5 Top Early Season Trout Flies

Spring is finally here – or is it winter? The fishing at the moment on stillwater fisheries and our trout reservoirs has been difficult, to say the least.

When it comes to fly choice, the right patterns can make all the difference in challenging early season conditions. Here we have picked our 5 top attractor flies to help you beat the spring chill, with a few tips on how to fish them.

A selection of early season trout fishing flies

A selection of early season trout fishing flies

1. Orange Booby – Size 10

What early season fly box would be complete without the booby? Orange is a dead cert colour that will attract freshly stocked fish. This version by Caledonia fly has a lot of extra movement in the marabou wing and straggle fritz body. Fish on a Di7 sinking fly line for best results either singularly or part of a team. A slow and twitchy figure of eight retrieve will often bring best success.

2. Silver Humongous – Size 10 Long Shank

A deadly early season lure pattern that will trigger the aggressive interest of the most lethargic fish, even in extreme cold water temperatures. As well as stocked trout, It also appeals to resident and overwintered fish, especially fry eating browns. Use on a Di3 or Di5 sinker with long strips and regular pauses. Expect arm wrenching takes!

3. Pink Diver Nymph – Size 10

A deadly ‘nymph’ that is perfect for fishing static under a strike indicator (Check out our guide). For cold water set the fly at a good depth to start, and simply let the wind do the work. The wind and wave action will make the rubber legs twitch enticingly, making the fly hard to refuse.

4. Marabou Montana – Size 10

Black and green is a lethal combination for the early part of the season. This take on the classic Montana nymph adds a heavy bead and some marabou to create a winning blend. Fish on a floating line with a very long leader (15 to 20 foot) let it sink right to the bottom and then literally crawl it back with a slow figure of eight.

5. Hotty Dancer – Size 10

Yellow and white has been proven as a brilliant choice for coloured, cold water – for example snow melt conditions. The addition of a hot head bead enhances the patterns appeal and works as a trigger point. Fish on a fast intermediate fly line and retrieve with a slow, but steady strip after allowing the fly to sink a few feet down.

An ealry season prize on the orange booby

An early season prize on the orange booby!

Boat or Float Tube – Fishing on Gludy Lake

Ceri Thomas and Tim Hughes tackle Welsh small water Gludy lake with two different methods afloat. Which one comes out on top?

Afloat on Gludy lake

Afloat on Gludy lake

Gludy lake is a truly magical place. Situated just outside the market town of Brecon, the naturalised stillwater has been on the map for over 150 years. In a wooded hollow, a small earth dam holds back just over 7 acres of rich, fertile water that is full of invertebrate life. Couple this with abundant coarse fish fry and it’s easy to see why the stocked trout rapidly turn into fully finned backing stripping machines.

Managed as a trout fishery for the past 17 years, Gludy has always been run on a purely catch and release basis – so any stocked fish get the chance to mature and grow into fine specimens indeed. The lake holds rainbows, blues, browns and even the odd tiger. Variety is key and Chris Burgess, the fishery manager for the past decade is currently enlarging a holding pool at the top of the lake. The new pond will be lightly stocked for beginners and bank stalking next year. There is also a newly constructed boat house at the top end of the lake, next to the luxurious day lodge that visiting anglers can make full use of.

Setting up by the lodge

Setting up by the lodge

Bank fishing is a little limited on Gludy, due to the reedy, marshy banks and abundant shore line tree cover. Most anglers fish from a boat, with several different sized craft on site supplied complete with electric motors. This gives you complete freedom to fish any area of the lake you wish. Float tubing is also allowed – one of the few venues in South Wales where this special form of fishing can be enjoyed. You can bring your own or make arrangements to use one with the fishery.

Gludy Boat House

Gludy Boat House

Today we are looking to try the two methods side by side – Tim in one of the boats and myself in a tube. There are pro’s and con’s to each way of fishing, so this session should make it clearer as to which one can give you the best results on a water of this size.

Tim decides to fish from a smaller one man boat, armed with his usual stillwater outfit of a 10’ #7 weight Airflo Airlite V2  rod. He starts off with a Super-Dri Elite floater and more imitative patterns, looking for the grown on fish rather than raw stockies.

