The start of the reservoir season has been up and down this year to say the least. After a cold and windy start, where the fish on many reservoirs seemed to be staying out in open water, the weather turned decidedly summery. Beardy Paul and I booked a visit to Bewl Water after it opened following a week of bright sunshine with light winds, blue skies and temperatures up to 18 degrees, we were not sure what to expect. Sure enough, the sun was screaming down at us when we arrived although a chilly easterly necessitated coats first thing.
The dock was busy first thing and it looked like most of the boats would be out. According to Kevin, the new operations manager, the season had started with a bang and they were fully booked for the coming weekend. While some might have concerns about reservoirs opening to any-method anglers, the economics for Bewl are clear as only three of the boats were fly anglers. Its good to see the water busy and growing numbers of anglers can only be good for the sport overall and the future of our reservoirs.
We decided to start the day at the back of the playground, drifting out from the dam. In order to find the right depth, I’d set up with a slow intermediate with a weighted black and green minkie on the point, a cormorant on the middle dropper and a blob on the top dropper while Beardy Paul had a floater with a cormorant sandwiched between two blobs. Beardy Paul was into a fish within the first ten minutes, which took the blob on the point confidently and high up. I then had two takes on the black minkie deeper down which came off. We had a few follows and swirls over the next few drifts but then it went quiet.
We decided to have a try down Rosemary lane which tends to fish well early season. We were into fish relatively quickly, one coming to my cormorant on the intermediate and another to Beardy Paul’s blob on the floater. Just as we were thinking we’d found some consistent action, it went very quiet again and we had no interest over several drifts. We tried drifting into the banks down Bewl Straight, where I would have expected the fish to be shoaling, with no joy.
We then moved round to Chingley Wood, drifting parallel to the bank from the dam. Again, we both connected with fish relatively quickly, with different flies but this time both quite high in the water. Unfortunately, after trying the same drift again a couple of times we had no more interest.
After lunch we tried multiple different areas, went back to some places we’d caught before as well as trying a range of depths and tactics but just couldn’t get into any fish. There was a reasonably consistent stream of small buzzers hatching off in places but even slow, straight line nymphing with a team of buzzers had failed to get a take. While the water had warmed up it was still cool but maybe the consistent bright sun had started to put the fish further down. Maybe we should have resorted to deep sinking lines and boobies but after a winter stripping deep lures it was not overly appealing.
Nevertheless, it had been a good morning with six fish to the boat and enough action to keep us interested. And while the sun had impacted the fishing, it made for a lovely day drifting gently on the boat, blowing out the winter cobwebs and catching up.