Fishing amid the white stuff

As I write this, the world here is completely white again, says Bob Smith.

You would not think it is only a few days to go before we reach the spring equinox.

Not to worry, Saturday sees the opening of a number of reservoirs and still waters in our area.

Northumbrian Water reservoirs at Fontburn near Rothbury, Kielder and the Derwent all open for the season.

The popular Coldingham Loch, near Eyemouth, reopens too. This still water has boats and anglers can wade too.

Please ring to ensure boats are available before setting off.

All these waters will have been well stocked for their opening day, so anglers should have really enjoyable days with their reels screaming with strong, fully-finned fish.

Hirst Park Trout Ticklers have their first fishing outing for 2013 at Fontburn Reservoir on Sunday. They will be fishing anytime between 8am and 4pm.

New youngsters, accompanied by an adult are always made most welcome.

This club has also applied for, and been awarded, £600 from the High Sheriff of Northumberland.

Congratulations to all concerned, and I understand that the money has been used to provide a wide range of fly-tying tools and materials for the club’s popular fly-tying classes.

I had a couple of hours at South Linden on a bitterly cold day this week. Some guys coming off as I arrived had six fish caught on Cat’s Whiskers.

I fished small flies in the fairly clear water, but it took me almost two hours to get a solid take. It was a lovely clean fish which jumped several times and peeled line off my reel with its strong runs. The fish was around the four-pound mark and I returned it to the water.

I was giving a lesson at Chatton in midweek. There was a cold easterly breeze blowing.

My pupil has had several lessons now but a new floating line made a tremendous difference to the distance he was casting and to the presentation of the flies on the water.

He took his first two fish, which weighed five pounds and returned several others.

Another guy I know caught six using a Black Cat. One angler had a lot of trout using a floating line and a two-fly set-up.

He had a Goldhead Pheasant Tail on the point and a Shipman’s Buzzer on the dropper. Nearly every fish was taken on the Shipman’s.

A visit to Whinney Loch with a guy saw us catch 17 between us. It was a warmer day but with a slight, cool breeze.

The highlight for me was catching rising fish. I managed to catch four trout using a very small CDC F fly on the surface.

It is something else watching the trout coming up and taking your floating fly. Nothing better.

Another lesson with a complete beginner at Chatton near the end of the week saw some really low temperatures.

The fish were deeper, but fish kept coming to the net fairly regularly. One guy I watched caught and landed an 11lb-plus fish.

He was using an intermediate line and a Black Fritz fly in Chatton Lake.

The fishery has fished well all week with the most successful flies being black and green in colour. A brown trout over 10lbs was caught and returned to the Dunnydeer Lake.

The first spring salmon on the Federation beats of the Coquet is still waiting to be caught.

The river level rose two feet at the weekend which raised hopes. A fish was caught on the fly at the White Post, but it was a silver, well-mended sea trout.

The fish took a Black Dart. The spring fish are there because a mint, silver fish was seen breaking the surface in the same pool.

Maybe this next week will see the first spring fish caught and earn the anglers three years’ free fishing on the Federation beats. Who knows?

With a number of still waters opening this week, I hope lots of anglers manage to get out and catch their bag limits. Tight lines.

If anyone does have a really successful day or fancies learning to catch trout on the fly, please contact me through my website or ring 01670 514086 and I will help in any way I can.