After a few recent fishing trips I’ve started wondering whether this years particularly hot summer and relatively mild autumn are disrupting the trout’s normal behaviours for this time of year.
Beardy Paul and I met up recently for a days boat fishing on Bewl. This reservoir has been our bogey water, having never had a decent day, but we are determined to figure it out. Just like most of our recent trips, the weather was not on our side with a strong southerly wind blowing right across the main bowl. Nevertheless, we decided to go with recent reports and drift across Chingley point into the main bowl. I started with an intermediate with a blob on the point and two nymphs while Beardy Paul had a similar set-up but on a floating line – our usual competitive nature had given way to a team approach, trying different depths to se if we could crack it.
Unfortunately, after a couple of hours fighting the wind drifting across the main bowl, and even across the boils, with different flies (including fry patterns) and different depths we had no interest. To try to get out of the blustery wind which was starting to make casting difficult we motored up Bewl Straight where the higher banks sheltered us a little. We set a drift up from the south shore and, finally, just as we closed in on the north bank, Beardy Paul had a bite. The trout had taken a diawl bach just under the surface, almost as soon as the line settled on the water. A couple of similar drifts later and he had another in the same place, this time coming to a FAB. That was my signal to switch to a floating line onto which I tied a blob on the top dropper, diawl bach on the middle dropper and a foam minkie on the point. We set-up drifts to zig-zag down the north bank of Bewl straight and, in the next few hours, managed four each.
The fish came to the FAB, Blob, minkie and nymphs but they were all taken very close to the top of the water and on the windward bank. From my, albeit limited experience, this is more akin to early spring fishing.
Normally, at this time of year, the farmoor trout are packing on the pounds bashing fry mid-water. So, on a recent trip (again with a blustery wind!) I started with an intermediate and fry pattern. To cut a long story short, I walked round the whole of F1 trying different depths and flies with no sign of fish. After lunch I moved across to F2 and found a sheltered spot with the easier wind at my back. After seeing some trout top and tailing I put a floating line on with a couple of nymphs and a popper hopper to keep the line high in the water. I had one fish on a diawl bach and a couple of missed takes on the popper hopper. No interest at all in fry patterns.
I had a chat with the ranger at Farmoor afterwards. He mentioned that while some fish were taking fry patters, it tended to be the brownies. The rainbows were taking nymphs or gorging on daphnia. This would tie in with some of the theads on various discussion boards and catch reports (particularly at Rutland) where the brownies are being caught on fry but generally fishing is tricky. I wonder whether the hot summer, mild autumn and possibly the higher than normal water temperatures (Farmoor is still 10-12 degrees) has thrown off the trouts normal feeding patterns. It certainly suggests a flexible approach is needed as its not easy to guess what might work on any given day. It might also suggest (I hope) that we still have some good fishing to come once the frosts arrive and the colder weather sticks with us. This could be the best year for winter fishing for a while.