Over recent years Farmoor has tended to suffer more than most during the hot spells and this year was even worse. The high temperatures had pretty much killed the fishing by mid-late June and by late July they ceased catch and release. After the second hot spell in early August the water was simply too hot to fish and then water levels became dangerously low and the fishery was closed.
So, I was excited to read that Farmoor was re-opening on 4th November and promptly booked a day off work. They have only opened F1 at the moment as F2 (the larger section) remains 15-20 foot down on usual water levels. However, they are pumping in and water levels are rising so hopefully it will be back to normal soon.
It was a cold morning but the sky was clear and the sun was due to shine most of the day. There was a decent breeze blowing from the west so I drove round to the far side and walked to the causeway where the wind would be coming from my left and there was a ripple on the water. Normally at this time of year the fish are heavy on fry and sitting 3-6 foot down, so I tackled up an intermediate line with a white minkie on the point and a silver invicta on the dropper. After the first half an hour I had not had any interest so I put a black and gold humungous on the point to get down a little deeper. This resulted in a couple of quick fish, the first of which came off before I could get it to the net but another obliged on the next cast.
Given the recent stocking and months without angler pressue there was not as much action as I would have thought so I moved around to the west bank with the wind at my back. This proved to be a good move as I was into fish consistently, most coming to the humungous but also a lovely resident brownie thaat liked the look of the invicta.
As the morning progressed and the sun warmed up there was a decent buzzer hatch and signs of fish taking off the surface. I switched to a floating line with a black diawl bach and buzzer on the droppers and a sugar cube emerger on point to keep the flies high. Almost immediately a smaller brown grabbed the diawl bach, followed by a rainbow to the same fly. I kept the sugar cube on as there were sporadic rises and managed to entice a rainbow to sip it down off the top. This was amazing fishing in November, lovely aggressive buzzer takes and top of the water action; more like a spring day!
Things died off a little before lunch, possibly due to angler pressure as there were quite a few lined up down that bank. I decided to look for some quieter water and walked round to the north shore. The wind was across my right shoulder so a bit tricky but there was lots of activity on the top of the water. I tried with the sugar cube for a little longer and then changed it to a claret hopper fished wet. This allowed the cast to drop slightly in the water which seemed to do the trick. The next fish took the hopper almost static and this signalled an excellent couple of hours fishing with the hopper and the diawl bach taking a lot of fish, as long as they were fished very slowly. Some of the takes were arm wrenching and while most of the fish were recent stockies, a resident rainbow of 3-4lb also graced the net.
As the day wore on and the sun dropped I moved back round to the west bank and with little surface activity I replaced the hopper with the humungous. This resulted in another five rainbows with a double hook-up on my last cast of the day. A perfect point to end an excellent days fishing and a lovely return to Farmoor.