim feeders on Saturday 28th January at Warwick Hall during a Borderlines session and encountered a dozen or so good sized fish that had been hugging the bottom and playing hard to get, which often happens with Grayling when the water is constantly unsettled. "So not all bad news".

Borderlines Day
I have been out again this month with Russell Williamson who was looking to catch his first ever Grayling on the fly, and although the Grayling continue to prove difficult to catch, he did have a couple of chances early in the day and lost a very good fish that dug deep in the water as the day drew to a close "very unlucky", but he will have his day.

Russell on the River
There are now reports of the first few Spring Salmon being landed on the river Eden, which as I mentioned last month was just a matter of time as the Salmon season gets underway, and they most certainly won't be the last fish caught.

So with the season in it's infancy, all the signs are positive and I am very optimistic with regard to what the Eden has to offer us again this year. "It may be unpredictable, but it never let's us down".