International call for local fishery

After a very successful national competition at Chatton recently, the fishery has been booked to host the Home International Bank Competition in the autumn, writes Bob Smith.

What an accolade for this popular still-water. It is tremendous that such a high-profile international event is not only coming to the North East, but to Chatton and Northumberland.

All the very best bank anglers, representing all the home nations, will be descending on Chatton.

Sincere congratulations to all the Brown family and their staff, who work tirelessly to maintain their own high standards. Father Eddie would have been very proud to see the heights the fishery has achieved since he began to excavate the first lake in the spring of 2006.

I had a super time this week when I visited Chantry School in Morpeth to encourage the pupils to try fly-fishing and join in with the Trout Ticklers. I must say the standard of behaviour was very high and the pupils listened to what I had to say and then asked lots of questions, particularly in Years 5 and 6.

I have been busy contacting a river-beat owner on the River Rede and I am delighted to say that I can now take clients on that stretch of water and fish for salmon, sea trout and brown trout.

The beat has all types of water; fast stretches, slower glides and named deeper pools. Personally, I really enjoy fishing new beats on any river and I am quite excited about fishing this beat.

As I write this article, the River Coquet is in perfect condition for height and colour.

The first spring salmon has yet to be caught, but anglers have caught and released a salmon kelt as well as six sea-trout kelts. Kelts are fish that have spawned and are making their way back to the sea. They have taken various spinners and flies.

The Tweed landed at least 20 spring salmon last week and the Tyne had five. A small fresh fish was reportedly caught on the Federation water, but it was returned and not verified.

I coached at Chatton with Michael this week. He wanted to learn how to fish with a fast-sinking poly-tip on the end of his floating fly-line. While there, I saw Geoff, another of my clients, fishing in what were near gale-force conditions. He was doing quite well in the wind and he later emailed me to say he had landed his best trout to date, 5lbs.

I sorted Michael out with the poly-tip and he wanted to fish on throughout the afternoon. I had another appointment, but when I returned home, Michael had sent me another email. He had lost a couple of fish, but had landed and returned his first brown trout, 4lbs.

I enjoy seeing clients, who have very little experience, getting themselves out on the water, trying the techniques they have learnt and being successful – that is what coaching is all about.

Ross Lake still carries some colour, but anglers were still catching regularly with lures and intermediate/sinking lines. Dark flies in particular seem to be attracting the trout. Black and green flies such as a Montana or Pitsford Pea were catching.

Dunnydeer Lake is the clearest lake, but trout seem more difficult to tempt from here. I did see a guy land trout using a gold-ribbed hare’s ear and retrieving very slowly.

Chatton Lake is clearing steadily and seems to be producing more fish. This is probably due to the fact that more anglers were fishing this lake. A 12lb trout did come to the net and was quickly returned.

This Saturday sees the Chatton Ladies holding their monthly gathering, but all three lakes will still be available for the fishery regulars. Currently, fish remain very deep and fishing is tricky with the run of cooler weather.

However, those who are willing to brave the cold have found some success.

On the river side, a couple of kelts were caught, but nothing major to report yet. There is another open weekend this week for people to come along and have a look at what we can offer.