Autumn Sport On Ellerdine Lakes

Autumn can be a fantastic time for fly fishing small stillwaters across the UK. As temperatures decrease, trout become more active and feed up in readiness for the coming winter.

In this blog report, Fishtec team member Gareth Wilson visits the productive Ellerdine lakes fishery deep in the Shropshire countryside – where he experiences some brilliant autumnal fishing.

A nice autumn Ellerdine Rainbow

A nice autumn Ellerdine Rainbow.

Autumn is one of my favourite times of year to fish a small stillwater. Rainbow trout become more active and harder fighting as the temperatures plummet. They tend to be in great condition and start packing on weight from bashing fry. The colder temperatures and higher oxygen content mean great sport can be experienced in October.

For those looking for the fish of a lifetime with the chance of a different trout species with every cast, then Ellerdine lakes are a perfect location. Set in stunning rural farmland in Shropshire, this Trout Masters Venue is ideal for both beginners and more advanced anglers. The venue is run by Ed and Jayne Upton who really understand the needs of the modern-day angler. With 4 spring-fed lakes, regular stocking and a superb tackle shop on site, Ellerdine lakes offer a great day out at a very reasonable cost.

A double figure rainbow from Ellerdine

A double figure rainbow from Ellerdine lakes.

This October I traveled up with a party of seven anglers from South Wales including four beginners for three days fishing.  My personal aim was of catching a brown trout as this was the only species I had failed to catch on my previous visit to the fishery, last year.  using an Airflo Super stik rod, my fly line set up to start the day was the Airflo Super-Dri 6ft Fast inter sink tip with an 18ft G3 8lb Fluorocarbon leader. I started with two of my own patterns, a Sunburst Muddler as a point fly and Robs Hopper on the dropper as we were advised daddies had been fishing well.

I cast out with anticipation as my previous visit had produced monster fish, starting with a faster retrieve causing the muddler to create a wake. After a few casts, I decided to slow everything down. Then on a slow figure eight everything went tight – I was into my first Ellerdine trout of the trip! This lovely 7lb rainbow gave a cracking account for itself refusing to come to the net. It had taken the dropper and this fly would prove to catch many more fish this weekend. My first fish in April was a stunning 10lb rainbow and this fish an equally impressive 7lb, this fishery is truly home to some huge trout.

A nice fish to start off with

A nice fish to start off with.

Unexpectedly for this time of year it was very warm with bright sunshine. This if anything seemed to enhance the fishing, with fish being in the top 4ft of water. Remembering my last trip, I decided to put on a rainbow flash damsel. This design, very similar to my blue flash damsel which helped catch the 12.7 lbs tiger I had caught here last time, was a great fly for fishing in amongst the weeds.

I moved in front of the lodge at Meadow lake and cast to a small bit of land with a tiny bush on it. I began to retrieve with a fast figure eight and provoked an aggressive take from my first Ellerdine brown trout. The fish went deep and tried to bury itself into the weeds. After a good scrap, my first Ellerdine Brownie was in the net.

A superb Ellerdine brownie

A superb Ellerdine brownie.

The rest of my party where also hitting fish with the majority coming to Robs Hopper. The day got harder as strong winds picked up leaving limited options of where to fish, so I moved onto Marsh and fished into the wind. I changed my set up to a Chartreuse Flash Taddy on the point with, for the first time ever, an Egg Laying Blob on the dropper. I had never used blobs before but within 40 minutes I hit into three good rainbows. Two took the point fly and the bigger of the three took the blob. We had a successful first day in what ended up being tough conditions.

I spent the evening tying flies to ensure we had plenty of the patterns that were working the previous day. We woke up early to perfect fishing conditions – it was mild with a very light wind of about 5mph. On this day two customers from the Fishtec Shop in Brecon had made the trip to fish with us on my recommendation.

Rob and Shaun both keen fisherman, but neither had caught a rainbow before. I set Rob up with one of Robs Hoppers and advised adding a 6ft tippet onto his tapered leader. Within 20 minutes he was into his first fish. A great joy of mine Is helping people new to the sport in hooking up with their first fish. After a decent scrap he managed to land it and the satisfaction was clear to see!

A lovely first fish

A lovely first fish!

