Clark Colman enjoys a short but memorable visit to one of his favourite Cumbrian hill tarns, Small Water, and meets a true Lakeland angling legend along the way. 

“Difficult of access and often disappointing” was how the Where To Fish guide for 1961-2 wrote of Small Water, an 11-acre tarn above Mardale in what Lakeland guidebook writer Alfred Wainwright called “the Far Eastern Fells”. I’m sure the contributor to this veteran publication had his reasons for such condemnation but as my line pulled tight halfway through the retrieve, and the rod bent against the dash of a wild mountain brown trout, I couldn’t have disagreed more.    


A Flying Visit

Regardless of the plump, lively fish that had snatched my fly, the dramatic scenery and atmosphere around Small Water was enough to render disappointment an impossibility. As to the difficulty of reaching the tarn, which lies at an altitude of just under 1,500 feet, I’m sure that by the time we’d returned to the cars, my companion for this short but memorable session had developed at least a degree of sympathy for the view expressed in my old book. 

This was the second time in two days that I’d dragged TFF editor Andy Taylor into the high Cumbrian hills. With the memory of yesterday’s exertions still fresh in his mind and legs, Andy will be the first to admit that he was in no hurry to set out on yet another steep climb! 

With plenty of trout and pictures already secured, along with changeable weather conditions and lengthy drives home looming, the plan we’d hatched over breakfast was simple. We’d drive up from our Kendal base to the Mardale Head car park and try some mountain stream fishing, while waiting for a sustained break in the weather that might give us a chance of the cover shot we were still after. If it came, we’d immediately strike out for Small Water before the clouds and rain descended again. If not, we’d carry on up the beck that runs down from the tarn into Haweswater for a little while longer before calling it a day.


A Familiar Face

As our Land Rovers picked their way through the driving rain, I wasn’t even sure whether we’d make it out of the car park. Still, we weren’t the only ones braving the wet weather and narrow, twisting roads in the hope of some sport to the fly. Another angler was already tackling up in a small lay-by near the Haweswater Hotel – no doubt intent on fooling a few of the better than average wild brownies that share their home in Mardale’s dramatic, moody reservoir with the occasional silvery schelly.

IMG 8608 TFF may 16
Tarn expert Terry Cousin shares his many years of knowledge of the Lake District waters

Taking your eyes off the road here can be risky even on a fine day, so I allowed myself only the merest glance to the left as I passed by, with Andy following close behind. There was something about the elderly chap’s face and attire – what little I saw of it – that seemed familiar, though at the time I was more concerned with road safety and reaching our destination than trying to remember where I’d seen him before!

Few vehicles had beaten us to Mardale Head that morning, and we were in two minds whether to applaud or pity the handful of hardy walkers setting off up the track into the fells. Even in the worst of weather conditions this rugged corner of Lakeland still has its charms, and with the rain still falling, Andy and I were perfectly content to sit in the front of his Freelander and put the game angling world to right, while watching white streaks of water streaming down the surrounding hillside ghylls, and dark clouds stalking over Harter Fell, High Street and the Nan Bield Pass. I thought of the other flyfisher we’d seen, and hoped that he too was taking shelter from the elements in the warm of his little white car.


Braving It On The Beck

Just as we were starting to contemplate heading for home, the rain eased off into a faint drizzle and an optimistic hint of blue sky appeared overhead. 

“It’s now or never!” announced Andy, so we sprang from the car, grabbed our gear and headed off across a slippery wooden footbridge towards Mardale Beck – a boisterous, gin-clear watercourse of boulders, pockets and miniature falls below the nearby confluence of Blea Water and Small Water becks.

main3 TFF May 16
The many becks also offer some superb sport and are well worth a cast between fishing the tarns.

Such high-gradient upland streams are seldom if ever, fished today, with few now containing those four-to-the-pound pan fillers that once delighted anglers of yesteryear. While I already knew for a fact that there were still one or two trout to be had in Mardale Beck, the racing currents and low temperature (even in May these hill streams can still be icy to the touch) meant that however hungry they might be, tempting one wouldn’t be anything less than challenging.

After a few minutes’ worth of pocket picking with a fixed-line duo setup, the bushy Retirer Sedge on the dropper disappeared as it drifted below a bankside boulder. I’m sure many of us have experienced what followed, and there are few things more humbling to a fly angler than four or five inches of startled wild brownie hurtling through the air towards you on the strike! 

I couldn’t help but beam with delight as I eased the size 16 barbless Copperhead Pheasant Tail Nymph from the corner of his mouth. His little spots were more orange than red, and they glowed like gemstones in the pale morning sunlight before the fish twisted out of my wetted hand and disappeared back into the tough, rough-and-tumble world from which, somehow, trout still manage to eke out an existence here.       


Putting A Name To A Face

With dark clouds looming once again, Andy was keen to reach Small Water before it got too late, so I reluctantly forced myself away from the beck and prepared to move off. I had, however, left my waterproof map case in the car, so decided to jog back and recover it rather than risk my map getting soaked to pulp by any further rain. 

In doing so, I discovered that the angler we’d encountered earlier had made his way down to the car park, and was now preparing to try his luck in the shallow, likely looking bay below it. He smiled warmly as I drew near, before asking where we were bound. When I explained that Small Water was our objective, as part of an assignment for a fly fishing magazine, he became even more interested. 

“I know it well,” he said over a firm handshake. “My name’s Terry Cousin.” 

It was then that I realised where I’d seen that wide-brimmed hat, spectacle cord and lean, outdoorsman’s face before. This was one of my all-time Lakeland angling heroes, whose newspaper articles and magazine contributions I’d read for years – but whom, until now, I’d seen only in photographs. 

An all-round angler, vintage-tackle enthusiast, former River Eden bailiff, award-winning entomologist and conservationist, Terry’s also the veteran fishing columnist for the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald. His sage advice on all matters piscatorial, and dedicated work on the significance of river flies for anglers and running-water environments in general, have benefited many related organisations both locally and nationally – and in 2008 brought Terry Cousin a special award ‘in recognition of excellence and achievement’ from the Association of Rivers Trusts and the Salmon & Trout Association.

I was honoured when Terry agreed to appear with me in front of Andy’s camera. You’d struggle to better his knowledge of the fishing to be had on Cumbrian hill tarns, and with Small Water evidently one of his favourites, I could quite happily have stayed to reap the benefit of his wisdom on this and other venues all day. 

However, with time running out for Andy and I, and the Haweswater trout awaiting Terry’s skilful attention, we said our goodbyes and parted company in the hope of meeting up again soon.


A Rewarding Climb 

Whatever mood the Small Water brownies might be in, my day had already been well and truly enriched by a hill-stream fish and a true Lakeland angling legend. And there were, even more, delights to come when, after a steady climb up a well-defined track, we scrambled up the final, narrower section and caught our first glimpse of the tarn. 

