Wednesday, 10 July 2013

South-West Lakes Trust Fishing Report for June 2013

The report below is from Chris Hall at SWLT and is reprinted here courtesy of the Kennick Fly Fishers' website from where I took it. The picture is of the 4lb 5oz fish mentioned in the Burrator section of the report - Peter Macconnell

The warmer weather in June at last resulted in more insect hatches, and much more evidence of surface feeding fish, although regular rises tended to be fairly short and sweet. Brown trout were generally looking up to feed, and could be attracted to a dry fly even when not steadily rising.

Water temperatures are still down a few degrees on the seasonal average, and with the relatively dry month, water levels have now started to fall at most waters.

Kennick – Anglers continued to enjoy excellent sport during June, with more fish rising, and floating lines with dry patterns becoming more and more successful. Fish are now much more spread about the fishery, with boat anglers enjoying particular success in Forest Bay and Clampitts Bay, and bank anglers catching well all over. Popular dry patterns included Daddies, Black Gnats and Beetles, with Hawthorns catching well toward the end of the month. Small sub-surface nymph patterns have been the most successful (particularly Buzzers, Diawl Bachs, Hare’s Ears, and Pheasant Tails) as well as the ever successful Damsel Nymphs. Lures have taken the odd deeper fish (Nomads, Boobies, and Cats Whiskers), but generally floating lines have proved to be the order of the day. The best fish caught in June was a 6lb 1oz rainbow, caught by John Hern (from Exeter), using an Orange Fritz from the bank during the Peninsula Classic competition at the beginning of the month. A 5lb 6oz rainbow was caught by Mr. McCormack (from Exmouth) as part of a full bag, using a Black Spider, and Mr. Davies (from Kingsbridge) caught a bag of ten fish on catch and release, which included rainbows of 5lb, 4lb, and 3lb 8oz.
Siblyback -  continued to fish well in June, with anglers continuing to average over 3 fish per rod. Two Meadows and Small Marsh carried on fishing well throughout the month, both from bank and boat, with bank anglers also catching fish from the North Bank and Stocky Bay. Subsurface nymph patterns (Damsels, Montanas, Diawl Bach and Buzzer) caught the most fish, although as the month progressed more and more fish looked to the surface for food, and a variety of dry patterns (including Hoppers, Bibios, Daddies, Beetles, Black and Peacocks, and sedge patterns) started to catch fish. The best fish of the month was a 4lb 5oz rainbow caught by Mr. T.Hunt using a Diawl Bach.

Wimbleball – The fishing became a bit more challenging in June, with the fish spreading themselves around the lake, and many migrating to the Upton Arm area (mainly accessible and fishable only by boat). Ruggs and Bessoms continued to prove popular with bank anglers, and as the month progressed Black Buzzers proved more and more popular, with the mornings producing the best fishing. Fish are feeding on snails, and so a lot of fish are still down fairly deep. The best fish of the month was an impressive 5lb 13oz rainbow caught by Rob Gale (from Ashburton) while fishing from a boat. Stuart Gooding (from Barnstaple), while attending a beginners’ course at Wimbleball, hooked and landed his first ever trout – a 5lb 12oz rainbow. The fish was hooked less than 12 feet from the bank, while hanging the fly (one of instructor John Dawson’s own patterns – the ‘Gale’) at the end of the retrieve. Peter Kempton (from Exeter) enjoyed a superb day’s boat fishing, catching a full bag of fish that included rainbows of 5lb 2oz and 4lb 10oz.

Stithians – Rod averages are now hovering between 2 and 3 fish per rod, and with the slow start to the season, there are now plenty of fish in the lake. Mornings and evenings are the best times to fish, and bank fishing continues to be the most popular, although toward the end of the month boat fishing produced some good sport. Yellowort and Chapel Bays, Goonlaze Point, and Pub Bay are all fishing well, with fish taking a variety of patterns, from Yellow Lures and Orange Fritz patterns, to Damsel Nymphs and Montanas, and Hoppers and Sedges from the surface. As the conditions continue to warm, prospects are good for top-of-the-water sport, particularly in the evenings.

Fernworthy – small black patterns still continue to be the most successful flies (Montana Nymphs and small black Cats Whiskers); there are now a few Coch-y-bondhu beetles around and Fernworthy’s browns are starting to feed eagerly from the surface. Black Gnats, Ethafoam Beetles, and Hawthorn patterns are starting to catch well, and producing some exiting dry fly sport, particularly from the bank between the permit hut and the dam.