Another fisherman who made the trip with us was Stuart who had blanked the previous day. After seeing the success of the Egg Laying Blob he asked me to tie him three. He started hitting fish on every other cast. This ‘killer fly’ was attracting fish in numbers. The T-15 material used turns into a translucent jelly which looks great in the water.

My aim on day two was the same as the previous year – to help the newer fisherman amongst us get into the fish. Things were going well, they were all having offers and landing fish from 2-5lbs in weight, so I decided to set my own rod up. Again, my choice of fly line was the Airflo Super Dri 6ft sink tip, a simply lovely line to cast and fish with.

I must have gone through every fly in my fly box on day two and worked my way round all 4 lakes but I was struggling. I had 4 fish on which all came off and plenty of offers but I was having ‘one of those days’. I honestly thought this would be my first blank in 5 years!

Luckily as the last light of day was fading behind the trees, I put on an Orange Flash Taddy and cast into the distance on Cranymoor. I varied the retrieve often pausing before a quick strip or fast figure eight and finally – fish on! Not the biggest but certainly one of the nicest trout from the lake. A tiger trout of about a pound and a half that was certainly welcome and avoided the blank.

Ellerdine Tiger

Ellerdine Tiger.

That evening I decided to tie the Incredible Cat and a couple of other fry patterns – after noticing a lot of coarse fish fry around all of the lakes. We left our accommodation at 7:30am and made our way to Ellerdine with high hopes and expectations. Today I was here to catch fish! My set up for the day started with a Chartreuse Flash Damsel on the point with and Emerger pattern on the dropper.

We started on Marsh as the main lake Meadow was packed and it wasn’t long before I was in. An energetic fish decided the emerger was a tasty option and continued to perform acrobatically out of the water before coming to the net. After seeing the success of the natural I set up a 18ft 6lb Sightfree G3 fluorocarbon leader with a Bibbio Muddler on the point and 2 emergers at 6ft intervals, one olive and one claret, on the droppers. I missed a few fish but takes were few and far between so I decided to switch things up. I changed to 12ft of G3 8lb fluorocarbon and put on the Incredible Cat tied the night before. I started pulling it through weed beds occasionally hooking weeds in the process. It was not long before I was into a nice fighting 3 lb rainbow. The take was savage and this was the start of good things….

The incredible cat

The incredible cat.

After seeing this fly working it’s magic, Stuart decided to arm himself with the killer pattern. Within 20 minutes he had hooked into a submarine. This cracking rainbow took him over 6 minutes to land and is his PB trout to date – It weighed in at 13.7 lbs. From Blanking to 17 fish and a PB, the ‘incredible cat’ was certainly doing the trick for him.

13lb 7oz of Ellerdine bow!

13lb 7oz of Ellerdine bow!

I continued to hit fish with a varied retrieve, pulling it through the weed beds on Marsh lake. The final fish of the trip was a fine brownie that found the Incredible Cat irresistible. As I pulled it through the water I felt it hit some weeds before a voracious take. Again, like the first brown trout he went deep and kept digging into the weeds. When I landed the fish, I was satisfied with how well we had done this weekend.

I came to Ellerdine with the target of catching one of their stunning brown trout. I left having caught two, a bunch of rainbows and a lovely tiger. A hat trick of species. The Autumn period at Ellerdine certainly lived up to our expectations leaving us fond memories of incredible fishing. The friendly staff and well stocked tackle shop ensures this is a fishery we will be returning to – with a trip in February in mind.

Gareth Wilson

For more details on the flies mentioned in this post visit UKFlyFisher.

Want to fish Ellerdine lakes? Visit their website here!

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.

Who’s the daddy? Fly-fishing crane flies for end-of-season trout

September is always a poignant time of the fly-fishing year. As the days grow noticeably shorter, the trout are the fattest and healthiest you’ll find them all season, but they often seem to be fixated on the very smallest and most technical food forms – like midges and pale wateries, presented totally drag-free, on gossamer-fine tippets.

Author, fisherman and environmentalist, Theo Pike discusses the exception to this rule and the secret weapon that shouldn’t be too far from your fly-box this September. It’s the daddy-long-legs. Here’s 6 top tips for landing yourself an end-of-season specimen.

crane fly

A crane fly, commonly known as the daddy long legs.
Image source: Shutterstock

Also known as crane flies (Tipulidae), these big insects will have spent the year as leatherjacket grubs, burrowing invisibly in the roots of the grasses and meadow flowers along our river banks. Now, as the air cools a little and turns humid after the long hot summer, they start to emerge and search for mates, to start their mostly-hidden life-cycle all over again.

