Cold-wind challenge

Anna with her trout
Anna with her trout

From the reports I have received, the cold air has made fishing a real challenge on the still waters. The weather has been changeable to say the least.

Not only from day to day, but from hour to hour, the wind and temperatures have varied a great deal. One minute bright and breezy, and the fish go deep so intermediate lines are used; the next minute, warmer and overcast, so the trout rise to the surface. Consequently, floating lines and dry-flies are required to catch the fish feeding on the surface.

I just use floating fly-lines all the time, throughout the year. If the trout are deeper in the water, I put a heavier beaded fly on. Copper, brass or tungsten beads are often used to get the fly down to the required depth. Sometimes more than one bead is used on a fly to get it down quicker, particularly in fast-flowing river stretches.

Hallington is a private members’ water, but does allow a few day tickets on to the two lakes each day. It is always best to book a day ticket in advance to avoid any disappointment.

During May, 534 anglers caught 2,768 trout. This means the rod average was 5.1 trout, impressive. Both the lakes are fishing equally well with lots of trout in the margins. The heaviest fish of the month weighed in at 7.5lbs and successful flies have been hawthorns,bibio and vivas. During last week, alder flies have started to emerge.

Fontburn Reservoir, near Rothbury, is fishing well too.

Two hundred and ten anglers fished there last week, and they caught 882 fish. The heaviest trout was caught by five-year-old Samuel, from Acomb. Fishing along the south shore, Samuel landed a 10lb5oz trout.

Thrunton Long Crag has had a busy week culminating in the Fishing for Heroes competition and auction at the weekend. Congratulations to Lucy Bowden and the fishery for organising and hosting the competition. Raising more than £5,000 was a terrific effort. During the week, anglers varied their tactics to be successful.

Chatton has had lots of anglers enjoying their sport and sometimes scratching their heads on what to offer the trout. At different times, dry flies, small wets, nymphs, buzzers and lures have all accounted for trout.

Anglers have recorded good bags of fish with the heaviest trout coming from Chatton Lake. This particular heavyweight took the scales to register about 12lbs.

My week saw me coaching at Chatton and Thrunton fisheries. An evening session saw me meeting two guys from Cornwall and Sussex.

Once we got the casting reasonable, the trout were rising everywhere. Small black dry-flies saw the guys having many takes. Sometimes the trout jumped, sometimes they cast the fly and sometimes the fish were netted then returned. The action was fast, furious and most enjoyable.

The drop-in session for youngsters saw the girls out-fishing the boys. Six-year-old Darcy caught a trout first cast. She roll-casted a buzzer out only eight yards and, before the retrieve began the line went tight. Lots of shouts, but eventually the 2lb trout was netted and HAD to be kept for tea! Anna caught her first trout using a small pheasant tail and that trout gave excellent sport.

That fish too went home for tea. Everyone had fun and will be returning during the summer holidays.

My friend Paul came down from Glasgow to give a fly-tying demonstration to the juniors at Thrunton Fishery. Fourteen pupils had a terrific time and they concentrated well to produce some well-tied flies.

At the same time, I was coaching two young lads from the Rothbury area on Coe Crag at Thrunton. They had takes on the dry-flies and on nymphs. Their casting improved a great deal and we had a good laugh and caught fish too.

Mike had his third session with me on a lovely day when there was only a slight breeze and overcast conditions.

Fish were rising and Mike got two on dry-fly. He also tried a buzzer and hooked another – unfortunately, the trout was played for some time but it threw the fly just before it was about to be netted.

My final session was with 12-year-old Ben at Chatton. Dad Dave came along and he fished with his old cane rod.

Dave had one pull and landed a nice trout on a soldier palmer fly. Ben soon picked up how to roll and overhead cast.

He also learnt to shoot the fly-line out some distance. Ben had three takes, one did not stick and came off almost immediately, the second took the dry-fly and ran with it some 20yards before it was lost. His third fish ran and jumped several times before it too came off. Ben wanted another session with me as soon as possible, great!

Another busy half-term week and next week has five sessions booked in already. A day on the Tweed may turn out to be the highlight, I shall let you know. Tight lines.