Tim's flies for Gludy

Tim’s flies for Gludy

I blow up my float tube, don neoprene bootfoot waders, float tube fins and a buoyancy aid fly fishing vest. My rod of choice for the session is an Airflo Delta Classic 10 foot #6/7. When tubing your back cast can be limited, due to your position low down on the surface. So you need to load up your rod quickly, with the minimum of false casts or you can risk clipping the water behind you. The Delta Classic is a perfect tool for today, with its deeper traditional action that loads nicely with a shorter length of line.

Ceri's flies to target fry feeders on Gludy

Ceri’s flies to target fry feeders on Gludy

Due to Gludy having a big head of roach and perch I’m looking to target the resident fry feeders that should be in fine fettle after a long autumn of eating protein. So I attach some lure patterns to start off. Linewise, I rig up with a Sixth Sense Di3 sinker, an early winter favourite that allows a versatile approach for searching through the layers. 8.8lb Sightfree G4 is the tippet, with a white hotty dancer on the point and an epoxy perch fry on the dropper I feel confident of success. As if to confirm this, we see plentiful evidence of coarse fish fry topping and jumping as we look out onto the lake – hopefully the trout won’t be far away.

Where to start?

Gludy is a predominantly shallow lake, with an average depth of 6 to 7 feet. However the Dam end goes down to nearly 15 feet, so in the absence of any obvious activity this is where we both head, with the assumption that fish will be lurking in the deeper water after the recent cold snap. Tim on the electric engine, with me kicking along at a much slower pace.

Naturally I take the opportunity to troll as I travel from A to B. By simply covering water you up your chances, and soon enough the Di3 tightens and the first fish is on. Some may call this cheating, but I call it effective!

A fish on the tube - trolling the flies

A fish on the tube – trolling the flies

As we head down the lake it becomes apparent that there is trout activity at the far end, in the deeper water off the dam. Fry are sporadically jumping clear, and with the odd boil around them it seems the trout are on the fin and interested in chasing them.

To even the odds, Tim has attached a Deeper echo sounder to the side of his boat – it confirms that the area is home to a vast shoal of coarse fish, sitting on top of a submerged weed bed in10 foot of water. He anchors up and starts to fish the area, quickly changing his point fly over to a minky booby, keeping a cruncher on the dropper.

A fish bursts out about 10 yards away, I swivel in the tube and put the flies across the spot. Stripping, the line tightens and another angry Gludy trout is attached. In fact, it is two of them at once but the fish on the dropper comes off during the battle.

A quality Gludy Rainbow trout

A quality Gludy Rainbow trout

A nice rainbow eventually graces the net, typical of the quality you can expect at Gludy. Action continues for me on the lures with a number of fish landed in quick succession. Meanwhile Tim has a number of boils under a floating fry, fished right on the surface. He bumps a couple of fish, and his line finally tightens with a nice rainbow that has taken the cruncher.

Playing a lively fish on the boat

Playing a lively fish on the boat

On a catch and release venue it is remarkable just how quickly fish wise up to lures, and the positive takes we were getting soon start to dry up, turning into just nips and follows. This is where float tubing can be a disadvantage – it is very difficult to change your fly line and leader set up over. Tim is able to adapt his tactics and change his tippet to a finer diameter (5.5lb G4) with ease in the boat – switching to a smaller nymphs, he is rewarded with several fish in quick succession that take the flies fished slowly. Meanwhile I am stuck on the Di3, which is limiting what I can do, although I am still picking up the odd fish.

A Gludy fish on the nymphs

A Gludy fish on the nymphs

We only have a short time on the water today, so have to call it quits after a few hours fishing. However a good number of fish have been caught by both of us making it a decent morning.

The Pro’s and Con’s:

Tube

Float tubes allow complete freedom of movement whatever the wind direction. They also allow you a silent, stealthy approach.