For reasons best known to expert entomologists, some years are more prolific than others. Yet it’s no exaggeration to say that even in a sparse year, this can be the daddy of all seasonal hatches – at least as significant as the grannom or mayfly for the observant fly-fisher.

With cigar-shaped bodies, rambling legs that stick out in all directions, and wings that don’t seem nearly big enough to keep them airborne, daddy-long-legs look like Heath Robinson contraptions that fly badly, when they fly at all. The slightest puff of wind is usually enough to dump a few of them onto the nearest body of water, where they’ll struggle haplessly in the surface film, attracting attention from fish for yards around.

There’s no delicate sipping when these big mouthfuls are splashing down: trout and chub in particular will hit drowning daddies with real intent, sometimes even leaping out of the water, flattening them with a belly-flop, and circling back again to mop up the doomed insects.

If you think this sounds like some of the least technical fishing of the year, you may be right. But there are still a few useful things to remember if you really want to make the most of the early-autumn daddy-long-legs bonanza…

1 – Beef up your tackle

Daddy-feeding fish don’t tend to be too tippet shy, and the takes can be vicious, so this isn’t the time to take your tippet diameter much below 5lbs. Stiffer monofilament will help you avoid corkscrewed tippet when you’re turning over big, air-resistant flies into a headwind, and you may find a slightly heavier rod helpful, too.

2 – Match the hatch

daddy flies

Daddy long legs flies
Image source: Fishtec

Entomologists say there are around 300 species of crane flies in the UK, and while it’s hardly worth lugging around enough flies to match all of these, there are definitely times when the fish will respond better to one pattern than another. Carry a good selection wherever you’re fishing at this time of year, and stay alert for opportunities to try the nearest possible imitation.

3 – Chop and change

box of daddy long legs lures

A selection box of lures for variety
Featured product: Fulling Mill Daddies at Fishtec

Most of us aren’t lucky enough to be able to fish when the weather is perfect, so having a tactical selection of patterns in your box will let you pick the best option for the conditions you’re facing. For example, a fully-hackled fly flutters lightly over a wave, while choosing a low-riding pattern, with hackles clipped off the underside, will help your imitation sit enticingly low in a flat calm.

4 – Give it a twitch

After ditching in the drink, most daddies will fuss and struggle as though they’re trying to signal for help. Follow their lead by adding a little twitch to your presentation now and again, instead of focusing on a perfect dead drift, or just letting the fly float static. If the fish you’re targeting hasn’t been convinced so far, this may help to seal the deal.

5 – Go trophy hunting

The crane fly fall will often get the biggest fish in the river looking up for the first time since the mayfly hatch, so now’s your opportunity to target the really big beasts. Don’t be afraid to use the heft of these flies (and of course your heavier tippet) to fire them into places you’d normally assume are far too tight. After all, this is where the trophy trout, chub and even carp will be lurking.

6 – Don’t strike too soon

As mentioned above, some predators will deliberately swamp a struggling daddy, then come back and take it confidently under the surface. If you don’t feel the fish, try to ignore the impulse to pick up for another cast – just leave your fly in place. It sounds counterintuitive, but it often works.

large trout

September is the ideal time to land a large trophy trout
Image source: Shutterstock

Like Kieron in this article on how to fish daddy-long-legs, I do tie most of my own flies, but I tend to make an exception for daddy-long-legs and mayflies.

These are two hatches when having a flexible choice of different patterns is more important than having a whole row of clones in your fly-box, and it’s fun to let the designers show their paces with all the latest innovations. Grab yourself a generous handful of daddies from your favourite supplier – Fishtec stocks Fulling Mill, Iain Barr and Caledonia – and get out there to make the most of this end-of-season bonanza!

author profile

Theo Pike is a freelance environmental, fishing and marketing writer. He’s also 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 new Pocket Guide to Balsam Bashing appeared in 2014.

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!

Waterproof Fishing Clothing Review – Airflo Airtex Bib & Brace

According to the weather forecast it said inclement for the morning, with light sporadic rain showers. It didn’t say driving rain and hail for 27 February 2017!

