It’s been a long, hot summer with the reservoirs and fishing really struggling. Many of the large reservoirs are lower than they have been for many years and the water has stayed very warm into October. Beardy Paul and I have started to explore saltwater fly fishing for bass and mullet over the summer months, which has been hard work; trying to find good numbers of fish at the right time in the tide with the right weather conditions has been a new challenge! But hopefully the hard work will pay-off in future summers.
Nevertheless, after a few weeks of colder weather in early October, the trout fishing was starting to pick up and we were keen to get back out chasing rainbows! We decided to have a couple of days at Eyebrook which generally offers good sport and seemed to have been less affected by falling water levels as its not used for water abstraction.
It was misty when we arrived with a very slight ripple on the water and overcast. As we motored out into the main basin we saw signs of fish high-up in the water; there were some dimpled rises and some bigger commotions which looked like signs of fry feeding. We both set-up with floating lines and a combination of daddies, popper fry, FABs and nymphs on the middle dropper.
Beardy Paul got into a couple of fish relatively quickly on a FAB and we figured out a drift along the netted bank towards Robbo’s cabin where there seemed to be a greater concentration of fish. They were grouped together in large pods and high up in the water. Where we saw a movement in the water, we cast towards it and stripped the flies back which would result in thrashes, follows and hook-ups. We had a very enjoyable morning catching on popper fry and daddies.
In the afternoon, the sun came out and the wind dropped off completely which slowed the fishing down but we still managed to find some fish with a surge later in the day when the sun dropped. Overall, we had 14 to the boat and probably just as many that came off. Almost all the fish came to fry, daddies and FABs with fish keen to chase. Neither of us had any interest to the nymphs on our cast.
We were back at the water early, keen to get some more action with conditions that looked better; cloudy and with a decent wind which put a good chop on the water. We set-up in the same drift with popper fry, daddies and FABs again and got into fish straight away. However, as the morning wore on and the wind got up there was much less fish showing high-up in the water and less visible signs of the pods we had seen the day before. We tried a few different combinations and each caught a couple on brighter lures, stripped under the surface. We had the odd fish here and there, enough to keep us interested but it was not as consistent as the previous day. Takes became more sporadic as the morning wore on so we decided to do a tour of the water, trying out spots by the Island, Sam’s Dyke, the Willows and the dam but with little action.
We came out after lunch and after trying a drift across open water with deeper sinking lines (with no luck), we went back to our previous drift about 100 yards off the netted bank. With less fish showing we changed to flies that would sit just under the surface and managed a few more. As the day wore on with less activity I switched to a slow intermediate with a cats whisker minkie fly and managed to boat five rainbows in a flurry of activity over twenty minutes – right time, right place, right fly and right depth (luckily) – before it went quiet as the sun disappeared. That haul included the bigger, resident trout in the image below which, while slim, had a decent tail flecked with silver.
Although it had been a bit more sporadic than the previous day we managed to boat another 15 fish.
All in all, it was a fabulous couple of days back on the water with plenty of action and a chance to get our rods bent for the first time in months! We’ll be trying to get out again during November – possibly to Grafham to see if we can find some fry and/ore shrimp feeders before winter sets in.