Surrounded by rocky, grassy slopes, and overshadowed by the dramatic Nan Bield Pass, its rippling and sun-dappled water was very welcome in photographic terms, and we soon had the potential cover shot we’d been hoping for. All we needed now was a trout or two; however, the cold water and bright, breezy conditions weren’t going to make this easy. 

Cast-and-step tactics near the entrance of a feeder stream on the southwestern shoreline came up trumps for me. Ten minutes’ work with a 9ft 6in 6-wt rod, slow intermediate line, 16ft leader of 4lb fluorocarbon and two traditional wet flies spaced eight feet apart, produced a solid, lightning-fast tug from a plump, plucky fish with spots like a leopard. For once, it hadn’t preferred the size 14 Black and Peacock Spider on the point, instead opting for the flashier charms of a similarly sized Silver March Brown on the dropper. 

Then it was my turn to go behind the lens as we negotiated our way round the rocky margins so that Andy could try his favoured area around another feeder on the shallower, shelving northeastern shore. His line, leader and flies had barely settled beyond the drop-off before our second, similarly sized, Small Water brownie was fighting for its freedom after pouncing on a black pearly Dabbler variant – also on the top dropper. 

IMG 8719 TFF May 16
These heavily spotted fish are truly beautiful!


Mission Accomplished

Our short but sweet second day in the Lake District mountains ended with a fairly quick descent back to the car park at Mardale Head – where, having caught two nice fish of his own on Haweswater, Terry Cousin was also packing up. Despite the aching legs, thumping heartbeat and dry throat he’d endured along the way, Andy had clearly been mesmerised by our hill stream and tarn adventures. As he bid goodbye to Terry and I, I’m sure that part of him wasn’t at all sure how easy it would be to return to stocked fisheries after the thrill and beauty of his first-ever tarn trout. I well remember having similar feelings over 20 years ago. 

For my part, it had been good to revisit Small Water – if only for a little while. Every inch the classic Lakeland hill tarn, my experience had been rendered all the more memorable for meeting Terry Cousin, and I’ll certainly never forget his parting words to me before I too headed for home.

“I didn’t expect to meet another angler out here today,” said Terry after another good chat and a final handshake. “And I’ve certainly met a friend.” What more could I have asked for?

end pic use big Tff May 16

Clark Colman refines his dry-fly techniques to enjoy good early season surface sport on a taxing but a productive river, whose wild brownies can often be found ‘looking up’ right from opening day… 

As a devotee of modern, light-line, European-style nymphing approaches, it’s not always easy for me to lay these aside in favour of other methods when the new wild trout season dawns on our rivers and streams. With over 80% of a trout’s food being taken sub-surface, and with insect hatches or falls yet to gain real momentum and volume, my first trouting sessions of the New Year usually involve the same techniques that serve me well for grayling during the autumn and winter. 

Wild brownies respond just as well as ‘the lady of the stream’ to the delicate presentation and sensitive take detection afforded by my favourite 10ft 2-wt and 3-wt rods, fixed-line leader-only setups, and tungsten-beaded bugs presented on the finest tippets that conditions and fly weight allow. With bumper catches possible right from opening day, it’s all too easy for me to become fixated by such approaches. However, there are times when greater flexibility is called for in making the most of changing situations or a venue with certain fish-feeding peculiarities of its own.


Speculate To Accumulate  


One such place is a largely unknown and very challenging river lying a short distance from my former home in the northeast Midlands. Seldom more than thigh deep, the narrow, gin-clear and largely sedate stretch on which I tend to concentrate appears made for the single-fly French nymphing technique, especially at the start of the season.

MAIN3 dries from the off 2
Given the mild winter we have had this year, don't be surprised to see early hatches of winged flies...

Given the right conditions, dry-fly fishing is equally productive at this time. The shallow water here can warm up a good deal earlier than on other, deeper rivers nearby, which stimulates a good deal of early aquatic plant growth and invertebrate activity. As a result, the river often enjoys decent hatches of that familiar early season upwing, the large dark olive, not to mention ‘hardy perennials’ like black gnats and midge. So if ever I’m in the mood for some good surface sport right from the off, this is one of the places to which I head.

 IGP2844 dries from the off 3
... especially in the  shallower runs and glides

Tackle For Twitchy Trout


One particular dry-fly session on this difficult but rewarding venue stands out in my memory. It started on a crisp April mid-morning around three years ago, under bright blue skies, minimal cloud cover and piercing sunlight, which, together with the river’s crystal-clear water and intermittent rises, foretold of wary fish and the great care that would be demanded in terms of equipment, fly patterns, watercraft and presentation.

With little opportunity to get close to trout, my 9ft #3 tip-flex rod would allow me to cover them at distances beyond the reach of a French or presentation leader, while still aiding delicate presentation. The latter would also be helped by a more gently tapering weight-forward line for tight loop formation, turnover of long, light-tippet leaders and minimal landing impact. The one I opted for sported a willowy-olive colour – a perfect compromise between visibility and minimisation of line flash.

I’m usually well outside my comfort zone with anything less than 12 feet of tapered leader when dry-fly fishing. Given the conditions, today would have been no exception, and I was thankful for the largely clear surroundings and lack of downstream breeze that rendered a necessarily longer leader both possible and comfortable. The one I used was formed by barrel knotting a 5ft tippet of 0.10mm copolymer to the 0.12mm point of a 9ft tapered leader. 

I’ve been a convert to the drag-reducing benefits of long, level tippets for some time now (largely through Jeremy Lucas’ influence), and was confident that such a leader configuration could be more than adequately presented via my choice of rod and line. To further aid turnover I’d also removed the small welded loop at the tip of my fly line in favour of a needle knot line-to-leader connection, which is far more efficient in transferring energy (built up during false casting) from fly line to leader. 

The raised, open banks on my side of the river entailed keeping a low profile while observing rise forms and choosing an appropriate fly pattern. There were one or two large dark olive duns on the water, but from my vantage point, it appeared as though the trout preferred more easily targeted emergers over fully hatched adults that could disappear in a second. 

In such circumstances, an appropriately sized Parachute Adams or my own GPE (General-Purpose Emerger) usually finds its way onto my tippet. These are hardly the stuff of legends when it comes to creativity; however, I seldom find the need for anything more complex at this time of year and prefer (on the basis of experience) to prioritise presentation over close-copy imitation.

MAIN4 dries fromtheoff tff 4
Bringing fish downstream to the net quickly in the shallow glides will avoid spooking the other rising fish upstream.


Gently, Bentley! 


Recent work by Paul Procter, Dave Southall and others has questioned the need for regular degreasing of dry-fly tippets on running water and instead argues for the greater benefits of slack-line casts and tippet collapse in aiding natural, drag-free drifts. I don’t doubt for one second that their experiences and expertise more than bear this out; however, I’m at my most confident when using all available ways of minimising poor presentation – especially on this hard taskmistress of a river. 