Yet here I am standing on the bank of Meadow Lake at Ellerdine Lakes facing up the downpour. There is a hill in the distance from Ellerdine, which has a saying attached to it. “if you can see the Wrekin, it’s going to rain. If you can’t see it, it’s raining”. Whatever the weather, we all just want to be able to keep on fishing. Through low air temperatures that freeze the fly line in the rod rings and chilled stiff fingers, that need the close attention of the lodge log burner. Having gear that matches up to your fishing ambitions, is something that we all want. Without breaking the bank too. I’ve used Airflo’s Airtex waterproof fishing clothing in the form of a wading jacket since July 2014 and as yet, touch wood not had a wetting.

Stuart wearing the Airflo Airtex clothing on Ellerdine lakes

Stuart wearing the Airflo Airtex clothing on Ellerdine lakes.

I knew that my old bib and brace were seeing their last few months out, so went ahead and bought the Airflo Airtex Bib & Brace for £99 from Fishtec. I’m 5ft 10” so opted for a large size. There is a sizing chart on the Fishtec website for more info.

These are olive and black with a full front zip and Velcro closure and zip legs again with Velcro touch pads for the all important weather resistant seal. Padded shoulder straps and bayonet clips offer great support at the shoulder.

Here’s the hype on the Airtex Bib & Brace:

The Airflo Airtex clothing ranges are designed for fly fishermen by fly fishermen. Made of durable fully waterproof tear resistant material in Airtex green with black reinforcement panels; these are fully breathable and extremely comfortable fishing garments cut for ease of casting and walking. The Airflo Airtex Bib ‘n’ Brace features wide, comfortable, elasticised braces that clip neatly and securely to the front of the bib, with the crossing point at the back forming a large, cushioned area for even greater comfort. Down at the ankles you’ll discover a gusseted zip for easy foot or boot passage and Velcro adjustment tabs to ease the way into your wellies. For your convenience, the Airtex Bib ‘n’ Brace also features a high quality full length waterproof zip.

  • Fashioned from high grade, tear-resistant materials
  • Wide braces with cushioned cross-over at the back
  • Gusseted zip at ankles for easy foot and boot passage
  • Light, warm and very comfortable
  • Low profile clips to the front
  • Reinforced stress points
  • Velcro gusset adjusters for smooth entry
  • Breathability 3000g/24hr.sm
  • Sizes: M-XXXL

From a fishing perspective they are super comfortable and offer up breathability that means your not sweating your head off. The knee and seat areas have extra protection for kneeling in the mud and don’t leech water up the material, when you’re stood in it releasing fish etc. I like the crossover shoulder straps, which stop the straps falling down and a full length chest zip for access to your inner clothing.

Simple, functional and breathable and they add a serious level of protection, for just when you need it most. Look at Airflofishing.com or search through Fishtec’s fly fishing section for more on breathable clothing and Airtex.

10 Stillwater Trout Fisheries to try this Winter

With most large reservoirs and the trout rivers now closed, the main option available to fly anglers over the colder months are the small stillwater trout fisheries, who coincidentally enjoy their very best fishing at this time of year.

In this blog post, we cherry pick 10 winter trout fly fisheries that we feel are well worth a visit this winter. In no particular order, we take a look at some great UK stillwater trout fisheries that offer anglers excellent sport during the winter months:

Ellerdine Lakes

What can you say about Ellerdine lakes? A top quality fishery, run by friendly, expert staff. Noted as a big fish venue, Ellerdine is situated in tranquil countryside just a few miles away from Telford. With 4 spring fed lakes there is a lot of variety here, and plenty of water to fish.

With double figure brown, rainbow and even tigers on the cards you can be sure of great sport here all winter long. Highly rated by our blogging team and customers, Ellerdine is the place to go for a ‘big unit’ this winter.

A quality Ellerdine rainbow..

A quality Ellerdine rainbow.

Garnffrwd Fishery

Situated in the rolling hills of West Wales, Garnffrwd has long been a favourite venue for Fishtec team members. It’s clear, spring fed waters host some stunning browns and home grown rainbows, thanks to owner Jamie Miller’s hard work in raising the fish on site.

What makes the venue all the more charming are the platforms and little nooks and crannies – the water feels a lot more than it’s 5 acres. With gin clear water and a constant water temperature you can be sure Garnffrwd will fish well even in the most extreme winter weather conditions.

