Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Bring On The Rain

One of the better fish
With River levels continuing to fall and water temperatures warm enough to take a bath in, you can imagine how difficult it has been lately to tempt some of the better fish to take the fly. Plenty of small fish at the moment, but in these conditions, to connect with some proper Eden Browns, you need to be targeting these fish very late in the evening, as the light fades into darkness, which at the present time is a very small window of opportunity. However, as any angler will tell you, because we are dealing with wild creatures, you can never say never, and from time to time, even in these difficult conditions, we have managed to tempt one or two decent fish to the net, as you can see from the picture above, taken on the lower river.

A Short Clip of one we Returned

Sea Trout are still in attendance on the river too, although they have slowed down a little since my last post, but if you are prepared to go out in what has been very pleasant night time conditions, as temperatures do cool down somewhat following the heat of the day, there is still a very good chance of a fish or two. Unlike Salmon, Sea Trout are very active at night and will often move upstream (and take!) in very low water.

However, Salmon anglers continue their frustration, as the present conditions have made it almost impossible to tempt these powerful fish to take, and we are all waiting patiently for the rain we have been promised over the next few days, to both freshen up the water, and to lower temperatures to a more comfortable level, thus encouraging fish to run the river and hopefully take our offerings. This fresh water (if we get it!) will also improve the trout and Grayling fishing too. "Bring it on".

Tuition at the West Cumbria Game Fair
I attended the West Cumbria Game Fair again this year on the weekend of the 13th & 14th of July as part of the AAPGAI team delivering the demonstrations down on the water in the fishing area, and this year I was also given a slot in the main arena on both days. The very hot conditions continued throughout the weekend which certainly made it much more suitable for demonstrating than it did for fishing.

A good fish in difficult conditions.
I have been out with people on the river again over the past few days, with limited success, although whilst employing some of the low water techniques we have managed to prove that it does still work to a degree, (as you can see from the picture on the right) but results are still very slow. Yes it's nice weather to be out on the river, but it is also nice to have the opportunity of catching a few fish too, and to help with this we desperately need some water, "so here's hoping".

Monday, 8 July 2013

Low Flows and Shows

With low flows set to continue on the river for at least another two weeks or so, the BFFI (British Fly Fair International) was a welcome distraction, as AAPGAI members once again took on the task of delivering the fly casting demonstrations at the Staffordshire show ground over the weekend of 22nd - 23rd June. The show was well received again and hopefully we will continue to do our bit in the future.

David to the rescue
It was nice to get back to the Eden valley though, where life is one paced, "and quite rightly so", but, with the persistent low flows on the rivers, the focus turned to a spot of Stillwater fishing on a local lake whilst introducing nine newcomers to the therapy that is fly fishing. Well in all fairness that's not entirely true, as one of the guys (David Pinner) was a previous client of mine who has now really got to grips with the art of fly fishing and left to his own devices he caught a couple of nice rainbows. That left eight total beginners to introduce to the mechanics of casting and some of the fishing techniques required to ultimately catch a fish or two. I shared this job with fellow AAPGAI instructor and good friend Geoff Johnston, and although conditions weren't ideal, the outcome was a good one with a couple of fish caught by the group and a few missed opportunities to boot.

One of several good Browns
Back on the river, conditions have been difficult at times as the low flows continue, despite the odd heavy showers we have had, however there are methods we can adopt that will often winkle out a trout or two in these difficult situations, and if all else fails, then early morning and late evening can often be the key, especially if during the day we have experienced periods of bright sunshine and high temperatures, which has recently been the case. Despite these far from ideal conditions, when we have put these tactics to good use, we have enjoyed some fantastic sport with some exceptional Brown Trout, with some evenings producing several good fish up to 2 1/2 lb.

Ken Whelan & Illtyd Griffiths
No sooner was I back home in Cumbria, delivering tuition and fishing sessions to a variety of people on the river, than I was off on my travels yet again, but this time to Northern Ireland for the Killyleagh Irish International Fly Fair. This is another event attended annually by AAPGAI, working closely with APGAI Ireland to deliver the casting demonstrations and individual tuition sessions at the show. The casting takes place in the castle grounds in the village of Killyleagh, a beautiful venue, overlooking Strangford Lough at the other end of the village. This is an excellent social event with fly dressers and demonstrators attending from around the world with all proceeds going direct to the Dibney River Conservation Trust. "A Great Show".

Whilst in Ireland I got talking to my good friend and recent AAPGAI colleague Professor Ken Whelan, (AST’s Director of Research) about all things Sea Trout, the conversation was inspired by one of Ken's many excellent presentations on this enigmatic fish. Add to that a conversation with our Chairman Illtyd Griffiths who has lived his life around Sea Trout fishing on the Welsh rivers, to discuss my pending trip to the Dovey, well you can imagine, boy did those dialogues put me in the mood for some nocturnal fishing on my return to the river Eden, and I was not disappointed either, as over the last
An Eden Sea Trout
couple of trips out I have managed to hook into four very good fish, landing only two of them I'm afraid, "must try harder". Although there are not many Sea Trout showing on the Eden at the moment, they are definitely in attendance and whilst searching the water for these fantastic fish there have been some cracking Browns coming to the net too. "Off out again tonight".