Thus, before sliding carefully down the bank into the gin-clear water below, I went through my usual leader-preparation drills. First up was greasing everything to within three feet of the fly, to ensure clean, smooth pick-up when rolling or lifting off into the next cast (or striking into a fish). I then used sinkant paste to degrease the remainder of the tippet, which would prevent it silhouetting on the calm, oily surface like a scratch on a mirror. 

Whatever technique I’m employing, I always try to get as close to rising fish or likely looking areas as possible, so as not to jeopardise presentation and line control with longer than necessary casts. In this respect, the gravelly riverbed offered comfortable, secure wading, which very much supported the ‘gently, Bentley’ approach that would make all the difference between success and failure that day. Even with the slowest and subtlest of leg movements, I could do little to prevent expanding ripples from arcing upstream towards rising trout; however, the tail of a narrow, foam-flecked run afforded a measure of cover from which to make my first casts. 

Smooth acceleration to crisp stops over a narrow casting arc served to load the rod and turn over the long leader with minimal fly line beyond the tip. After three failed attempts, I managed to drop the size 16 GPE just above the nearest rising fish, and up it came. Afraid that his splashy acrobatics would spook other trout in the run, I quickly steered this plump, vividly-spotted 10-incher downstream and into the net for a quick photo, before releasing him back into the cold, clear water.


Parachute Adams Variant


Urban Oasis flies f 5

Hook: Orvis Classic Extra-Fine Dry-Fly, sizes 14 to 20
Thread: Semperfli Nanosilk (grey) 
Tail: Mixture of Grizzle and Rhode Island Red cock hackle fibres
Abdomen & Thorax: Hare's Ear or Wapsi Superfine dubbing (Grey) 
Wingpost: Orvis Poly Pro Yarn (White)
Hackle: Grizzle and Rhode-Island Red cock hackles, wound together


GPE (General Purpose Emerger) 

Clark Colman FLY

Hook: Kamasan B100/B100 Gold, sizes 14 or 16
Thread: Semperfli Nano Silk, olive
Abdomen: Stripped Peacock quill, dyed olive; varnished for protection
Wing: Two natural CDC plumes, backward-sloping
Thorax: Olive-dyed Hare's ear
Legs: Dark dun cock handle, clipped

Something A Little Bigger…


With large dark olives continuing to trickle off, and the run rested briefly, the antics of this first fish wouldn’t prevent more of a similar size from following in reasonably quick succession – providing, of course, that I’d dried the fly with floatant dust and retreated the leader. Then, while distracted by a busy water vole some little distance upstream, I almost missed the slow, unhurried swirl that engulfed the GPE in the shade of a left-bank reed clump.

Clearly no 10-incher, the trout bolted off upstream as I struck, accompanied by all the line I’d retrieved (at the same speed as the current) to keep in touch with the fly as it drifted back downstream. More line followed by a singing reel, before the fish paused, hung in the placid current and shook its head a couple of times – always the sign of a bigger brownie. Then it was off across the river, intent on burying itself under the bank. 

A big tail and long, golden-olive flank slapped angrily on the surface before the hooped-over rod tip sprang backwards and the barbless GPE dropped sadly down to the surface. “At least you know they’re here,” I said to myself, in a not-entirely-successful bid to assuage my guilt at losing what was clearly a very special trout for this river. 


Onwards And Upwards


It soon became obvious that the escapee had put his smaller cousins to flight, so I crept slowly upstream to the tail of a wider, slower and even shallower run, where I’d observed several fish rising consistently while tackling up. They were still there, and in good numbers too, but longer casting and even greater care with presentation were necessary here.

At times I was my own worst enemy in this respect. Whether mulling over my lost ‘monster’, engrossed in watching the fly or distracted by my new friend the water vole, I wasn’t always quick enough in retrieving line to maintain drag-free contact with the GPE. This caused a loop of line to pass behind the rod tip, creating a ‘pulley wheel’ effect that zipped the fly downstream in a pronounced V-wake – clearly very offputting to the trout. Also, if takes from less-discerning fish had come at that point, I’d have needed to lift the whole loop off the surface before driving the hook point home – by which time they’d likely be long gone. 

A bit more self-discipline was necessary to bring several more pretty wild brownies to the net, including a fine, olive-hued and large-spotted 13-incher. Given their preference for helpless emergers, takes weren’t exactly hurried, and the number of rising trout here made it all-too-tempting to recast immediately if the GPE passed over one without disappearing. This would, however, have caused much disturbance, so I waited until the fly, leader and fly line were well downstream, raising the rod tip all the while to create a D-loop, before gently rolling the line high off the water and accelerating into the back cast.

Given current weather conditions, this day on one of my all-time favourite early season rivers seems like a long time ago. To judge from the cold, wet and windy scene outside, not to mention the welcome fire crackling in the hearth, it’ll be a little while yet before the large dark olives start to appear in sufficient numbers to warrant resting my nymphing rods and heavy bugs. 

When they do, however, I might well celebrate with a trip back to the Midlands, armed with a light-line dry-fly outfit and a box of appropriate imitations – plus a reassuring tub of leader sinkant or two! 

For all the satisfaction I get from leader-only, European-style nymphing tactics, I must admit to missing the sight of a fly line and leader unrolling over a rising river brown trout. It should at least make for a nice break from the norm, and hopefully, Mr Vole will be there too – I do miss his company! 


 IGP2986 Dries from the off 5
Don't rule out the dries this spring... 


 IGP2941 Dries From The Off 6
... the rewards are well worth it! 


(Photography by Will Burn) 


Angler Profile

Name: Clark Colman

Tel: 07752 268073

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Web: www.edipflyfishing.co.uk

Clark Colman is the Fly Fishing Specialist at Orvis UK’s Harrogate store. He also runs EDIP Fly Fishing – a popular guiding service operating nationwide. 


Fishing on your lunch break – sounds brilliant and wouldn’t it be awesome if you could do this every day. Fishtec’s Ceri Thomas simply couldn’t handle missing out on the spring hatches... so he started doing just that.

For a good few years lunch time angling never even crossed my mind, despite the river Usk being just up the road from the Airflo and Fishtec HQ. Evening fishing after work yes - but never at dinner time. I simply couldn’t fit it in – or could I?

Lunch time magic for Tim Hughes use

The problem was in early season you don’t get an evening rise, just a lunch time rise. And on the Usk, it’s brilliant in early spring, with the legendary march browns and the large dark olive hatches.

Lunch time Usk Trout use

As normally happens by the weekend the Welsh rain is back and it’s blown out ... you miss the hatch but it’s frustratingly perfect again by the middle of the week.  I was missing out big time; the weekend just wasn’t enough.