With imitative sport possible at almost any time, this lake is a great sporting challenge and it’s convenient location not far off the M4 makes it very easy to find.

Garnffrwd fishing action

Garnffrwd fishing action.

Lechlade and Bushyleaze

Situated In the sumptuous Cotswold countryside these twin fisheries are rightly famous for their superb trout fishing. Lechlade for it’s specimen lake and massive double figure fish, and the larger Bushyleaze, which is an example of a ‘natural’ fly water; a mature gravel pit with plenty of space for all.

What both venues offer is quality sport in pleasant surroundings – and they fish extremely well all winter.

Busyleaze trout fishery

Busyleaze trout fishery.

Dever Springs

Who can forget Dever Springs? In it’s 1990’s hey day, this fishery was a constant producer of huge trout, so much so that it’s stew pond earned the title of the ‘Jurassic pool’.

With a UK record rainbow of 36lb, plus a 28lb brown being caught here, Dever is still one of the best places to head in the UK for something really special.

Dever Springs has been off the radar for a while, but we can confirm the giant, record shaking trout are back – for a shot at a UK super-size fish this venue should be on your winter bucket list for the chance of a trophy.

A winter Dever springs brownie

A winter Dever springs brownie.

Gludy Lake

Located just a few miles away from the Fishtec tackle shop on the outskirts of the Brecon beacons, Gludy lake provides fantastic sport for quality, hard fighting rainbows, blues and browns.

Run on a purely catch and release basis, Gludy has a large head of full finned grown on residents that feed best in the cooler months. With cheaper winter rates available and options to stay overnight at the onsite lodge, a winter trip is a great option on this unique fishery.

Plenty of our customers will tell you about the legendary sport Gludy offers – it’s well worth booking a visit at least once in your angling career!

Gludy lake on a crisp winter day.

Gludy lake on a crisp winter day.

Exe Valley Fishery

With a history dating back to 1968, the Exe Valley fishery supplies trout to venues all round the country as well as having it’s own superb lakes. Located in beautiful countryside on the edge of Devon’s Exmoor national park, Exe valley is managed by blogger and angling instructor Nick Hart, so you can be assured it is run to a very high standard.

With great facilities and hard fighting home bred triploids regularly stocked, this fishery is high up on our ‘must fish’ list.

 A quality Exe valley rainbow

A quality Exe valley rainbow.

Stillwater Salmon Fishery (formerly Palm Springs)

Just down the road from the vast expanse of Rutland Water, SSF (aka Palm springs) is well known for it’s monster freshwater Atlantic Salmon. While not the cheapest fishery for a day ticket to fish here means you have a very good chance of connecting with a double figure or even bigger beast – 25lb plus salmon are regularly caught here.

New for winter 2016/17 is the ‘year of the tiger’ – tiger trout will be the regular ‘stockies’, along with browns and salmon in smaller quantities The tiger’s standard size will be 8 to 10lb! If you want a tiger of a lifetime, take a trip to Rutland county. This blog post by Rob Edmunds for Fulling Mill will give you a taste of what to expect!

A stillwater salmon.

A prime stillwater salmon.

Meon Springs

This established fishery in the beautiful Hampshire countryside has a novel twist – as well four clear spring fed ponds full of quality trout there are anglers shepherd huts and authentic mongolian yurts onsite. For a weekend away, this makes the perfect place to head for with a group of fishing buddies.

Meon Springs super transparent water is ideal for stalking methods, and unlike some others it has a catch and release lake where anyone can fish for free after taking their limit. Here the challenge is high as brown trout are the main stock –  but a great way to finish you day off.

Meon springs fishery

Meon springs fishery

Graiglwyd springs

This fishery must be the best place in Wales to hunt for a double at the moment. With fish up to 30lb and at least one double stocked each day, from what we have seen on Facebook your chances of connecting with one are high.

The big blues, rainbows and browns are all reared on site. Although it’s in North Wales, not far from the Snowdonia national park, we feel this venue is well worth the trek if you want a fish of a lifetime.

Craiglwyd springs - double figure trout action

Craiglwyd springs – double figure trout action.

