Winter bites back to make fishing difficult

What a week! The weather has played a dramatic role, with snow, very low temperatures and gale-force, easterly winds, which made it feel twice as cold, writes Bob Smith.

However, for those hardy souls who braved the elements, the fishing was good!

All the still-water fisheries had lower attendances, but I was still coaching midweek at Chatton Trout Fishery.

We were there a couple of hours and the wind was not so bad. We managed to catch and land one two-and-a-half-pound trout using a floating line and a 12foot leader.

We caught the fish by casting along the bank, letting the goldhead go down a while and a slow figure of eight retrieve tempted the trout. The fish made some good strong runs and jumped a couple of times before it was netted.

Other anglers on different days recorded bags of up to 14 trout. Most of the fish were caught on intermediate lines using lures. A black and green Montana accounted for a fair number of the trout.

Fontburn Reservoir has had a quiet week too. One hundred and sixty three anglers have visited the reservoir to date. The heaviest trout caught so far is five-and-a-half pounds, with the best bag weight being 13 pounds. The reservoir is putting a double stocking of 1,500 trout in for the Easter weekend. This stocking will also include a number of trout in excess of 10 pounds.

South Linden fishery had a quieter week too, but they are looking forward to their Big Fish Easter weekend.

Many double-figure fish, including fish of over TWENTY POUNDS will be stocked. Anglers do not need to book, just turn up and hook up.

I had a run out to meet the owner of the new beat as I have been asked to do tuition and guiding on the South Tyne. We discussed how the fishing would be organised and prices for different parts of the season.

All went well and I am returning in 10 days to walk the beat and see the pools. The journey to the beat jogged many happy memories because I spent my first year of teacher training, many, many years ago, at Ridley Hall and I had to take a ‘peek’.

I also had to stop at Bardon Mill and see the Bowes pub where we students spent so much time. The Little Chef called me in for breakfast/lunch and it holds happy memories too.

The 2013 river trout season came in with a bang! The weather was horrible which resulted in no fly life on the water and the chief bailiff said he saw nobody trout fishing. I chickened out and spent time at my vice, tying flies.

Still no news on that first spring salmon from the Federation beats on the Coquet, it is proving difficult to tempt. A rise in temperature is required and chances will be markedly improved.

News from Coldingham and Whinney Lochs is that the anglers who managed to cast a line were quite successful. Trout mainly took proven lures such as Cat’s Whisker, Bloodworm and some larger nymphs.

This forthcoming week will be a busy one with the school Easter holidays starting. I already have 12 people booked in for tuition.

Six of these are in a group from Holland and they want to learn the basics of fly-fishing. That should be an interesting day.

I shall report on the full week in next week’s column.

To celebrate the opening of the Hadrian Wall Trail 10 years ago, I have been asked to run two one-day courses for beginners at Langley Dam near Haydon Bridge. The first will be during the May half-term and the second will be early in the summer holidays. More news and details about these days soon, so watch this space.

Finally, remember the clocks move forward on Saturday night so don’t sleep in on Sunday morning and miss the opening of the still waters. Arriving at 9.30am will no doubt be greeted with some sarcastic comments from ‘friends’. Chatton Trout Fishery will extend their opening hours until 7.30pm. Summer time will arrive this week, BUT, when will the summer weather arrive? Soon I hope.

Anyone with any news, success stories, or who wants advice or tuition please contact me through my website or ring 01670 514086 / 07984 810791. If I am fishing, I will return your call as soon as possible. Thank you.