The answer was to try and hit the river at lunch break, just in time for the fly emergence and enjoy casting at rising fish, with the challenge of squeezing this into just 30 minutes or so.

I took some inspiration from my fishing pal and fellow team member Tim Hughes. It turns out Tim had been sneaking down to the river to get his fix! So it was entirely possible, I just had to make the jump and give it a try.

Here’s how I do it: rod is pre-rigged with line, leader and fly ready attached. Fly is pre-ginked, leader already degreased.  Waders and boots are at the ready in the boot. No vest, just a few essentials in the jacket. With fly choice I go with what I think will work, usually dry. No time to switch methods or for many fly changes. It’s basically a one fly, time limited lunch time challenge.

One fly challenge use

My chosen beat is literally down the road at Brecon Town – a 2-minute drive. Sling the waders on, boots over the top. Don’t bother with gravel guards. Then literally RUN like crazy down to the river whilst pushing the two rod sections together, beginning false casting on the way. As I move, the fly is unhooked from the keeper ring and bingo you are fishing, all within 5 minutes.

I time my break with the hatch and hope to hit the best time of the day. Keeping tabs on Facebook and online reports really comes in handy for this. Avoiding a blank is the ultimate goal, with just one fish making it a proper result. Even a blank is fine though; simply being on the river watching a dry drifting for 20 minutes is a great break from the office.

My record is 4 fish, I’ve had a few 3’s, ones or two’s are fairly frequent and so are the blanks. Tim recently had 6 (the record!). Lunch time angling has been great for a bit of product testing - waders for example, prototype fly lines and the new Airflo Airlite V2 fly rods have all been baptised on the river in the past month.

On the dry fly use

It's nice to see the river as a snapshot in that little daily window. Things can change radically from day-to-day; sometimes there is a hatch of fly galore, others times the river remains dead and grey.  Hurricane winds, dog walkers and canoes, high water, snow and rain have all played their part. It’s all good.

So to conclude lunch time fishing can be done! It’s simply great to be out trying to catch a fish. Next time you are on your lunch break, gazing out of the window thinking about trout, do some research on where your nearest bit of water is - you might be surprised at what you can fit in.

Day and season permits for the Breconshire River Usk Fishery association are available from the Fishtec tackle shop in Brecon.

Fishing Brecon town water


Word's and Pictures from Fishtec Fly

Veniard - The Harvester

Steve Cullen shares The Harvester, which should be all you need to pick off the better early season trout! 


Having done a lot of my river fishing around the start of the season, because this is usually when the ‘muckle troot’ come out to play, there are two flies that dominate – Large Dark Olives and March Browns.

There are a myriad of patterns that can be tried to tempt fish feeding on these flies at the surface, from Spiders, Waterhen Bloa, Partridge and Orange to the good old Greenwell’s Glory. But, and it’s a big but, most flies will have a productive period, a time during the hatch when it mimics whatever it is the naturals are doing.

The Harvester, which is an adaptation and amalgamation of several of my favourite tried and trusted patterns, seems to catch throughout the hatch period and in most flows, too.

It looks like the real deal but, importantly, and this is the key for me, it behaves just like the real deal.

The addition of a dubbing loop of dirty yellow CDC just in behind the wing post seems to really work wonders and triggers something deep in the trout’s feeding psyche.

Another few attributes worth mentioning, and no doubt you can tell from the images, is the use of solely natural materials, materials that move and breathe, yet at the same time have that insecty look of many of our upwing species.

The fly, when it alights on the water, from my perspective anyway, looks exactly like the naturals do as they float in the current, set to take flight when their wings are ready. This dead drift phase can be deadly on the tails of pools, where I often find the larger, less gung-ho trout!


Hook: 130BL, size 12 or 14

Thread: Light Cahill

Tail: Coq de Leon

Body: Olive stripped herl

Thorax: Dirty yellow CDC, in dubbing loop

Wing: Five CDC feathers

For Best Results

Flies For All Seasons The Harvesters Veniard April 16


I like nothing better than to sit on the bank and survey a vast swathe of water. The more I have to focus on the better. Long flat glides, at the tail of pools, just as the water shallows up and speeds towards faster flows. 

On this flat, oily water rises are easily picked out, but you must sit on your hands. Let the little ones rise and the big boys will soon follow. For prospecting find fast pocket water. ‘Popply’ water is best because you can get up close and personal with the trout without them fleeing!



The sensible time to attach this Harvester to the end of your tippet is spring. For me, it was when I started to see the daffodils in bloom, although it must be said that this year I saw some in early February!

March, April and May are bankers for this pattern but, given the size and look of the fly, it does a really good job well into June as the mayflies hatch in numbers. I’ve even had trout take this for the spent late on in the evening, indicating that they were so switched on they would have taken a Coke bottle top if it floated past them!



Dry-fly fishing is all about fooling that one trout, the individual that you are keyed in on, the fellow that has piqued one’s interest. I’m very patient, only once it rises will I apply fuller’s earth to my tippet. My tippet is usually two feet of 0.12mm tied to the end of a 12ft leader tapering to 5lb. I will add floatant to the end of my fly line. Success is all in the detail. By the time I have done both of these the trout should have risen again. This tells me it’s feeding, not just a random ‘oncer’.

I false cast to get line working through the rings; not much, never more than five metres. I like to get as close as possible and if that means getting on my hands and knees, so be it. I always cast short, gauge the line I need, pull it off the reel and deliver the fly a good metre above the riser.

Takes will be instant, even if it’s not dead in the feeding line. At this time of the year, the trout are on it!


Tying The Fly

STEP1 veniard april 16
Place the hook into the vice and wind on the thread. At the end of the body create a bump with several thread wraps. Tie in some Coq de Leon, same length as the body, butt the thread up to the bump to splay the tail


STEP2 veniard april 16
Prepare the herl and secure at the rear. Now take some varnish to the body, this makes the herl less fragile, before winding the herl up in touching turns to the thorax area.


STEP3 veniard april 16
Take five CDC feathers and take your time and align the tips so that they all sit flush. Try and pick feathers of the same size and density.


Tie in the CDC with tight locking turns, leave some space just behind the eye for use later. Once locked in place, trim the butts and tidy up with thread wraps. 


Create the dubbing loop at the end of the thorax area and prepare the CDC fibres, add a little wax to the dubbing loop for grip.


STEP6 veniard april 16
Slide in the CDC fibres and spin the loop, not overly tight, then wind on as the thorax, stopping at the wing post and trim. Now bring the thread up and under the wing post and use thread wraps to push the post back and upright before tying off.

Glen Pointon relives the day he caught a huge river brown trout from a city river just a short walk from his front door…

I have always hunted specimen fish. Even as an eight-year-old sat there with my non-fishing dad, watching the bobbing of a hand-painted oversized perch float, I always had the thought “Is it a big ’un?”