Canada Lake

As the name suggest, Canada lake is scenic. With a pine forest on the far bank, this 6 acre fishery has the feel of a a much bigger venue. Located not far off the M4 near the northern outskirts of Cardiff, this fishery is a secluded gem.

Stocked with rainbows, it also holds wild brown trout and carp. All three species can readily take your fly, keeping you on your toes. The fishing here is never easy – but for great surroundings and a true challenge we heartily recommend Canada lake.

A small stillwater in winter.

Canada lake in winter.

Fishing The Daddy Long Legs

The Fishtec office has been invaded by huge, gangly legged flying creatures. In fact, you could call it an infestation!

This is a great sign for fly fishermen of course. The arrival of the daddy long legs means autumn is here, and the fishing can only get better. And this year, according to a BBC report we could be looking at a record 200 billion daddy long legs emerging in the UK this autumn.

The daddy long legs

The daddy long legs.

The annual daddy long legs hatch is one of our favourite fishing events on the fly angling calendar – when blown on the water the fish simply love them. Big, and easy to imitate it is an anglers dream to go fishing and find every trout in the lake smashing daddies off the top.

What are they?

The daddy long legs or crane fly is a large, harmless insect and a member of the true fly family (diptera)  It hatches from a larval form, called a leatherjacket in autumn, especially in warm weather followed by rain. These larva prefer to live in pasture land, lawns and particularity love damp, soft ground which is why you find so many emerging near reservoirs, lakes and rivers.

Need flies?

Getting the right ones is crucial. If you don’t have any big, bushy patterns during a daddy fall, you will miss out! The daddy long legs fly pack by Fulling Mill has every variant you will ever need. Make sure you pick up a set, because if news reports are to be believed the autumn daddy sport is going to be outstanding.

A Fulling Mill daddy pattern

A Fulling Mill daddy pattern.

We also stock individual daddy long leg flies by highland flies.

How to fish them?

Fishing daddy long legs is simplicity itself. We like to fish a team of 2 flies. Use tippet material that is fairly strong – the takes can be savage! Also, a thicker tippet helps present the big fly better and reduces leader twist. About 5 to 8lb BS co-polymer is ideal.

On the bank, pick a spot with the wind blowing onto the water. Here the daddies will hit the water first. Look for the line between calm and ruffled water – it is there fish will often cruise, looking to intercept these long legged morsels as soon as they are blown on. Gink up your flies, then simply cast out and let them drift round with the wind.

If you are fishing from a drifting boat, cast and let them sit for 20 seconds or so – then give them a quick twitch and let them sit for another 20 seconds. Then skate them back before lifting off. Sometimes a little bit of movement can act as a trigger. By repeatedly covering fresh water with shorter quick casts you will maximize your chances.

Beat The Heat – 5 Tips for Summer Stillwater Trout Fishing

At the height of summer stillwater trout fishing can be at it’s hardest. There are however ways you can beat the heat and catch stillwater trout in even the worst conditions.

Read our 5 Summer trout fishing tips to find out how you can beat the heat!

1. Fish mornings and evenings
– Make an effort to concentrate your fishing when air temperatures are cooler. Avoid the middle of the day. If you can, get there at dawn – fish will often be in the margins feeding hard, only to vanish when the sun is up. Same goes in the evening – as it gets dark, fish will wake up and usually feed heavily for a short spell at dusk.

Evening on the Barrows tank

Evening on the Barrows tank – Image: Bristol Water Fisheries Facebook

2. Fish in the rain – Nobody likes getting wet. Fact. But if it rains on a summer day make the effort to hit the fishery with your waterproof fishing jacket! Wet weather, overcast skies and wind are our friends in mid summer. Get out in the rain – it will be worth it!

3. Fish deep – If you do have to fish in the day time, make sure you bring a selection of sinking fly lines. Locate the deepest areas of the lake, for example a dam wall or bank with a steep gradient indicating a drop off into deep water. The Sixth Sense range of sinking fly lines from Airflo are indispensable at this time of year – especially the Di5 and Di7 models.

The Airflo Sixth Sense Di7 fly line.

The Airflo Sixth Sense Di7 fly line.

4. Find Oxygen rich areas – Trout are always more active and congregate in areas rich in oxygen. On reservoirs and fisheries look out for boils and aerators. Other areas to target include inlets with water flowing in, or where water is being visibly pumped into the lake. Target these places and the trout will be nearby.