For whatever reason, fish simply do not fear tubes like they do a boat or wading angler. This allows you to get very close to them and fish into shoreline shallows where bank angling would instantly spook fish. Your low position in the water casts a shorter shadow, therefore less likely to alert following fish.

Float tubes allow you to troll your flies allowing you to cover a vast area by simply trailing your flies behind you.

Float tubes allow a stealthy approach

Float tubes allow a stealthy approach

On the downside, it takes some time to move spot using flipper power. You may also find yourself limited method wise, as I found. Changing a fly line over involves a lot of effort and time wasted as you have to go to shore.

I felt at times I could have converted many of the follows and plucks into fish by rapidly increasing the movement of the flies, but I was limited to the speed I could strip the flies back by a lack of elbow room.

Another aspect is comfort – despite wearing neoprene waders, being submerged in the water can give you a chill. I felt quite cold after only a few hours. You also need to be fairly physically fit, so tubing isn’t for everyone.

On the Boat

In a boat you are much higher up than a tube. This allows for a much better visual fishing experience. It is also better for slow nymphing techniques and for quick covering of rising fish. You have no arm room limit so if you want to rip lures back at a breakneck pace you will have no problem.

Speed is another factor – the ability to move spot quickly, with an engine is a big plus. Not forgetting being able to anchor up.

Fishing from a boat is more comfortable if you are fishing for a long day – access to food, drink and toilet facilities is made so much easier.

Boats are comfortable and easier to get around the lake in

Boats are comfortable and easier to get around the lake in

Boat or tube?

We both finished off with exactly the same number of fish – the advantages of one method over another seemed to have eventually evened out today. So ultimately, it might boil down to which mode of fishing you find most enjoyable.

Winter value

Gludy  lake offers fantastic value winter rates, with all day fishing available at £35 per head from 1st November to 28th February. It is possible to block book the fishery and stay overnight in well equipped onsite accommodation. The lodge and facilities are free to use.

For full details visit www.gludy.co.uk or call 07980 711 847

Gludy Fishing Lodge and Chalet

Gludy Fishing Lodge and Chalet

Sandford Pool – Stalking in the Woods

In this day and age it is quite refreshing to hear of a new small Stillwater trout fishery opening its doors, rather than yet another one closing down or turning into a coarse fishing water.

In an exclusive ‘first visit’ Airflo’s Tim Hughes and Ceri Thomas sample a new brand water in Gloucestershire called Sandford Pool.

Fishing on Sandford pool

Fishing on Sandford pool

I first heard of Sandford Pool just a few months ago. The word was, that an established, gin clear water where sight fishing ruled had opened its doors in the picturesque Forest of Dean. Finding a new trout water, let alone a genuine stalking venue is a bit of a rarity these days, so myself and Tim set a date to sample the fishing at the nearest opportunity, with a first ever feature on the fishery in mind.

We were hoping for clear skies, sunshine and calm wind for the feature – the best conditions for visual fishing. Typically, the UK winter weather let us down.  As we headed up the A48 from our Brecon HQ, we were greeted by drizzle and grey cloud, far from ideal for stalking and photography. Nevertheless, we decided to go ahead with the feature and found the fishery fairly easily, just off the main road.

Situated just outside Lydney, in the historic and beautiful Forest of Dean region, Sandford Pool appeared to be something rather special.  Our first glimpse of the lake was down a recently made wood chipped track, into a deep hollow where the pool sat, surrounded by mature trees.

Sandford pool nestles in a deep hollow

Sandford pool nestles in a deep hollow

We were greeted warmly by Sami, the Fishery manageress, who explained that the lake was once completely neglected and forgotten, the surrounding land like a jungle and the pool itself almost fully choked with weed.  We could see that immense time, effort and dedication has gone into making the venue fishable – careful tree cutting, new paths and sturdy, well laid out wooden platforms surrounded the lake. A portaloo toilet, wooden hut, picnic tables and a robust looking otter proof fence completed the picture.  Everything looked tidy and well kept, with nothing to spoil or clash with the original secluded charm of the venue.

