After missing our usual May fishing trip for the last few years due to Covid, we were keen to get back to it this year. We’d learned from our September trip that it pays to fish a water more than once; the first day gives you a chance to really scout the water and figure out what works and then, hopefully, make hay on the second day. So, we settled on fishing Eyebrook and Rutland for two days each.
Everything in the lead up to the trip was looking good. Both waters were fishing well, there was plenty of fly life hatching and the weather looked decent. With cars loaded with fishing gear, food and beer, we both set-off early on the Thursday morning to meet at Eyebrook.
Eyebrook – day 1
For various reasons we were a little late getting on the water but by 10.30am we were in the boat and motoring out of the dock. There were bank anglers all the way down the Leicestershire bank and we could see rods bending. With the wind coming from the south-west, we set-up a drift just off the Willows and out into the main bowl. I started with straight-line buzzers on a floater and Beardy Paul was on a washing line. The wind was stronger than we thought and we were drifting quickly. With no sign of fish and rods bending on the bank and in boats that were anchored close in, it was obvious where the fish were. We found a spare patch of water in Sam’s Dyke and anchored up. There were no fish moving on top, so I put a heavy buzzer on the point to get my cast down quickly and was into a couple of fish relatively quickly: one on the heavy buzzer and another on a black diawl bach on the top dropper.
After half an hour with no further sign of fish, we decided to explore further up the water and headed round to Mucky Bay. As soon as we anchored up we saw signs of fish feeding close to the surface and a good number of swallows taking something hatching off the surface. I switched to a sugar cube buzzer on the point to keep things higher and Beardy Paul did the same with a Bejeezus Booby, which immediately bagged him a fish. We each had another fish on black and nemo crunchers but we could not tempt the fish to take anything off the top, despite trying lots of different options.
After lunch we motored right up the far end of the lake by the Cowshed which, protected by the wind, again showed signs of fish taking insects close to the surface. I managed another fish to the black cruncher and a FAB and Beardy Paul had a couple to buzzers and a black traffic light nymph.
Despite catching consistently, it didn’t feel like we had really cracked it yet, especially given the number of visibly feeding fish. We decided the finish the day off back in Sam’s Dyke. Again, we found fish feeding close to the surface but couldn’t quite figure out what they were taking. I saw a couple of crane flies floating around the water and decided to give a foam daddy a go. Things went a bit mental then and we spent a very enjoyable last couple of hours catching obliging rainbows off the surface or just below it on nymphs. The daddy scored best and provided some very entertaining action with black nymphs fished very high also proving successful.
Overall, it was a fantastic first day. Over twenty to the boat and the majority of those taken on the top on dries or just under the surface on nymphs.
Eyebrook – Day 2
We hit the water early on Friday confident that we had things nailed. The fish were taking high in the water and were concentrated close to the Leicestershire bank. We started the day in the bay closest to the lodge where we had already seen fish rising. We were both into fish quickly on Hawthorn flies but it died just as quick.
The wind was much stronger than the day before and coming from the West. Sam’s Dyke looked a bit choppy so we moved round to the more sheltered Mucky Bay. Again we found fish rising consistently and managed to take a couple each on a foam daddy, hawthorn and crunchers but it was slow going given the number of fish around. We stayed there for a couple of hours trying a range of different flies but couldn’t get into the fish consistently.
We tried further up the bank towards the cowshed and managed a couple of Rainbows and a Pike on a Damsel. While the sport was much quieter here, we did notice a hatch of Olives. I tried a variety of green nymphs with no luck but it gave us a hint that maybe the fish we had seen taking near the surface in other areas were taking olives.
After lunch we went to Sam’s Dyke which had fished well the previous afternoon. The wind had died back enough to allow us to anchor up without bobbing too furiously. We both had dries on the point (daddy, hawthorn) and a variety of olive and black nymphs on droppers. We were into fish quickly and it barely stopped all afternoon. The fish were definitely taking olives as an olive quill cruncher took the most fish for both of us but we also caught on olive sugar cube, olive buzzer, olive bob’s bits and a black cruncher. Beardy Paul also had some fun with a yellow owl CDC.
Another excellent day on Eyebrook with over 30 to the boat this time, again mostly caught on the top or just under the surface on nymphs. Perfect May fishing!
We knew Rutland was going to be a different proposition to Eyebrook but we hadn’t counted on the first-day conditions; scorching hot sun, clear skies, not a breath of wind and amazingly clear water. We saw fish in almost all areas we fished (Yellowstone, Barnsdale, Barnshill Creek, Normanton) but just couldn’t connect. Beardy Paul managed one in Yellowstone on a hares ear and a lovely little brown on a buzzer at Normanton but I only had one touch all day. We decided to call it a day early and enjoyed the sun in the pub instead.
Day two offered different conditions and we hit the water with renewed vigour, if not confidence. It was mostly cloudy, a little cooler and there was a decent easterly wind but not a cold one. We started back at Yellowstone and found fish moving freely in the clear water. We had a couple of tugs and bites but they seemed to be mouthing flies rather than taking them confidently. Whether that was the clear water or angling pressure in recent weeks, we decided to move on.
Further down the south arm the water was slightly less clear and there was a decent chop on the water. We set-up a drift from Green Bank and Beardy Paul had a fish quickly on an orange buzzer. Unfortunately, after repeating the drift there was no more action. We decided to join half a dozen boats anchored up in Hideaway bay and found a drift going right into the bottom end of the bay. I managed two quick fish, both on hares ear on the top dropper by casting close to the bank. Another two drifts yielded no more action so we anchored up and fished into the shore by the bird hide. I managed another couple here over the next hour or so, both falling to a black quill buzzer on the middle dropper but using a heavy point fly to anchor the cast down.
Like other areas it went quiet so we decided to move round to a few areas we’d seen fish the day before to see if the higher wind and cloud had brought them on the feed. First stop was Barnshill Creek, where we anchored in the middle of the bay and fished inwards. Beardy Paul managed a lovely brown trout on a Humongous fished on a floater, not massive but a lovely coloured fish. Shortly after I hooked another on a hares ear before (yes, you guessed it) it went quiet again.
We stopped off at Normanton for a while where, just as the day before, fish were rising consistently but we couldn’t get any interest (we saw the same comments from bank anglers on one of the forum’s – apparently taking very small black midges), before calling it a day.
We had managed to bring 9 to the boat and had caught at most areas, albeit just a few before it went quiet. Other anglers we spoke to at the jetty had struggled so it was nice to have dug some out.
Overall it was a fantastic four days of fishing. Eyebrook was absolutely on fire and gave us two fabulous days of fishing. Rutland was more moody but its such a beautiful place and offers a real challenge. Roll-on 2023!