Five End Of Season Stillwater Fly Fishing Tips

The days are getting shorter, mornings misty and with a chill in the evening air we are now moving into autumn with a vengeance. Such conditions can mean only one thing – we are now heading into the ‘back end’, a time on the trout fishers calendar where brilliant sport can be expected. These stillwater fly fishing tips should help you make the most of this productive time of year!

Brilliant back end bank fishing

A brilliant back end bank fishing spot – an old river channel

1. On the bank – Once water temperatures cool off, the margins become the place to concentrate on during the autumn. Natural food accumulates and terrestrial life is blown onto the water here – so bank fishing really comes into it’s own. Look for bays, points, dying weed beds, old river channels and any in-flow of running water. Grown on resident fish won’t be far away!

2. Dig out the big flies – Colder temps tend to bring out the aggression in resident fish, especially brown trout. Combine that with the abundance of coarse fish fry on our reservoirs and you can use larger flies with full confidence – booby zonkers, snakes, humongous and various fry patterns will often catch the biggest and best quality fish.

Fish large flies with confidence

Fish large flies with confidence at this time of year

3. Afternoons are best – Very early and late tend to be times to avoid when air temperatures plummet, resulting in fish sulking out of reach in deep water. That brief spell of mid afternoon warmth can trigger fly hatches and feeding activity, so concentrate your efforts for when the water is alive and the fishing at it’s peak.

4. Slime lines = good times – Intermediates fly lines are perfect for fishing at this time of year. They are so versatile and cover the top layers down to mid water comfortably. The Airflo camo clear is a great line to start with for the bank angler fishing among decaying weedbeds or looking for a stealth option. It’s a joy to cast and lovely to handle even with cold hands.

On the fast intermediate....

A brownie on the fast intermediate….

5. Brave the wind – Autumn winds can be strong and unpleasant to fish in, BUT they can also concentrate the fish within easy reach. It is well worth casting right into the teeth of the wind, or fishing a bay where the wind is blowing in and funneling terrestrial food, such as daddy long legs. In windy conditions don’t worry about distance (the fish could be just a few yards out!) try your best to get turnover. Make your leader shorter and your casting loop tighter, in order to punch your cast under the wind.

Modern Stillwater Flyfishing Tactics Volume 3

It is every anglers dream to catch more fish and this feature length DVD produced by Airflo and Trout Fisherman magazine will help you achieve this!

Originally available with the May 2017 issue of Trout Fisherman, the UK’s leading competitive anglers Gareth Jones and Iain Barr turn their attention to bank fishing on Graham water for killer shrimp feeders and then enjoy a productive session on the small stillwater paradise of Ellerdine lakes.

This MUST WATCH feature is stuffed full of invaluable fly fishing tips, tackle and techniques. And it’s totally free to view on our YouTube channel!

Winter Fly Fishing On Farmoor Reservoir

Winter is prime time for the smaller waters across the UK as many large reservoirs close, albeit for a much shorter period than some years ago.

For those who prefer a larger, more challenging venue then Farmoor Reservoir, hosting a World Bank Masters final sponsored by Airflo, continues to be open all year round. Occasionally closing during hotter summer months if water temperatures are too high.

7lb of Farmoor magic

7lb of Farmoor magic!

It is here where I ventured for a days guiding last week. Again, the fishing was simply amazing with cracking fish up to 7lb right off the top! Farmoor is associated by some as a deep booby water and this is simply not true in many aspects. It has some of the best buzzer fishing I have had, fry time can be explosive and the dry fly fishing some of the best I have had.

A happy client with a Farmoor cracker!

Last week wasn’t the warmest days but with light winds and buzzers hatching there were fish moving! Off came the fast sinkers as me and now a good friend Ron Howard came up on to floaters and midge tips. I opted for my infamous Iain Barr original candy fab and two nymphs, a woofta buzzer and cut throat cruncher. I had a few brief few casts with a Minkie Booby and 4 fish smacked it off the top but none connected so the tried and tested fab was offered.

My partner for the day was having joy with a white minkie booby as fish harrassed it across the top but the confident takes were definitely coming to the much slower fished Fab, in fact, almost static! In a frantic 15 minutes I had landed 3 crackers to 7lb right off the surface!! I had to pinch myself that it was still February!!

We traveled the full lake taking fish in most spots with most offers certainly coming in the top 4 feet. Its important to keep on the move this time of year as often you have to go to the fish, they wont come to you. We tried deep in several places and we did hook in to fish proving like on most reservoirs there are two layers of fish, those feeding deep and those searching the higher layers. This is worth remembering for any winter trips as it is very typical on most fisheries.

Rod bending action all day!

Rod bending action all day!

Slow retrieves out fished anything pulled which is paramount for this time of year. The buzzers and crunchers caught fish too up to 5lb! The water was clear so I generally stuck with a lure and nymph combination and caught steadily through the day. My partner was having great joy on a minkie booby fished off the top and down deep and landed some crackers including a double up! With these Farmoor fish in tip top condition and plenty of 4-5lb fish and many bigger, don’t shy down in tippet if visiting there, especially for the Bank Masters! I was on 11.2lb new Airflo G5 fluorocarbon on the midge tip and 13.1lb new G5 on the Di5. These fish are strong, big and hit hard!!

If venturing out through these winter months try lures with an imitative fly too, it brings great rewards. Having enjoyed most of my day fishing slow on the midge tip, I couldn’t resist trying some of my new snake flies and WOW! The response was explosive and certainly fast and furious!

Big snake flies work!

Big snake flies bring out an aggressive response!

With entries closing for the Farmoor Bank Masters on 24th Feb, there is still time to enter! There are over 200 anglers booked in for the weekend with top anglers from the UL and Europe including Spain, Norway, Poland and Belgium joining in. We also have beginners and people fishing competitions for the first time which is exactly what we wanted. They want to be part of something big and take in the experience and learn something along the way which is exactly where I started some 30 years ago now. Wow, that long! 😉

Fly packs to try this month:

Minkie Boobies
Black Buzzers sz 12
Crunchers sz 12
Snakes / Snake Boobies

A quality Farmoor rainbow – 4lb lump on a woofta!