A warm welcome awaits anglers at Sandford pool

A warm welcome awaits anglers at Sandford pool

Sandford pool only opened in April 2017 and is stocked regularly with quality rainbows and blues supplied by Exmoor fisheries, ranging from 2lb to 7lb in weight. The pool also holds a head of natural wild brown trout that have been there as long as anyone can remember.

Completely spring fed by groundwater flows, the acre or so pool was indeed crystal clear – and despite the poor light we could see plenty of fish to cast to, as well as tree roots and submerged weed. With depths up to 12 foot, the venue is fishable all year even in hot conditions due to the cold, oxygenated water that you can actually see bubbling up from the lake bed in some areas.

Tackle up for stalking

I favour a lighter approach to this sort of fishing – a 9’ #5 is perfect for accurate short and mid range work, with the added benefit of being great fun when you hook into a fish. Far too often have I seen anglers turn up on small fisheries with 10’ #8 weights – vastly overgunned and much harder to fish with delicacy. I set up with an Airflo Airlite V2, Switch Pro reel and 5 weight Airflo Bandit fly line, a stealth line with the added benefit of offering take detection by watching its brown banded tip.

Tim has set up with an Airflo Streamtec 9’ #4/5 and a WF5 Forge Fly line, which again is nice and subtle for stalking with its olive head section.

Stalking essentials

Stalking essentials…..

One essential that we both need today are yellow tinted Polaroid sunglasses. Yellow is the best colour for low light, which today is very poor indeed. With these on we can pick out a quite a lot of detail in the clear spring fed waters of the pool, allowing us to spot and target fish.

As we rig up Sami offers us a most welcome cup of coffee – complementary for any visitors to the fishery! Bacon rolls are also available on site, for a very reasonable cost.

Where to start

There are about a dozen pegs to choose from, I pick a peg right in front of me, where I can see a submerged weedbed about 20 yards out.  I add a clear 5 foot polyleader and 10 foot of 6lb G3 fluorocarbon tippet to my fly line. The floating Airflo polyleaders have been vastly improved in recent times. Now glass clear, they have no memory with improved welding technology, perfect for improving your presentation and turnover – so important if you are stalking!

Flies

To begin, I opt for a more natural pattern. I tie on a weighted gold bead damsel and make a few exploratory casts. Despite the pegs being surrounded by trees, there are lots of gaps for you to make casts, with side and over the shoulder casts being possible, allowing you to cover the water from all angles. For me the trees added to the challenge, causing me to slow down and think about where to direct my back casts rather than just blast the line out.

Into the action

In front of me I can see the odd dark shape ghosting over the weeds. Almost straight away I feel a bump through the line, and see a broad form materialise behind my fly. The water is so clear that I can see every follow. And believe me; it’s happening almost every cast! It becomes apparent that these fish are inquisitive but also wary. I try fishing slow but that seems to be totally ignored. Speeding up the fly up causes them to chase, but as soon as I stop the retrieve or hang the fly they turn away.

The fish are here, so surely it’s just a case of cracking the code:  fly choice, depth, and retrieve. As I mull over this, the banded tip of my Bandit fly line jags forward and a feisty little wild brownie come to hand. Underneath him, I spot a pair of nice blues that have come to take a look at the commotion – a clue perhaps as to what they want?

Sandford pool wild brown

Sandford pool wild brown

Meanwhile, between camera shots Tim has rigged up with a bung. First with an Apps bloodworm and then with a tiny nymph beneath it.  He gets fish looking but no takes. He also has a dabble with dries, casting CDC’s over cruising fish. But again, they ignore the offerings. These fish are pretty wised up and perhaps need to be induced into taking.

I move to another peg and tie on a lure – a favourite pattern of mine, a black tadpole featuring a 3.8mm tungsten bead. It is a fly that has worked well for me on both rainbows and wild browns. First cast, a fish follows it back to my feet. I start to mix up the retrieve finally the line locks up with a feisty rainbow attached. What has worked is a very jerky, erratic figure of eight that seems to trigger an attacking instinct. The heavy tungsten bead makes the fly jiggle up and down quickly, an action that seems to be irresistible. The weight of the bead is also keeping the fly in the taking zone for longer, about two foot below the surface.