Burrator – the fish are now starting to look up for food, and are rising to large dark patterns (such as Sedges, Daddies, and Hoppers), although the majority of fish were caught on sub-surface nymphs (Diawl Bachs, Damsels, and Buzzers accounting for most). The South Bank and Longstone Peninsula proved to be the most productive areas. Peter MacConnell (from Plymouth) caught a 4lb 5oz rainbow (as part of a full bag), fishing from a boat using a Golden Olive Bumble. There is now a Wheelyboat and a rowing boat available at Burrator to provide boat fishing. These are available via the Burrator Fly Fishers Association, and must be booked in advance (see website for details).  

Colliford – the warmer weather means that the brownies are looking to the surface to feed, with Brown and Black Hoppers, Hawthorns and Bibios, as well as pulled traditional wet patterns catching rising fish. Klinkhammers are catching fish feeding on emergers. It pays to fish the margins as well as the deeper water, stealthily keeping on the move to cover as much bank as possible.  

Roadford – the fishing here just got better and better as the month progressed, particularly from the boats. Although there have not been many spectacular rises, the fish have been feeding eagerly, with leeches and tadpole patterns proving to be particularly successful, and a lot of good sized fish accumulating around the ‘boils’. Andy Birkett (from Plymouth) caught browns of 6lb, 4½lb, and several fish between 2 and 3½lb. Bernie Maher (from Derby) caught a 5lb 6oz brown from the bank. Local angler, Wes Ower (from Broadwoodwidger) had three successful trips out with different boat partners, catching some quality fish on each session from the ‘boils’ using leach and tadpole patterns: with Mike Parkyn (from Cornwall),21 fish up to 4½lb; with Graham Angel, 14 fish to 4lb; and 16 fish up to 4½lb on the third session.  Wes Ower has also been instrumental in establishing a local South West branch of the Fly Dresser’s Guild based at Rooadford, and meeting on the first Tuesday of every month.



Thursday, 4 July 2013

'Watten long way'

By way of a change from the local fishing Jon Perry and Peter Macconnell drove 750 miles each way on a trip to Caithness in the far north-east of Scotland for the week 22nd - 29th June. The fishing was exclusively for wild brown trout for which the region is famous. It was an interesting and challenging experience and, what with the journey to and back, travelling between lochs and the towns of Wick and Thurso, we covered 1893 miles in the week. Was it worth it? Read on:
A brace of Loch Watten brownies
Jon and Peter based themselves in a caravan by Loch Watten which is one of the more famous trout lochs of the area but which, on its day, can be either very productive or very dour indeed. For our week Watten was mostly in a dour mood and we only managed to extract six trout from three visits. Though very lovely looking and tasting trout they were.

Peter's best Watten trout
Plenty of room for two anglers and their kit
Home for the week 

Watten at sunset

Heading out to fish 

In addition to Loch Watten, which is nearly three miles long and three-quarters of a mile wide, we also fished the delightful Loch Toftingall and the windswept St. John's Loch by boat, and Loch Calder from the bank. All these and half a dozen others are within reasonable driving distance of Loch Watten and Central Caravan's site which was our base. Each of these Lochs had a different character, Toftingall was secluded in the middle of a forest, down a long unmetalled track at the end of which was a boathouse and three rowing boats. It's unique quality, from our point of view, was the massive and seemingly constant hatch of mayflies.  Loch Calder was, by comparison, a vast and windswept place with a population of seemingly smaller but easy rising trout. Here are some more pictures:
Mayfly at Toftingall
Typical free rising Calder trout
Toftingall Trout

One of the minor highlights of the week was Jon's Ghillie Kettle (a variation of the Kelly Kettle) which meant that at appropriate points in each fishing day we could put ashore and within minutes have the most refreshing cup of freshly brewed tea. It kept us going in the more dour and frustrating moments!
Teatime at Toftingall
Jon working wonders with a few twigs
In the end Jon caught around thirty trout and Peter ten. Mostly they were from Lochs Calder and Toftingall. We had only three each from Loch Watten. So was it worth it? Well personally speaking I can hardly wait to go again, but Jon may have a more sceptical view - Peter Macconnell