Anglers putting something back

Bob Smith's angling column (
Bob Smith's angling column (

Most anglers on still waters, and indeed all anglers fishing for salmon, must return all their fish to the river before June 16.

Still-water fishermen tend to fish on a catch-and-release ticket most of the time. This means all the trout they catch in a lake or reservoir are returned safely to the water.

On the rivers, this policy means that anglers are helping with their bit for the conservation of the river stock of wild fish, which is to be recommended.

I attended a charity event at Chatton Trout Fishery last week and it was to raise money for the local village churches, putting something back into the community.

Almost all the fisheries I fish raise money for worthwhile causes; Help the Heroes and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution to name but two. Chatton held a competition during the day, which was won with eight fish. The winner received a GreysXF2 Competition Special Fly Rod.

After normal closing time, the fishery held a fun competition for the local villagers. The senior section was won by Richard Wallhead from Chatton and the junior event was won by 12-year-old Ryan McMahon from Illerton.

The whole day raised more than £2,000 for the churches and a huge thank-you must go to the Brown family who own the fishery and those many helpers and organisers whose efforts ensured it was a very successful and fun day.

The Coquet river is starting to produce salmon, which are being returned to the river. On the Federation stretches, a number of fish have been caught. A beautiful 15lb salmon was caught at the High Park area, while another guy caught two on the Felton stretch. Reports of a well-known local rod landed three fish from a private beat above Felton.

It is good to report that the Caistron beat had its first salmon last week, which means that the fish are now well spread throughout the whole river system.

Another bar of silver was hooked, but unfortunately lost in a different pool on the same beat. This 10lb-plus fish was almost to the net when it became detached.

On the Caistron lakes, the rod average has been five trout. Lots of insects have been hatching at times and dry-fly anglers have had some terrific sport.

The ladies’ fishing club, Fishing for Everyone, had a good day at Coldingham Loch near Eyemouth. They fished with another ladies’ club, The Invicta Club, and everybody enjoyed the very hot sunny day, which made the fishing a challenge. Top flies on the day were small black dry flies, daddy longlegs and buzzers.

Thrunton lake has had some heavy hatches of flies throughout the week. They were visited by the Northumbrian branch of The Fly Dressers Guild, which held a four-fish competition. It was won with a bag of 12½lbs.

During the week, a number of decent brown trout have been caught and returned. Best bag of the week was 15 trout and the heaviest trout was recorded at 11¼lbs! Successful flies have included hawthorns, tadpoles, various dries and buzzers.

Sweethope Lochs report another productive week. The top angler reported catching 26 trout, an excellent bag. Heaviest fish caught tipped the scales to 5½lbs. In total, 89 rods landed 302 trout. Fly patterns which tempted trout at Sweethope were beetles, buzzers, various dries and diawl bachs.

At South Linden Fishery, more than 200 trout were caught with a good few anglers catching their bag limits. Heaviest trout of the week was 5¼lbs and the catching flies were various lures and buzzers.

I did manage to coach five sessions last week, which included a number of local people as well as people from near Oxford and some from the Goole area. Some were complete beginners while others had fished for a while but wanted to learn some new techniques. Lovely people of all ages and abilities, both sexes, and you guessed it, the females caught more than the males!

With half-term over, the next holidays for the youngsters are the big ones, the summer holidays. Like last year, I am going to spend one day each week coaching youngsters at Chatton Fishery, starting on Wednesday, July 30, and every Wednesday through to August 27.

There will be two sessions each day, 10am to noon, and 1pm to 3pm. All details will be on the Chatton website and anyone wishing to attend must book in advance by contacting the fishery. I am looking forward to these sessions, which proved to be good fun last summer!