A pretty rainbow trout

A pretty rainbow trout

From there on sport is pretty frantic, with lots of nice blues and rainbows coming to the net. Numerous times I spot fish, cast the lure at them and start the figure of eight immediately to grab their attention. Almost invariably they follow, with a good number charging at the fly then turning away with it in their mouths.

It has to be said that the fish here fight particularly well and are in superb condition, with a noticeable silvery sheen to them.  This must be due to the pure unpolluted spring water, which provides abundant oxygen. I get taken to the backing by a particularly feisty blue – something I haven’t had for a while!

A hard fighting trout from the gin clear waters

A hard fighting trout from the gin clear waters

Tim has also switched to a leadhead mayfly nymph and begins to catch in abundance from his side of the lake. Between us we have captured well over 20 fish, in just a couple of hours angling. Great sport and at £10 for 4 hours catch and release a genuine bargain.

The verdict

Although small, Sandford Pool offers a very enjoyable and engaging experience.  Due to the trees and spring fed water, it has a different feel to it than your typical ‘hole in the ground’ venue and seems a lot bigger than it actually is. The fishery is well run, facilities good, management friendly and the quality fish fight hard. What more could you want from a new fishery?

Tim Hughes with a nice fish

Tim Hughes with a nice fish

Fishing on Sandford Pool

Sandford Road, Alvington, Lydney GL15 6PZ
Open 8am – 6.30pm year round, Tuesday to Sunday
Contact tel: 07931115301

Catch & release:
£15 All day
£10 Four hours

For more information and ticket options visit: www.sandfordpooltroutfishery.co.uk

Fishing Snake Flies On Small Stillwater

If you haven’t tried snake flies yet, then you may be missing out on some brilliant sport! In this piece Fishtec blogger Stuart Smitham reveals how he fishes snake flies on small stillwater fisheries to deadly effect. Read on to discover how to fish these controversial lures to their potential.

An Ellerdine salmon captured on a snake fly

An Ellerdine salmon captured on a snake fly.

Ask most people how they fish a snake or leech pattern and they say, on a sinking line??  The reason for this, is because it was considered the norm and adopted by most. I’m fine with that philosophy, but when someone then tells me, it’s the only way to fish them, I’ll prove them wrong. I’m no doubting Thomas, but there are always advantages to be derived from other set ups and different presentations. In this blog post I take a closer look at how to fish snakes effectively on a small stillwater fishery.

For the most part, Leeches or constructed on a single hook, similar to zonkers. Snakes are usually a two hook construction, with the front hook chopped off at the bend. Some good tiers use braid instead of a front hook, which also works well.  If you tie your own, then you’re at a distinct advantage over those who shop buy.  Having tied mine in various guises, I like to think I have my colour combinations down to pat, but I also like to try other colours which can sometimes be fantastic.

For me the following work well. First colour is the rabbit or mink strip then the tail colour. Black/olive, black/pink, black/yellow, black/orange, black/red, black/chartreuse. Then grey/red, grey/green, grey/yellow, grey/chartreuse, grey/orange. Most have tungsten beads at the head so they can be fished on other fly lines. More on that later.

Ready for battle....

Snake flies ready for battle….

The best tip I can give on fly choices is, clear water use light colours like grey or white. Murky water makes dark colours like black stand out like the dogs breakfast. I’ve used this method for some time now and it works. You’ll get lots of follows when you get it wrong, because the fish will still come and investigate the fly, but the proof is in the eating and when you get it just right, the line just hammers away!

Get your tackle right I’ve seen people get into a right state when fishing Leeches and Snakes. Where they’re fishing too light a leader and get smashed big style. It’s all too easy to fish a thin tippet, because it offers up better presentation, but the sacrifice outweighs the reward. Losing a fish is bad enough, but snapping off and leaving a fly in a fish is far worse.  Most fisheries have a tackle stand or a small amount of tackle, where tippet/leader is available. Ellerdine Lakes insist on a minimum breaking strain of 6lb and rightly so, considering their stocking policy.  Ed and Jayne Upton have a great reputation for stocking some of the best fish and rightly deserve their UK No1 Small Stillwater Award.