The adrenaline kick from the rushing thoughts in my mind was my drug. I couldn’t get enough of that feeling and now, at 40, I feel no different. Is this my downfall or a bonus? I don’t know, but one thing for sure is that fishing has driven me to many lows and massive highs.

Travelling around parts of Europe and the UK I have searched out big fish and had reasonable success, but my 2015 season brought something special… and it was right on my doorstep!


Trout In The Trent


Stoke-on-Trent is my home soil, a city of five towns and known in past times for its huge pottery industry, which devastated the source of the river, turning it into a lifeless drain.

The industrial revolution took its toll on the Trent and it wasn’t until the 1970’s recession that the river started to become cleaner. This is when it became the river fishing Mecca of the UK, with hundreds of anglers lining its banks.

Times, however, have changed and anglers have moved onto stillwater commercials to get their fix. Over the last 30 years Environment Agency (EA) groups have kept up with modern times and this 184-mile river has now become clean. It was in 2015 that my River Trent trout fishing story began.

When we think of the Trent we usually imagine the massive river of the lower reaches, but here in Stoke it’s small and has some of the looks of a bumbling trout stream like my local River Dove. 

In the last few years I have always looked over bridges after work and watched small shoals of chub and dace, and dreamt of seeing trout. Around four years ago that dream came true as before my eyes I saw a small trout of 8oz flitting around a fast gravel run. I was buzzing and before long had caught my first-ever Trent trout. I felt proud as punch.

Another few years passed and I had been hitting the Dove hard, but now and again I would go and have a look at my little Trent to see if any more trout were about.


The Buttercup Warrior


It was late October 2013 and the trout were out of season as I walked along to my favourite ‘sighter’ bridge and peered over the edge. What I saw turned my next few years into a total obsession.

Behind a boulder midstream, in three feet of water, was a trout; not your average 10-incher, but a huge wild buttercup warrior that looked as wild as they come.

I froze on the spot. I didn’t move a muscle. My eyes gazed with anticipation as I watched its every move.

It was there for a reason. It came to the surface, inhaled a fly, flashed its heavily marked red spots and buttercup flank and bolted downstream to its home.

For me this had everything I could dream of: a big wild Trent trout that rises to the natural, and within five minutes of my house! I went back home with a smile on my face so big my missus thought I was I was having an affair. I was, and for two years it would be with this big, wild, female buttercup trout!


Learning From Nature


My first attempt at this fish was a big lesson. So many Dove fish I had targeted I had caught after a few sessions, but as I strolled up to the river I soon realised I was into something that would be near impossible. It would teach me how to fish at another level.

The first few weeks I had been down all rigged up ready to fish and I simply could not get near the trout. It would drift into position and start to feed above and below the surface but any sudden movements by myself would send the fish bolting to its home under a fallen tree. 

This went on for weeks and in the end I found that crawling in from the side got me into a spot where I could be 20 feet away with the fish in full view.

To my right was a bridge where the fallen log and flood debris held, which was home to this fish. It would swim out upstream of the bridge to sit behind a boulder the size of a bucket and move from left to right, focusing upstream on any food sources drifting down or hatching. The boulder would just take enough flow out of the main current for it to be a perfect feeding zone.

The first time I took my rod after all the homework on this fish, however, was my last time for the season…

I was sitting there in position, the trout was in its feeding zone and hard on the feed. This was my big chance. I peeled line off my reel. Behind the trout was a shoal of small chub that saw my rod whip around to the side. They all shot off upstream and the trout instantly sensed danger and bolted.

I was gutted. I now had to deal with shoals of coarse fish above and below this trout that were acting as spies. Rod flashes, coarse fish, movements, and one big, hardy, wised-up trout – I was really up against it. That was about it for my 2014 season hunting down this Trent beauty, as I had become distracted by some River Manifold trout, but in the back of my mind, I felt failure for not carrying on.


Time To Return


After a decent grayling season 2015 came around and in early March I took a wander around my failure spot.

"So there I was in position, the big hen rising at midday, taking the odd olive and anything that looked like food on the surface."

The season’s floods had changed the riverbed slightly and some kids had rolled a big boulder into the river, not knowing that to me this was a gift from the trout gods!

It’s one of nature’s wonders that year after year, after a hard winter of floods and extreme cold temperatures, trout return to their homes in the same spots. I have now watched the same trout on a Dove tributary for seven years and it’s never moved!

IMG 8525
The Derbyshire rivers were Glen's normal fishing haunts until the Trent trout became an obsession and addiction.

My only worry was that the fish on the Trent would have been old and died, but on March 14th, my birthday and the start of the trout season, I was gifted with a sighting of the big buttercup hen trout I had been targeting.

Just the sighting gave me palpitations, she moved into the flow for at least 30 seconds, and that’s all it took for me to become totally obsessed with holding this beauty. I had a clear mind, it was early season and I began to study this fish like no other.



Trout On My Terms


The first few weeks of the season brings the magic large dark olive hatch. The big girl knew this and from 11.30am until 12.30pm there was a burst of activity when she would swim out of her home and bully all the other fish from the feeding zone. I got to know so much about the behaviour of this trout from hours of watching it.

The boulder that had been thrown in the river was the new spot for the trout; it was some 10 yards further upstream from its last feeding zone and it gave me a chance to get into a decent casting position. 

I have watched trout rise for many years but I had never seen one as wary as this, it was so zoned into being predated itself it would rise to one single olive and bolt to its home downstream and within a minute it would cautiously ghost back to the feed zone. With heavy predation from birds and pike, to survive in these conditions takes some skills.

Everything was set up for me; even the chub were in the deeper water out the way this early in the season!

So there I was in position, the big hen rising at midday, taking the odd olive and anything that looked like food on the surface. It wasn’t locked on to a certain food source – they never are on these neglected rivers, they eat what they can to survive – and I peered into my fly box, with size 19 Blue Winged Olives, Large Dark Olives and F Flies, all tied on thin little quaint hooks.

I knew this fish would take anything but I needed something with a strong hook. I am not an angler with rows of immaculate flies and when I saw a size 14 Bibio from Scottish loch fishing it just screamed out at me.

The famous Bibio is sadly a pattern not associated with rivers but that’s the anglers’ loss – this fly has caught me more big trout than any other. 

I had planned in my head what would happen when I hooked this fish; it would bolt downstream under the bridge in at least two seconds so I had just that amount of time to turn it. If it went under the snags it would be all over very quickly. I opted for some 1.8kg Stroft, something I could hopefully turn the fish with.


Two Years Of Waiting


I tied the Bibio on with a Palomar knot – one that is a pain to do and rarely used on dries, but the strongest there is – and greased the fly up.

I waited, glaring like a madman, for the fish to rise to a natural and it did, I loaded the rod once and shot my Bibio five feet above the fish.

