The Quiet Time By Rene’ Harrop October, 2019

Short days often cold and damp are features that many find limiting and too uncomfortable for outdoor pursuits. These are among the influencing factors that bring change to the activity level on the waters of the Yellowstone region. Though far from deserted, premier lakes and rivers have largely lost their attraction to fair weather anglers at a time when fishing can be at its best.

October Prize

October Prize

Despite its unpredictable weather, October is the month chosen by the most serious of fly fishers to ply their skills on waters like the Henry’s Fork or Henry’s Lake. This is the quiet time on these otherwise busy trout fisheries and many who are found on the water are professional river guides who finally find fishing time for themselves after a long season of assisting paying clients. Others from the fly-fishing industry may travel many miles to reunite with trout and friends that are visited only at this time of year.

October Snow

October Snow

October is a time of particular importance to me as it marks the final month of life in the mountains where I spend half of each year. Whether fishing a Baetis hatch on the river or stripping submerged flies on still water, I savor the last days in a place where winter arrives early and departs late. Many of those days are shared with friends whom I care for most and respect far beyond common acquaintance.

Stillwater Gem

Stillwater Gem

By month’s end, it is not uncommon to find the landscape of the upper Henry’s Fork Drainage strongly influenced by conditions resembling winter as much as fall. By then, I will have relocated thirty-five miles downstream where the weather generally remains more seasonable well into November. But before my attention turns to the lower Fork and its resident brown trout, there will be golden days of fly-fishing prosperity on the upper river.

Quiet Time

Quiet Time

It is in this treasured time that I reflect on a balanced life that does not require leaving my homeland or the river I love regardless of the season.

 

Wraysbury The Return With Dave Lane – Carp Fishing Feature Film

In this full length fishing movie we join Dave Lane of Total Fishing Gear on the banks of the mythical Wraysbury in search of it’s legendary big carp!!

Filmed in conjunction with Carpology Magazine, this hour long video includes many of the tips, tactics and tackle secrets employed by Dave Lane to catch more and bigger carp.

It’s an essential watch for all carp fishing fanatics!!

The Month of Big Flies By Rene’ Harrop – June 2019

To state that the Henry’s Fork supports an extensive menu of trout foods might be an understatement. Aquatic invertebrates that annually cycle through a full year on what has been described by some as the most prolific insect factory on the planet represent an ever-changing display of insect life. For the most part, hatches on this amazing fishery seldom exceed size fourteen as individual organisms and the majority are considerably smaller.

A Mouthful

A Mouthful

Much of the difficulty associated with this iconic river relates to the precision required in overcoming exceptionally wary trout that grow large by resisting any weakness in physical skill or intellectual qualification.  Fortunately, there is an exception to the small flies, long leaders, and delicate presentation that generally describe the Henry’s Fork dry fly experience. This thirty-day reprieve from eye squinting intensity occurs at the beginning of the summer season when the days finally warm and winter becomes just a memory in the high country.

Known as the month of big flies, it is understandable why June is the most attractive time to visit the Henry’s Fork. This is the period when fishing can be a comparatively relaxed exercise as cautious trout succumb to the irresistible attraction of flies size twelve and larger.

Salmon Fly

Salmon Fly

The feast begins with giant Salmon flies that can reach two inches in length followed by Golden Stones, only slightly smaller than their orange colored cousins.

For decades, Green Drakes have been the headline hatch for much of the length of the Henry’s Fork. At a solid size ten, they are actually slightly smaller than the Brown Drakes which inhabit slower stretches of the upper river. At size twelve, Gray Drakes carry enough bulk to entice the same enthusiastic response as the larger mayflies, and they exist from the source to the confluence with the main Snake River more than fifty miles downstream.

Salmon Fly Brown

Salmon Fly Brown

Understandably, the opportunity of fishing to big rising rainbows and browns on imitations as large as size four comes with the condition of patience. But while June is assured to be busy on the Henry’s Fork, there is no better time to witness its magnificence while sampling its treasures.