I use 10ft 7 weight fly rods for fishing snakes. You need a strong and capable rod for firing out long lines, into the wind and to cast big flies with no problem. My reels are the Classic Cassette from Airflo which are cartridge type reel and take some abuse from me, no end. Tippet choice is down to personal preference and I use three types. G3 Fluorocarbon which is a good standard leader. G4 which is a slightly thinner diameter than G3, or G5, which is just outstanding and a premium leader but a little more pricey. Buy cheap leader at your peril. After all, it’s the invisible link between your fly and the fish.

A rainbow that took a white and green snake

A rainbow that took a white and green snake.

Fly line marking Unless you’ve seen it for yourself, you would never believe a fish could inhale your fly and reject without you feeling it?  I’ve seen this and had to find a way to help combat it. Since those early days, I started marking my fly lines. This radically changed my take detection, giving me more time to react to a take. You may not feel the take, but you can see the reaction to a take on your fly line. I use a black permanent marker and start at the line tip with small dots. In groups of five, I gradually increase the size of the bands in each set to the nine foot point. Then at ten foot I put two big marks about eight or nine inches each. These bands offer contrast points that you can concentrate your focus on during the retrieve. The two big bands are focus points at distance and yes you can see these. Having this contrast point you pick up the little tugs and small plucks, you’d otherwise miss. A simple concept and it just works well for me. Try it for yourselves and see what you’ve been missing?

I use floating lines, intermediates and sinkers, but my favourite at the moment is the mini tip. Airflo’s Super Dri mini tips are just outstanding. Because they use Super Dri Technology, they recover back to the surface quickly after sinking. I primarily start out with the 6ft slow sink mini tip and don’t shy too far away from it. Mini tips have all the great characteristics of a floating line but with a sinking section that does two things. It anchors the end of the fly line, to slow its movement, where the water surface is moving quickly with the wind and aids me in fishing my flies at a more controlled depth.  I normally have 12ft of leader and 10ft to my two big markers, which equals 22ft of line on the water plus whatever I’m casting. So you can cover a lot of water with little effort and you don’t realise it either.

Fishing leeches/snakes when I arrive at the waters edge, I drop my fly in and give it a squeeze to absorb water and help it break the water surface when I cast it out. Then once I’m happy I’ll pick up fly and move to my chosen fishing spot. Casting to the left and right margins first, can sometimes pay off, where feeding trout will cruise in for a small morsel.  Because they’re inquisitive they can be provoked into a take. Make short casts and straighten your line out, then slowly retrieve your fly. Little figure of eights with stops work. As does a short pull, wait then make a longer pull. The way this works is, the fish moves in the short pull and in most cases takes the fly, then as you make the long pull, your tightening into the fish. If you get a hit like this, drop your rod sideways and continue the retrieve until it all locks up. I don’t fish droppers with leeches.  It’s hard enough to control one strong fish. Having two on at the same time is scope for disaster. Fish one fly and fish it with confidence.

Use the line banding after you’ve cast out. Let your fly settle and drop through the water column. I don’t countdown for the first few casts, as I sometimes get plucks at the surface or just below. As your retrieving and make stops, you’ll notice the fly line looks limp? Make a short pull, then watch the line.  If the line stops, goes straight or plucks, line strike!  Chop your line hand down hard and drop the rod sideways. If you have a fish on, the rod tip will come to life and you’ll feel the tugging on the fly line. If there’s nothing then you’ve only moved the line a short distance and not pulled out of the taking zones depth. Watching the line banding is the key to success. Let your concentration drop and you’ll miss hits and plucks. Fish hard for 15 minutes then stop and check your fly and leader. This acts as a distraction and helps you break your concentration briefly. If you’ve not had a pluck then consider changing flies?