Look for oxygen rich areas - like these boils.

Look for oxygen rich areas – like these boils.

5. Keep looking – Even on a hot day a few trout will be on the feed, somewhere. Don’t waste time casting fruitlessly if nothing is happening, spend it either walking round the venue fish spotting, or gently motoring round the reservoir until you see signs of life. When you do find fish approach with stealth. An example of this is around the vast weedbeds on Rutland water – invariably a few grown on trout will always be on the prowl in such places in summer. Hard fishing but when you get one it could be a slab.

Go looking for fish - and you might get a result! Image: Rob Waddington

Go looking for fish – and you might get a result! Image: Rob Waddington

Airflo Sightfree G4 Fluorocarbon Tippet

Small stillwater specialist Stuart Smitham looks at the new G4 fluorocarbon from Airflo.

I’m always skeptical about new fishing tackle. Having tried several brands of leader tippet in past and been let down, via a breakage mid leader. I started asking questions with a certain manufacturer and was told, it could be bad knotting. With no knot in the area of the break and no further answers or explanations on why this happened. I formed my own conclusions and was on the hunt for a better performer.

That was when I found Airflo’s G3 and from that point onward, I loved how this tippet worked it’s magic on me. It boosted my confidence levels when I was on the water, making me perform as better angler. Your leader is your invisible link to your fly and the fish. Why spend 100’s of pounds on great gear, then go out and buy cheap tippet??

Just over two years ago, I was asked to try what is now G4 Fluorocarbon. Airflo like to thoroughly field test their products to ensure they will never let you down. I was given a big spool for a bit of feedback, just to see how G4 fares against some of those big Ellerdine Lakes fish that Ed & Jayne Upton are famous for stocking at the fishery.

An 11lb Ellerdine trout taken with the help of G4 Fluorocarbon

An 11lb Ellerdine trout taken with the help of G4 Fluorocarbon

I like having strength in my chosen tippet and this new material has bags of it. It is also thinner in diameter than G3 for it’s given strength, and is much more supple but not overly limp. Abrasion resistance is superb, and good at enough to handle the shock hits and drives that a big fast fish can produce. Especially on those Ellerdine upwind feeders, that cruise just below the surface.  These fish hit your fly hard and continue going on track and at pace.

I like fishing with confidence and G4 has improved my performance, because I can fish worry free. Especially when you get to those nail biting stages in a scrap, when a trout shows it’s true tenacity, by shaking it’s head to free the hook hold. Or when you’ve just cast out and straightened your leader, then get one of those truly violent hits, that rips the line from your fingers.  If you can stay in contact after one of those takes, then you have a tippet worth it’s weight in gold.

I construct my leaders in most cases with two droppers, or on a windy day with just one.  I always use a three turn water knot for these and G4 knots very well.  Especially when your closing the knot tight. I nearly always wet the tippet before drawing closed and my knots look small, which is important for those close up feeders.

Because G4 is more supple that G3, it turns over well and sinks with ease through the water surface. Through the odd bad cast, I discovered that G4 copes well with my inevitable casting knot too, but err on the side of safety when you have the chance of a “Fish of a lifetime” right out in front. Check your leader every few casts for wind knots and you’ll fish more confidently.

Looking at the spools on this new tippet. They all feature the same build components. Colour coded spool labels, and the spools lock together too. An elastic spool tender prevents your line from uncoiling in your bag or rig. Plus there’s a nifty little viewing port on the spool front, so you can see just how much is left.

The new Airflo tippet material has interlocking spools and colour coded elastic tenders.

The new Airflo tippet material has interlocking spools and colour coded elastic tenders.

With more choices of tippet on offer in the new range, from Saltwater, G5 Premium, Tactical and of course good old G3. The Sightfree range of tippets is a ‘go to’ tippet system that offers lots of scope for the all round angler.

For more information on buying the new Sightfree range, go to www.fishtec.co.uk or www.airflofishing.com

If it’s broke……….fix it!

When I got back into fishing, I was very lucky to have some knowledgeable people around me to give me a steer in the right direction.  The great fishing community on social media has only helped me to improve.

Helpfull advice will get you more fish on the bank.

Helpful advice from fellow anglers will get you more fish on the bank.