The fish twitched its head as it confidently sighted my fly. I just knew it was going to take it. I watched in amazement as it approached the fly, this was sheer adrenaline like I had never experienced. There’s a quick flash in my mind thinking “two years, don’t mess it up!”

The trout’s mouth came over the fly. I was shaking and stalled slightly from the total pressure in my mind and struck! I felt nothing and the Bibio flew behind me! The fish bolted home and I had my head in my hands.

I sat there totally deflated, thinking of ways to make me feel better. At least I got it to take the fly but I messed it up big time, my nerves went.


Take Two


Ten minutes passed; a couple of local homeless lads were drinking Stella on the bridge. I had got to know them as they had seen me spending so much time there and even they looked gutted for me as I told them. 

As they strolled off I glanced into the river and did a double take as the big buttercup hen was on station looking for surface food again.

I went through the whole process again, only this time my line tightened up as I struck the Bibio home. The fish went absolutely berserk and leapt out the water straight up like a salmon three times in the same spot. I had never seen a trout do that.

It then bolted so quickly it took me by surprise and I had to go running into the middle of the river to stop it going into the roots. 

I gave it some serious stick beyond what I was happy with but it worked and it stopped in its tracks with another spectacular jump.

I saw a weakness then in its fight as it started the old trick of staying deep and plodding around the bottom. The fish was tired but not letting go.

The trout made one last dart but it was too late, I had won the battle. I turned the fish and sank the net under it.

20150413 135051
The buttercup warrior, well worth two years of waiting!

The buttercup warrior, well worth two years of waiting!I left the fish in my floating net at the side in the water, threw my rod on the bank and sat in the edge with an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction.

The fish had not yet been out the water and I let her revive before I took a good look at her.

I lifted her out to see the most amazing looking big trout in its glorious colours! I had studied and watched this fish in the water for two years and now I was blessed to see her in a way only a fisherman can.

She was lovelier than I thought, a picture postcard for how a trout should look! I took a quick picture and just let her drift back off – oh the satisfaction of catch and release.

I drove home that night with a smile on my face. A car cut me up and I had to swerve over the road, I remember it well. I even waved to the driver and accepted his apology with a smile! Fishing is good for the soul and mind.

20150715 200524
Safely returned to the clean water of the Trent!

Later in the summer, I walked the banks of this urban Trent with a cocky attitude and often watched the big hen rising. I never once had any intention of casting at her again. I saw lads with spinning outfits off the bridge but she is too wary for them. 

Half a mile downstream I saw a dark shape under an overhanging tree… it turned and showed its flank, a fish so big it made my knees wobble! 

Oh no, it’s starting all over again…

Simon Robinson has fished over 30 times for England in all disciplines. Here he reveals some of his top tips for practising in competitions on still and running water.


Most anglers who fish competitions will also practice for the upcoming match. As with any sport, having a solid game plan is often the difference between success and failure. Practice allows the angler to prepare methods and flies in advance of the match and hopefully cut down on any time wasted during the competition looking to find the successful method or locate the fish.

Most matches in England are divided into three categories – loch style from the boat, stillwaters from the bank and rivers. Each discipline is very different and has its own methods, tackle requirements and competition format. To be consistently successful in each discipline it is important to understand the best ways to practice to maximise your chances in the match.



Loch-Style Boat Matches 


8 Whickhope
On the big-water matches location is one of the key factors to being successful. Find the fish and then fine-tune the tactics.

Most loch-style matches are held on the UK’s well-known major fisheries such as Rutland, Chew Valley or the Lake of Menteith. They are normally fished over a single eight-hour period. Anglers fish in pairs, which are drawn randomly, and can fish anywhere on the lake (unless out-of-bounds areas are in place). Most major competitions usually take up the vast majority of the available boats and with most anglers practising the day before, if you intend to practice it is vital to book a boat well in advance!




It may sound obvious but the key to success in boat matches is almost always fish location. In loch style you are not restricted to pegs or beats, so you will have the whole area of the lake or reservoir to fish. This can, of course, create issues because our larger reservoirs, such as Rutland, are too big to cover in a single practice day. For this reason you may wish to practise for more than one day if time and cost do not become too prohibitive. It is also a good idea to share information with others anglers. If possible, structure your practice by splitting the lake into sections so that you cover the whole venue between you. This is particularly useful in team events.



Fish Depth

Depth is probably the next critical element of practising for a loch-style event. Because you are likely to be practising with a boat partner, it makes sense to fish different lines at all times. I usually opt to fish a line at least two sink rates either higher or lower than my partner. For example, if my partner is on a floating or intermediate line I will use a Di3. If fish are deeper and my partner is using a Di3 or medium sink I will opt for an ultra-fast-sinking line such as a Di7 or Di8. I feel that is important because there are significant differences in sink rates to cover as much of the water column as possible. Only when we are happy that we have the taking depth should both anglers begin to fish similar lines and experiment with flies and retrieves.




Teams Of Flies

While I do not feel that flies are as important as depth or location, you do need to have a selection that you have confidence in. In most loch-style matches you will be fishing a team of flies. Generally, the fish will show preferences for lures, nymphs or dries. When this is established, I believe that the exact pattern is usually of little importance. If lures are the most successful method it makes sense to fish a bright one such as an Orange Blob or Cat’s Whisker on the dropper and a drab lure in black or olive on the point. If you are drifting over fish and varying the retrieve you should quickly be able to establish the methods that they prefer.

When I am practising for boat matches I like to locate fish and initially spend time working with my partner to establish the best methods to catch them. When you are confident in the methods you can then move around the lake searching for fish with confidence that if you cover some you will get takes.


Practice Makes Perfect Flies

Practice makes perfect flies 2


Keep Your Eyes Open

When practising it is always a good idea to keep an eye on other boats; they can provide a lot of valuable information. If you are struggling to catch and you notice other anglers catching it is worth taking time to observe their methods, even if they are not in the match. Look for telltale signs such as the colour of fly line. Is it dark or light? What angle is the line entering the water during the retrieve? While you can rarely identify the exact line being used, these observations will allow you to establish if successful anglers are using floating, slow or fast-sinking lines, countdown time and speed of retrieve. It is often worth taking a pair of binoculars to observe other anglers without getting too close!


double up Simon
Practising in pairs allows you to try different lines and flies until you find the method that works. As a guide, Simon likes to fish two line densities different from his partner


Bank Matches

Bank matches
Bank matches are certainly growing in popularity, especially in the northeast of England on waters such as Chatton Lakes...

Bank matches have been one of the few growth areas in competition fly fishing, particularly in the north of England where there are many, as well as a popular winter series. Increasingly, we are seeing anglers who specialise in this discipline. Small-water bank matches have also given anglers the opportunity to fish during winter when the reservoirs are closed to boat fishing and the smaller stillwaters are often at their best.