Full Net

Full Net

 

 

The Bridge to a New Season By Rene’ Harrop May, 2019

Rather than a single month to designate the gateway to a new season, the conditions required to accommodate the emergence of temperature sensitive aquatic insects nearly always span the end of April and the beginning of May. Of course, I am referring to the high country of the Rocky Mountains where seasons ignore the conventional norm.

May Rainbow

Though blue bird whether can be a feature of April, precipitation in the form of snow is just as likely as rain and nighttime temperatures routinely dip below the freezing mark. At well over a mile above sea level, a morning frost nearly assures that caddis and most species of mayflies and stone flies will not be on the trout menu for that day. Toward the end of that month, however, the budding of vegetation along the edge give announcement to the true end of winter.

Baetis On Airflo Elite

Generally speaking, crossing over the seasonal bridge into May brings entry into the time when each week seems to host a new arrival from within the food groups that drive the sport of fly fishing. This is a time of celebration for the dry fly enthusiast who craves deliverance from the exclusivity of fishing flies that seldom exceed size eighteen.

Though smaller Baetis will continue to reign as the dominant and most reliable hatch, there is comfort in knowing that within the first few weeks of May the little olives will be joined by early caddis and March Browns in size fourteen and sixteen. This is in reference to the Henry’s Fork where size twelve Gray Drakes and the giant Salmon Flies should appear by month’s end.

Salmon Fly

Late May is also the period when ice leaves high elevation lakes like Henry’s, Hebgen, and Sheridan. By that time, most seasonal closures have ended and the toughest challenge is deciding where to fish on any given day.

While April twenty nineteen is ending with considerable snow remaining above six thousand feet, there is fishing to be enjoyed along the length of the Henry’s Fork right now and much more to come as time moves along. Though high water on the rivers is very likely to come into play it should bring only temporary disruption to a season that looks very promising at this point.

Spring Brown

How To Plan Your Season Of Fishing Adventures With The Wild Trout Trust Auction

With hundreds of generous donors contributing lots from every corner of Britain and Ireland, and even beyond, the annual Wild Trout Trust Auction (8th-17th March) is a fabulous way for anglers to widen their horizons and explore fisheries which they might never otherwise be able to visit.

And, anecdotally, some super-keen participants have even started using it as a guide to help them scope out whole seasons of exciting fishing experiences.

As a wide-ranging fisherman myself (and not just on urban rivers!) I was intrigued when I heard that fishing pals John Pollard and Roger ‘Steve’ Stephens have been doing exactly this. I had to find out more, and ended up discussing how they go about planning their adventures with the Wild Trout Trust Auction…

Wild Trout Trust

Wild Trout Trust auction – 8-17 March 2019

Interview:

Theo: John and Roger, thanks so much for supporting the Wild Trout Trust Auction! How long have you been taking part, and how did you come to start using it as a way of planning your fishing season together?

John: We have been bidding and winning lots for at least 15 years – in fact I’d say it’s now just part of our annual routine. In general, we use the Auction as a way of extending our range of fishing experiences – focusing on trout and grayling beats we wouldn’t normally be able to enjoy. On the other hand, this hasn’t precluded us from being attracted to some real wild cards, like carp fishing with the WTT’s Director, Shaun Leonard!

Quite early on, we also started to use the Auction for buying overseas holiday lots – for example where a three-day package can be extended into a week by buying a few extra days direct from the lodge. This way, we’ve been able to enjoy price-competitive holidays in Patagonia, Spain, the Bahamas (four times) and Mexico (twice) with the added satisfaction that our money was going to the worthiest of all causes.

WTT Auction Bonefish trip

WTT Auction Bonefish trip

Theo: That’s fascinating… so do you have a process that you go through, to identify and prioritise your favourite lots for the year?

John: Our process is pretty simple – going through the catalogue with a fine comb to identify lots we’d both like to fish in our geographical area. As I’ve said, we usually try for new experiences, though sometimes the opportunity to go back to a beat with knowledge from a previous visit can be an attraction.