Early on, I was keen to learn and what worked best for me was asking questions.  Tactics; flies; rod setup; were all frequently asked to any and all fellow fishermen. In the main, I received positive and helpful responses.  There was however a few who were not interested in helping, the very same people of shun any advice you offer up.  One example was of a man who was catching at a local Stillwater when I nor nobody else was.  He went as far a removing his fly from his cast when having a lunch break so nobody could see what was being used! But as I said, this was the minority.

I’m now at a stage where I’m confident enough in my abilities and knowledge that I can offer some advice when asked.  It gives me a sense of satisfaction when I tell someone to try a tactic or use a certain fly and it pays off.

A rare still and warm day at Garnffrwd fishery

A rare still and warm day at Garnffrwd fishery.

I recently took a trip to my favorite small water fishery, Garnffrwd.  I managed to get there on a gorgeous day, which is unusual for me.  No rain, temperatures up and the sun was out and warm (the warmth of the sun was not realized until I got home and my partner laughed at my ‘panda eyes’ – always use a hat and sun cream guys!!!)

The fishery looked gorgeous as ever and I was the only person there.  It was early morning and the fish were already turning in the surface feeding on buzzers.  Having already set up my one rod with my Airflo Super-Dri line, G3 fluorocarbon and an Olive Damsel, I gave it a swim. After a short time, and many follows I hooked up into a decent rainbow which quickly graced my Airflo Streamtec Trout net.  Without much further action I took a walk around the lake and had a chat to a couple of other anglers who had arrived.  Jamie, the fishery owner, also came by for a chat and he advised that black flies fished in or just below the surface film were working best.  Lures were just not doing the business and a lighter setup with smaller flies was the way forward.

With Jamie’s advice fresh in my head (after all, its his fishery and will be Managing the Welsh bank team so surely only a fool wouldn’t take that advice?)   I tied on a Black suspender buzzer and cast out.  I quickly lifted into another good fish, which turned out to be the best of the day – just short of 4lbs.  Another fished soon followed before I moved around to the Dam.

The suspender buzzer working it's magic

The suspender buzzer working it’s magic.

So why ‘If it’s broke……….fix it!’  Well, having caught a few fish I could see across from me that the two chaps I was talking with were furiously stripping lures without any luck at all.  One was getting rather frustrated – “it worked the last time we were here” I heard in quip angrily to his mate.  Having taken another couple fish on the dam, I moved round to the island on the pegs next to the man I’ll call ‘Angry’.  This time after casting out an Olive suspender buzzer a few times, a good spirited Rainbow took my fly.  It fought well and left the water a couple of times right by where ‘Angry’ was fishing – I think it did that on purpose.  Soon after it succumbed and graced my Airflo Streamtec Trout net.

With lunch time upon me and my stomach making its feeling perfectly clear, I headed for a break.   As I walked past Angry I asked ‘how you getting on’.  ‘Rubbish’ he replied.  I offered one of my flies to him and he appeared grateful, I offered the same gratitude to his friend.  Watching as I sat for some food, ‘Angry’ was still pulling lures.  His mate had taken my and Jamie’s advice and had stripped down his setup and was casting out my buzzer.

I finished the day with 9 Rainbows (all safely returned to grace another anglers’ net), mainly on the buzzer but a couple late in the day I took on a small Black Hawthorn fly.  Back at my car tackling down, the two fellow anglers followed shortly after.  One was chuffed he had taken 2 fish on my buzzer, something that gave me immense satisfaction.  ‘Angry’ had nothing.  I asked what tactics he used and he said he puled lures all day.  I could have been wrong but I got the sense he wasn’t willing to take advice from someone much younger, that or he was just plain stubborn?

It’s a way of fishing where I have learnt the most, if I’m not catching, I try something different.  Going as far as completely changing my rod setup.  By doing this I have caught fish on days that looked lost and learnt how best to fish my local rivers.  I was often surprised with what the fish are willing to take during them slow days we all have.

Take my advice, or don’t – but if it’s broke, fix it.  You’ll often be surprised but the results.

Garnffrwd is a truly cracking fishery, I didn’t manage any Browns or Tigers on this trip but surely that’s just a reason to go back soon??  If you haven’t been, make the effort to go, you wont be disappointed – Garnffrwd Trout Fishery

Tight Lines and Wet Hands

Craig

A nice Garn rainbow going back

A nice Garn rainbow going back.