Sinkers and Intermediate lines When fishing sinkers or Intermediates the visual aspect only comes into play on the hang, unless you have hang markers incorporated into the fly line, like the Sixth Sense range. These have a 10ft, 20ft and rear taper marker or 30ft point marker. These are good for stops on your retrieve because they are highly visible and offer a great contrast point to watch for hits. Sixth Sense lines have superb cores which transmit takes, right down the line length, regardless of the length of line outside the tip ring. Just brilliant

Floating Lines I mentioned using beaded flies. They offer a great advantage with a floating line over fishing an unweighted fly, in that they sink quicker, so they can be dropped into most places with ease. Because they drop through the water quickly, you can concentrate on watching the banding and maintain close contact with the fly, feeling the hits as the fly is pulled away. What you’ll also notice is, when a weighted fly had been taken, the tension you have on the line changes, with a distinct momentary second or two, where the line feels weightless. Striking at this point will pay dividends. Also when the wind changes you can put a mend in the line, to maintain contact with the fly. Watching the line banding is a must to spot the takes though. The floating lines I use are Super Dri Lake Pro, Mend and Bandit. The first two I mark myself, the last one is factory marked and coloured Olive and Brown. When you view Bandit in the surface, it looks like a series of dashes which highlight line movement. Mend is a thicker bodied line used for fishing  bigger lures and is ridged, so the ink from your permanent marker ink tends to last longer as it drops into the grooves between ridges. A neat side effect of Ridge technology and I can’t knock it. Lake Pro is an out and out beast of a line. Great performance and being a mint blue shade is easy to spot on the surface and again ridged.

Here`s an idea on what can happen Ellerdine Lakes on the 13th December was a chilly day. Just three degrees on the temperature and as I drive in, a third of Meadow Lake is frozen. Of the four lakes at the fishery, Marsh is totally frozen over, The other two lakes I’ve not seen yet are fishable but have ice on the surface. Starting on Meadow initially I put on a white and green leech. Making  some casts into the margins on the reeded bank. No plucks or pulls sees me dip into the fly box and pull out a black and pink fly. I search the margins again, then cast at the ice edge.  Straightening the leader and watching the banding, when the line tightens up. The two large bands had been pulled under, meaning the line was tight and I’d got a take. Dropping the rod sideways I could see the line being pulled away. I haven’t seen the fish at all, so have no idea what it is?? All the line that was on the deck was already gone, so I’m watching for a direction change on the fish. It then comes back at me and I realise I’m walking on my line, that I’m now hand balling in quickly.

Salmo Salar taking a liking to snake flies.

Salmo Salar taking a liking to snake flies.

First fish and it’s a salmon! Then a grey ghost appears and it is the first time we’d seen each other. He doesn’t like me and shot off again. After a few minutes and signs of the fish tiring, I manage to scoop it into the net.  Talk about elated. Chuffed to beans Mr Salmon get in!  With a few more plucks and no further interest, a quick chat and brew with Martin Cooper and I’m off to Crannymoor. With small bows plucking the leech, I changed colours to a grey and red leech and make for the middle of Lakemoor and cast near the reed fringes.

As I’m hanging the fly, a brown trout shoots out of nowhere and nails it at the surface.  After a short feisty scrap, a beautiful Brown trout slipped into the net. After some great pics  back he went. What a cracking fish. I move into the corner and make another quick fly change to black and orange, then a short cast to the margin produces a hard hit. I saw the pluck on the banding, but wasn’t prepared for the run. Hard and running up the lake edge right near the weed. A snag here and I’m done for, so as the fish moves toward the weed, I change tack and apply pressure from the opposite direction, which works! This fish goes back down the bank edge it just swam up.

Another victim of a black and orange snake.

Another victim of a black and orange snake.

Several tense moments and concerns about snags are coming to an end, but my problem now is getting it into my net, plus keep control of this beast. A friend named Lorina is on hand and uses her bigger net, to put paid to this run around.  A couple of pics and back it goes. The rainbows are going crazy for black and orange!  I think I finished on seven, but what a session. The bows are coming in and just nailing the leech hard, which is great fun.

Does fishing a snake fly sound like something you want to do? Why not give it a try and see what you can catch.  Remember, above all else enjoy your day. Now get marking those lines!

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.