We each do this separately, before discussing a final list over a beer together, to agree our maximum bids which we work out as a percentage of the guide price. Most importantly, we also agree a rock-solid maximum spend and the number of days we want to fish! Steve then draws up a master list marked with these numbers, and we watch the online bidding, dipping our toes now and then. As bidding proceeds, we inevitably have to knock off our list the lots that pass beyond our maximum, so by the last day the list is much shorter. To avoid any screw-ups, we’ve agreed that only Steve will bid on the last day, and I have to wait for him to tell me how big a cheque he needs from me – that’s trust!  Sometimes all our budget is spent before our list has played through, and occasionally we have a few pence over. That’s when we might look very closely at the short re-entry list of unsold lots which the Trust makes available after the main Auction has finished – there’s often another opportunity not to be missed.

Steve: I won’t argue with one word of that! But I can give you some numbers too – last year, after our beer-fuelled shortlisting meeting (which we spent whittling out lots for only one fisherman, and pretty well everything north of the Watford Gap) our bidding long-list contained over 50 lots.

We were more or less rapidly outbid on over than 40 of these, and then I started to play cat and mouse with the remainder. Great fun! Right at the end, I spent the whole evening crouched over my keyboard with a large glass of Rioja, and often the bidding went right down to the wire in the very last minute. Sometimes, if we have a bit of spare budget, I do go a few quid over our originally-agreed maximum bid to make sure of landing a really remarkable lot…

Theo: So what kinds of lots have you won in the past – and can you tell us about any of the memorable adventures that you’ve enjoyed as a result?

Steve: I have lasting memories of the days when we laughed ourselves silly – notably with Shaun looking for carp on the fly, and some extra special days on super hush-hush Itchen beats. And how about the irrepressible Ivan Tarin in the magical Pyrenees?

High Pyrenees waters

High Pyrenees waters

Mentioning Ivan brings me on to food and wine: it would have been worth the trip to Spain just for the hospitality. We’ve had some notable streamside lunches by the chalk streams, too. After the importance of lunch, there’s the learning aspect too – for example, the opportunity to fish with Charles and Alex Jardine, two of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet, and so many splendid river keepers and host-donors. And a remarkable variety of Caribbean bonefish guides, like the hilarious ‘T’ at Bair’s Lodge in South Andros (“Why do they call me ‘T’? Because they can’t spell ‘Theophilus’!”)

John: In more than 15 years, it’s hard to list all the memories of our adventures, but I’d agree with Steve – in the main, they’ve been the ones where we’ve enjoyed the company of wonderfully interesting hosts, guides and river keepers. People who shared knowledge and experience with us, that we’d never normally be able to enjoy. I am grateful that they have made me a much better fisherman as a result!

Theo: That’s so inspiring – and such a huge variety of experiences near and far. Thanks for telling us about how you’ve made the most of previous Wild Trout Trust Auctions, John and Steve, and best of luck when you’re planning and bidding for this year’s season of adventures!

The Wild Trout Trust Auction runs from 8 – 17 March 2019.

Click here to download a catalogue, or follow #WTTauction and #WTTseasonofadventures on social media, and start planning your own season of fishing adventures!

The Pyrenees and bonefishing along with other trips abroad are not in the auction but are sold as fixed price trips up to 15 April. https://www.wildtrout.org/auction/catalogue?c=t

Fishing with Charles Jardine https://www.wildtrout.org/auction/1-day-for-2-rods-river-lambourn-berkshire-guided-by-charles-jardine

Author profile

Theo Pike is a freelance environmental, fishing and marketing writer. He’s Chair of Trustees of the South East Rivers Trust, and founding editor of urbantrout.net, a website and eco-brand dedicated to the urban fly fishing and river restoration movements.

His first book, Trout in Dirty Places, was published by Merlin Unwin Books in 2012, and his manual on controlling invasive non-native species, The Pocket Guide to Balsam Bashing, has recently been republished in ebook format.

Theo now also works with the Wild Trout Trust as their Trout in the Town Officer (South) helping to boost the impact of this programme across the south of England and Wales.