Pracitce Makes Perfect peg
... and these are the best place to start for anyone fancying getting into the competition scene.


Cover The Pegs

One of the key differences between bank and boat matches is that bank matches are almost always pegged. A standard pattern is that you will complete a full lap of the lake and in the process usually fish four pegs in the morning and four in the afternoon. It is also worth noting that competitions are often scored on the number of pegs you catch from, so it is vital that you can catch off as many as possible. Another factor is that catches on each peg are usually limited to five fish in a session, again making it important to catch in as many areas of the lake as possible.

The fact that you are pegged means there is nothing you can do regarding your location. Therefore, it can be argued that there is little point in looking for the best areas because you will not necessarily be fishing there on the day!

There are, however, definite merits to moving around a lake during practice, particularly if it is not uniform in depth and shape. You also need to take the wind into account; the methods that work in the calm water at the top of the wind may not work on the downwind bank and vice versa. To do well in most bank matches you will need to employ a variety of methods to suit different areas of the lake. For example, you may need to fish small nymphs or dries in a shallow area and then change to a sinking-line approach in deeper areas. To prepare for bank events I find that it is best to simulate the competition format when practising. Completing a full lap of the lake will allow you to see and fish all of the different areas and plan your strategy in terms of fish behaviour and successful methods as you go.


Practice Makes Perfect Pegs 2
It pays to practice around the lake beforehand because tactics may well be different on the downwind bank to what they are in the flat water.


Multiple Rods

Practice Makes Perfect 3 Rods
Three rods are the norm for bank matches. This allows you to change tactics quickly, which is important when you may have only 30 minutes a peg.

In boat matches, you are usually only permitted to have one rod set up at any time. However, in bank matches, you are usually allowed three. Consequently, you need to be able to chop and change methods to suit the peg. This is where practice really counts because most anglers can quickly work out a method to catch the easy fish. It is, however, anglers who can turn to effective methods on their second and third rods and keep catching, particularly on difficult pegs, who will usually come out on top.

"I have lost count of the number of times I have known anglers catch lots of fish in practice (and usually let everyone who will listen know!) only to perform poorly in the match"



Fly Choice And Setups

Small-water matches usually require a far greater selection of flies than other competitions because it is likely that you will be setting rods up with lure, indicator, nymph or dry-fly tactics. I would advise that you don’t go overboard with too many patterns; stick with tried and trusted flies in each category. One thing that is worth noting is that as small-water fish are usually subject to far higher fishing pressure it is often worth trying nymphs and dries in smaller sizes, as well as finer leaders on difficult pegs.


Practice Makes Perfect Flies 3 


River Competition Practice

Unfortunately, we do not have the same number of matches on the rivers as we do on the stillwater scene. Nevertheless, we do have several regional qualifiers, a national final and an international event between the home nations. One interesting fact is that we do not fish to the same pegged format used in all World and European championships. River matches are fished within certain boundaries or sections, but all of the anglers competing are free to roam anywhere within the same section. The only restriction is that they must not go within 30 metres of another angler who is fishing.



Study The Section

The format of most river matches in the UK means that it is important to look for water where you feel you can catch the most fish, as opposed to catching the most fish from a given stretch of water, which is the aim of events with a fixed peg for each angler. To do this it is well worth walking the full competition section and mark down the likely areas. I usually look for an area that is likely to hold a lot of fish combined with the possibility of fishing a variety of methods in a relatively small area. This means that even if there are other anglers in the area you can spend time fishing the same water and hopefully pick up a good number of fish.

If I could pick an ideal stretch of water it would be a nice fish-holding run with fish moving on the tail. This will allow y me to start with the dry fly before changing to a variety of nymph methods.



Work On Methods To Suit The Water Type


In river matches, you are allowed to set up a spare rod. This means you can have two methods ready and it is important to establish the correct ones for the sections of water you intend to fish.

If you are going to target rising fish then dry fly is the obvious choice. When the correct fly is discovered you can be pretty sure that it will work on any other rising fish in the competition sections.

When it comes to practising nymph fishing it is again worth observing the water and working out the weights of nymphs you are likely to need. Obviously weight will vary in different parts of the river depending on depth and pace.



Time Of Day And Competition Sessions

A very important consideration is time of day, particularly if you are fishing a match early or late in the season when fish will often feed at certain times. I have witnessed anglers practising taking fish on dries in the afternoon then drawing the morning session and struggling because the fish are simply not rising! It is therefore important to prepare for both morning and afternoon sessions, particularly if fish behaviour and hatches are likely to be different in each session.

Practice Makes perfect Picking your practice
The time of day you practice needs to be taken into account. What might work in the morning may not in the afternoon. It pays to have methods for both sessions.


Methods To Use After A Section Has Been Fished

Because you may be fishing an afternoon session on water that has been fished in the morning, and also sharing the section with other anglers, it is very likely that at some point you will be fishing water that has already been fished. This means that the easy, active fish will probably have already been caught. You therefore need to look for other ways to catch and this is often what separates the top anglers from the rest of the field.

Various methods can get you a few fish, including fishing finer leaders, smaller flies or adding extra weight and targeting deeper, faster areas where other anglers may not have reached fish holding close to the bottom.

To practise this I will often deliberately target water that I know another angler has fished to simulate a competition situation. Another option is to practise with another angler and alternate or swap sections and compare successful methods after the water has been fished, or simply fish the same small area yourself with different methods.

2 Rods
In river matches you can have two rods set up. Again this allows for two tactics to be employed, such as dries and nymphs




That is a basic summary of practising for matches across the disciplines and some of the tips to help you prepare.



There are several other general factors that apply to all competitions for me, the two most important by far are to not overfish the water you plan to fish on the match, so discipline in practice is particularly important. I have lost count of the number of times I have known anglers catch lots of fish in practice (and usually let everyone who will listen know!) only to perform poorly in the match. These big catches in practice are usually by anglers who continue to fish in productive areas with a successful method and then seem confused when the fish are not there to be caught on that method in the competition.

The second is the flies. Despite many rumours of ‘secret’ or ‘magic’ flies, very few actually exist and the majority of competition anglers fish basic, simple patterns available to all. So do not be worried about flies; stick with basic patterns such as those below and concentrate on preparation, presentation and approach when practising! Good luck!


Flies PmP



The first wheelchair accessible Coulam 16 Wheelyboat at Draycote Reservoir in Warwickshire will be launched on Wednesday 12 April, following a successful fundraising campaign supported by Draycote Fly-Fishers Association and led by one of its members.  An established trout fishery for many years, Draycote Reservoir is a 600-acre lowland reservoir near Rugby famous for its buzzer hatches and large grown-on brown and rainbow trout. 