Wild Trout Trust Auction 2019

BID FOR A NEW SEASON OF FISHING ADVENTURES

IN THE WILD TROUT TRUST CHARITY AUCTION: 8th – 17th MARCH 2019

The Wild Trout Trust’s annual charity Auction is an exciting opportunity for anglers to start bidding for a new season of fishing adventures across England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and even further afield.

Wild Trout Trust

The Wild Trout Trust are a conservation charity that focuses on practical work to improve habitat for trout across the UK and Ireland.

From an expedition to a secret salmon river in Argyll, or a wild trout safari on three Norfolk chalk streams with Nick Zoll, to a choice of fishing on exclusive private beats of the Test, Itchen and Avon, the River Usk with Airflo’s Gareth Jones or gritty urban river adventures with guides like Phillippa Hake and Damon Valentine, the Auction is full of exciting experiences for everyone.

And, with around 300 lots, there are prices to suit every pocket, with a huge number of very affordable adventures starting from just £20.

Other inspiring lots include artwork by Sam MacDonald, hand-crafted fibreglass rods, special sets of flies from tyers like Lee Evans, Nick Steedman and Dave Southall, and books signed by their authors (including ‘Silver Shoals’ by the Trust’s former president, Charles Rangeley-Wilson).

A new section of the Auction also contains a selection of once-in-a-lifetime destination trips, whose donors have kindly pledged a percentage of each one sold to the Wild Trout Trust.

Some fishermen even bid for a range of different lots, and use the Auction as their way of setting up a whole season of new discoveries. It’s a brilliant way to broaden your horizons, and spend time exploring places which you might never normally get to visit, since many of the lots have been privately donated by the Wild Trout Trust’s generous supporters.

Best of all, every successful bid will help anyone in Britain or Ireland who’s interested in making a better world for our rivers, lakes and their wildlife, including our native trout.

The Wild Trout Trust Auction is the charity’s single most important annual fundraising event, which makes it possible for the Trust’s expert Conservation Officers to provide practical advice, deliver hands-on habitat improvement projects, and bring in even more match funding from other sources. The Trust has low overheads, a small staff and an ever-growing group of volunteers, so the money raised in the Auction makes a real and direct difference to our rivers.

The Wild Trout Trust Auction will run on eBay and by post from 8th to 17th March 2019.

To find the lots from 8th March 2019, visit www.wildtrout.org and click on the link, or follow #WTTseasonofadventures on Twitter

For a copy of the Wild Trout Trust Auction catalogue, visit www.wildtrout.org, email office@wildtrout.org or call 023 9257 0985.

The images below are just a taster of some of the places you might find in the WTT auction this year:

Exclusive upper Test beats

Exclusive upper Test beats

High Pyrenees waters

High Pyrenees waters

Tyne River Hill

Tyne River Hill

WTT Auction Bonefish trip

WTT Auction Bonefish trip

Total Fishing Gear Now On Instagram

Carp and coarse fishing tackle innovators Total Fishing Gear (aka TF Gear) have recently created a new Instagram page!

Here you will find the latest TF Gear fishing tackle news, as well as fish catches by high profile sponsored angler Dave Lane and the rest of the Total Fishing Gear team. With an emphasis on high quality ‘on the bank’ images, the TF Gear Instagram page seeks to  inspire anglers to fish. If you are a fan of carp and coarse fishing why not give them a follow?

Follow them here: @totalfishinggear

TF Gear now on Instagram

TF Gear now on Instagram!

The Shortest Month – Rene’ Harrop

Noted mainly as being the shortest month of our longest season, February is a continuation of deep winter on the Henry’s Fork. Precipitation mostly in the form of snow averages more than in January while temperatures in the early part of the month can be among the coldest of the year. Still, there is benefit to a fly fisherman when daylight stretches toward 6:00 P.m., an addition of 1 ¼ hours from the lowest point in mid-December to February first.

A Hope For Spring

A Hope For Spring

For much of the month ice will continue to chill the river and fishing is mainly limited to deep nymphing for bottom hugging trout still locked in winter’s lethargy. Eventually, however, the occurrence of severely frigid days begins to thin and the river enters a period of reawakening.

While midges exist almost exclusively as the basis for February dry fly opportunity, the days of rising fish increase proportionately to increasing air temperatures as the month progresses.  Though spring Baetis are a rare feature prior to early March, there are occasional years when the first mayflies can make a token appearance in late February. Usually, this uncommon event portends an early spring which in the high country can mean returning to our mountain cabin in April rather than May. However, in a place where general prosperity is measured by the abundance of snow, only a foolish person would welcome the temporary comfort of a short, dry winter.

February Brown

February Brown

Fortunately, we now approach February with snow continuing to accumulate and the expectation of that trend extending into the foreseeable future. Accessing the river will be come more not less difficult until average daytime highs rise well above the freezing mark and rain becomes the common form of precipitation.

In the interim, I will savor the incremental process of achieving spring while enjoying even small advancements in outdoor comfort.

Back on the water

Back on the water

As the water warms and winter releases its icy grip, the activity level of trout responds proportionately to the change. Hungry from winter’s dormancy, the big guys will go on the prowl and the methods of capitalizing of this new-found energy begin to expand.

By February’s end, I will be pulling a streamer at least as often as fishing a nymph and the dry fly rod will seldom be left at home.

While warm days and green grass lie well into the future, the shortest month will not be time wished away nor will it include long strings of days spent indoors away from the water. And at this point in winter, that is good enough.

February Distraction

February Distraction

5 New Years Fishing Resolution’s For 2019

2019 is going to be a great year for fishing!! We all have New Years resolution’s, but how about some fishing ones? As an angler, these suggestions should hopefully improve your fishing year to come.

1. Fish more often

Did you fish as much as you had hoped for last year? Probably not. So set aside a target number of days to spend on the bank this year. For example, a minimum of 5, 10 or 20. Tick them off as you go so you know how many you have done. Tip: Why not tell the other half about your target, whilst she’s still in a festive mood?

2. Visit a new venue

Visiting a new water can change your mindset and get you thinking outside of the box. It’s always worth making that long drive to a place you’ve always wanted to fish, but have never visited. Instead of ‘maybe next year.’ plan a day and get in the car and do it when the time comes.

Dedicate a day to visiting a new venue

Dedicate a day to visiting a new venue

3. Get somebody into fishing

Our sport needs new members, so why not take somebody with you? A friend, child or relative might appreciate fishing and it could lead to a life long passion. So why not dedicate a day or two for sharing and instruction this year rather than for yourself.

family fishing

Image source: Tide Lines
Letting the kids come with you is a great way to catch their interest.

4. Get involved with a clean up

Whether you area member of a carp syndicate, an angling club or simply on a day ticket our rivers and lakes need a bit of TLC. Even if its a few hours of your time sweeping the bank with a bin bag, a clean up makes your venue a much better place to fish and inspires respect from others.

A river clean up. Image: Wandle trust

5. Take stock of your fishing tackle

The New Year is the perfect time to check through your fishing gear. Make a resolution to give it a good sort out – be ruthless and sell or giveaway the stuff you never use, or if it is past it’s sell by date chuck it out. If find you need near fishing gear, then indulge yourself – it’s better to have everything ready for 2019 than not.

It’s 2019 – time to sort out this mess and treat yourself to some new gear! Image: Ifish.net

Angling Trust And Fish Legal Fundraising Dinner

Worried about the state of our freshwater environment? We are and so are The Angling Trust.

Did you know that half of all aquatic species including many fish are in decline and 13% are threatened with extinction?

To help turn this around, Angling Trust have launched a new joint initiative with The Rivers Trust and WWF. YOU can help them raise vital funds to protect our freshwater environment and fish.

There are lots of ways to get involved with this joint initiative  – join them at their fundraising dinner, donate an auction lot or take part in the auction itself which has a fantastic range of lots to suit all budgets and tastes.

The Angling Trust 2019 Dinner Fundraiser

The Angling Trust 2019 Dinner Fundraiser

More information on the Angling Trust dinner event can be found here.