Designed and developed by The Wheelyboat Trust and JM Coulam Boatbuilders, the Coulam 16 Wheelyboat stems from the fundamental desire of disabled anglers and wheelchair users in particular, to have the same opportunities to fish as the able-bodied.  The boat is based on Jim Coulam’s 16’ reservoir fishing boat design and has been adapted to provide wheelchair users with step free access on board.  With an open cockpit and level floor throughout, the disabled angler can choose to sit at the bow or the stern and is able to drive and operate the boat quite independently.

The unique design features of the boat are not immediately obvious, making it a thoroughly enjoyable experience for disabled anglers.  Wheelchair users board the Coulam 16 Wheelyboat via a ramp from a pontoon onto a hydraulic platform that lowers to floor level.  Removable handrails around the platform help keep the angler secure and simplify the boarding and disembarking procedure, which means that only one able-bodied helper is required for assistance.  The boat has a 6’ beam, low centre of gravity and is very stable.  In normal conditions wheelchair brakes are sufficient to hold the angler in place, but D-rings on the floor provide secure strapping points when required.

The project cost £9,200 and was funded by the Janet Nash Charitable Settlement, Draycote Fly-Fishers Association and their members, and Fishery Management (UK) Ltd which has been running the fishery on Draycote since 2011.

Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust, says “Angling is an activity that most disabled people can participate in very successfully given the right access and equipment.  Our Wheelyboats overcome all the difficulties of accessing waters like Draycote and we are delighted that Ifor and his team have become the latest fishery to operate a Wheelyboat.  This is the 180th Wheelyboat to be launched and is a particularly proud moment for me being the 100th Wheelyboat launched since I took over as Director in 2002.”

The Wheelyboat Trust relies on the support of individuals, companies and charitable organisations to fund its activities. Donations can be made in a variety of ways including online at www.wheelyboats.org/donate.html

Water Temperature – 15C, Clarity (Secchi disc)1.8m.

The water clarity has reduced in the past few days but that’s not reducing the catches, areas doing well include cages, stable point, up behind dog island, butts bay and in front of the lodge. Flies doing well are diawl bachs, candy booby, red headed damsel.

On Wednesday night the penultimate night of the boat league 21 anglers went out and caught 65 fish. Top rod was Last year’s winner Brian Mckenzie with 10 fish, he caught his fish up at the Plantation using dries, second was Les Grant with 8 fish hr caught his fish in front of the hut using Bobbies ad cormorants, and third was Stuart Ingles with 8 fish, he caught his fish on boobies up at the cages. This Weeks prizes went to Les Grant he got the bottle of whisky from Andy Smith of Southside Decorators and Stuart Ingles got the £25 voucher from James Bayne Tackle shop in Callander.


There has been a few nice brownies caught this week.

Top left David Fulerton and Graham McKinley from Port Glasgow with a pair of 4lb + fish.

Top right David Mateer from Inverness  with one about 6lb returned.

Left Top rod from the recent youth international Jordan Queen with a nice one about 6lb.

Tel/Fax 01877 385664



The 2017 season opened on Saturday 18th March in a wee heaven sent weather window. The fishery highlighted the accessibility of boat fishing for the Young and also for the Young at heart. In recognition of our most important customer group - the "Young at Heart", two of our regular customers Bob Ralston and Joe Oliver from Aberfoyle carried out the official opening ceremony... Bob has been fishing the Lake since the opening year in 1966 and spoke about the changes he had seen over the years at the Lake and what a special place it is and Joe splashed the whisky. Piper Stewart Marshal gave us half an hour of his great tunes before jumping into a boat with Malcolm Miller and then later weighing in 6 fish for 20lbs with 7 returned. A total of 454 fish were recorded as being caught by the 32 boats, of which 41 were killed for a total weight of 97lbs, 4ozs. (5 boats did not mark in). The whole scene was superbly captured by Craig Somerville of Angling Active on video and Paul Barr with his camera (have a look at our facebook page - follow the link https://www.facebook.com/menteithfisheries ).Some boats did very well in the calm morning on buzzers, whilst others faired better with lures when the wind got up. Best areas on opening day were the Butts and Hotel Bay but catches were well spread. A midge tip line worked well until the wind arrived in the afternoon. The most notable point of the day was the large number of overwintered large (6-9lbs) fish in the catches. These fish were stocked at the end of October and have indeed proved to be cormorant proof - as evidenced by the large number in the catches. To finish off the day a hog roast and refreshments were served.


Overturned Boat - Sunday 19th

The weather went downhill quickly with two very windy days then one of snow and we had an overturned boat. The details of the event are now described. Gust of around 30km per hour from the weston Sunday 19th, encountered a boat travelling broadside on to the road shore. The boat was nose heavy with a large angler sitting above the bow seat on a very heavy plank with strap on seat. The boat was travelling at full throttle on a 4hp engine and large amounts of water came in over the bow. The angler sitting at the front was facing malling and his seat was off centre. The large amount of water destabilised the boat which turned upside down (leeside went under first). The man on the outboard's lifejacket was lying in the boat and he held on to the boat which was lying almost level with the surface due to the buoyancy tanks - whilst shouting for help. The man in the bow who was wearing a life jacket was able to cling to his tackle whilst awaiting rescue - which was luckily near at hand (water temperature 4.5C).


The mistakes

1. Failure of any angler to be wearing the lifejacket despite instruction.

2. Failure to slow down or change direction sufficiently to prevent dangerous amounts of water coming into the boat.

3.Failure of man in bow to reposition to middle seat to prevent waves breaking over the front and also failure of bowman to lower centre of gravity and to centre himself in the middle of the boat when it became unstable.


The weather looks set to stabilise with high pressure developing.


Below left Bill Osborne with a brace; on right Gerard Pequegnot with another and John Buchanan's Pike.


Tight lines to all for 2017.

Wear a lifejacket or don’t go out. 

Eyebrook Reservoir

Tel: 01536 772930

Opens 23rd March


We are pleased to announce Eyebrook Reservoir has joined the group of fisheries Draycote, Foremark & Thornton managed by Ifor Jones


With a preseason stocking of 5500 trout we are expecting an excellent opening, visit our facebook page Flyfishstore to see the latest stocking pictures & video


Returning to work at Eyebrook will be Jobe, David & Simon with Lee Henfrey spending his time between Draycote & Eyebrook


Lodge will be open from 7.30am for bank anglers to book in with boats available from 8.30am

We will be operating the same pricing structure that we use at our other water with the permit loyalty card & boat loyalty card valid at all our waters


Current Fishing Time:

Bank: 07:30am till 18.00

Boat All Day: 08:30 to 18.00

Morning Boats: 08:30 until 13:30

Afternoon Boats: 13.30 until 18.00

Last 4 Hours from: 14.00 until 18.00 (Tickets on sale from 13.45)

All anglers to be off site by: 18.30pm

Until further notice (due to broadband issues) we can only accept cheque or cash as payment

Visit our new fishery website www.flyfisheyebrook.co.uk

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