Author Topic: Fly Fishing in the UK  (Read 2552 times)

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Robbie Bell

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Fly Fishing in the UK
« on: April 04, 2012, 12:56:28 AM »
Fly Fishing in the UK

I expect the title conjures up a different image for everyone who reads it.

For some it will be drifting on Loch Leven and others Dry Fly on the Itchen.

Some may think of catching Rainbows on a Midlands Reservoir or perhaps Salmon Fishing on the Tweed.

The truth is that Fly Fishing in the UK is all of this and more…… much more.

Although the UK is on a small country it is fairly diverse in its geography and its climate.


It may come as a surprise also that Fly Fishing itself is in a minority in the UK with the greatest number of Anglers being Coarse Fishermen who mainly use bait for catching the likes of Carp, Roach and Rudd as well as many other coarse species. And I also believe there are as many if perhaps not more Sea Anglers than Game Anglers and some Game Anglers also fish metal and bait……….. shock horror!

A further surprise may be that the majority of Fly Fishermen are small water anglers who fish the likes of Chatton and Bessy Beck and the hundreds of other small stocked fisheries in the UK.

http://www.chattontroutfishery.com/
http://www.bessybecktrout.co.uk/


These are generally small waters of around 3 to 5 acres that are stocked mainly with Rainbow Trout. These are often stocked daily in the summer and perhaps twice a week in the winter for a popular venue. The cost depends on how long you fish for and how many fish you wish to keep but on average varies between $20 and $40

The average size is around 1.5 Lbs.  and sometimes 2 Lbs. if cormorants are a problem.

These fisheries are the convenience store of Fly Fishing. The parking is easy the “lodge” often has free hot drinks, clean toilets and quite a few of them sell food nowadays.
The walking around and casting is easy and you know there are fish in front of you.

There is often a club atmosphere to them as well with many regulars fishing on the same day each week. They are great places to teach beginners and youngsters and there are always other anglers to chat to for information and you can learn a lot by just watching.
It should be noted though that the fishing is not always easy even with regular stocking.

If a small water has 20 anglers in a day for a five hour session and they use two flies on a cast and throw a line around 40 times an hour that is 8000 flies in a day!
They soon wise up.

Chatton sometimes gets 50 anglers in a day and that is 20,000 flies in a day albeit spread over three lakes.

The other major form of fly-fishing in the UK is Loch Style. This is probably most often associated by people outside the country with places like Loch Leven and indeed the first International competitions were held there starting in 1928.

However most of Scotland’s major competitions are now held on the Lake of Menteith.

http://www.menteith-fisheries.co.uk/

In England the major Loch Style venues are Rutland, Grafham, Bewl and Chew Valley.

The English National Loch Style final takes place on these venues on a rotating basis.

However there are many small venues where boat fishing takes place. This is often by drifting but most places allow anchoring as well. These are two local fisheries that I fish often.

http://www.watchfishery.co.uk/

http://www.coldinghamloch.co.uk/

This website below gives you an interesting insight into some relaxed club fishing in Scotland that is not too competitive and has some excellent photography.

http://www.capnfishy.co.uk/outing_reports.htm

My local river is here http://www.whiteadder.co.uk/ and two of my clubs are here

http://www.ellemfishingclub.co.uk/ 

http://www.gamefair-flyfishing.net/TweedmouthandSpittalClub.htm

So that is a brief view of Fly Fishing in the UK. It like most places is varied and widespread with many people taking different things from their days on the water.

Best Regards

robbie









« Last Edit: April 04, 2012, 06:43:46 AM by Robbie Bell »

John Kent

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Re: Fly Fishing in the UK
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2012, 06:32:34 AM »
Thanks Robbie. I've been to the UK three times to visit inlaws and have fished a couple of the more popular reservoirs once but the small water I like to fish is Felix Farm Fishery in the Berkshires. Haven't been there for 6 or 7 years but at the time the manager's name was Martin and when he heard I was from Canada he insisted I use his personal gear and flies. A very friendly gent who left a lasting impression on me which prompted me to return to the small fishery several times. The "pond" didn't have huge rainbows but 3-5# was the norm whith the chance of larger and smaller available.

I don't think most Canadians realize how fortunate we are with all the public water available to us compared to the cost of fishing the privately owned reservoirs of the UK.

Chris Puchniak

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Re: Fly Fishing in the UK
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2012, 08:50:54 AM »
Robbie, I'm curious about the scale of the stocking that goes on in a private fishery there, compared to our public fisheries.  I'm not sure if you have the answer to this, mind you, but I thought I'd ask.  :)

Most of our regularly fished lakes (99%) get an annual stocking, and that would be it in BC.  Very, very heavy use lakes might get stocked 10 or so times a year, but that would be the max. 

For a very heavy use lake about 5.0 Acres in size, it might receive 6-10 stockings of 500-1000 fish each time, to a total of maybe 7000 trout in the 1/2-pound range.  For us, this would be considered an extreme put and take fishery, with very heavy pressure, and a high harvest rate.  There are likely only 4 or 5 lakes in all the province that would get stocked this intensely (in terms of fish per acre).  These lakes might see 30-75 anglers a day during the prime times in summer.

I remember hearing that a large water like Grafam (2,000 acres) can receive 2,000 (of maybe 2 pounds) every DAY.  I know that is a big fishery and highly popular, so likely at the extreme end of things, but what would a small popular lake like Bessy Beck or Chatton get in terms of a daily stocking?  Over the whole year?
I will fish anywhere and find beauty in it.

Don't be a Pessimist. Don't be an Optimist.  Be a Realist and change when you need to.

Robbie Bell

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Re: Fly Fishing in the UK
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2012, 11:51:08 AM »
Hi There,

Hi Chris,

The best run fisheries are trickle stocked perhaps daily with the fish spread around. This might mean 10 fish put into each of 5 different places on a 4 acre "Loch" Chatton probably stocks around 50 fish every day in the summer and around 50 fish twice a week in ther winter.

This can vary in the winter. In 2010 winter Chatton was closed for 8 weeks due to ice but did not lose a single day in 2011 winter

These Lochs will have their own stock ponds and stocking might be partially adjusted to angler pressure.

Other fisheries might get a delivery from the fish farm twice a week if it is close by. Others maybe once a week. The worst ones are once a month as it is then feast or famine with only a couple of days in between when it is about right. Bessy Beck is a fish farm and a fishery.

Large waters like Rutland may get as many as 90,000 fish a season with fish going in every week from March to September. Grafham maybe around 50,00 fish a season.

These will be stocked in their low hundreds from a local fish farm but may be as many as 3000 at once from a more distant farm.

Best Regards

robbie


Todd Oishi

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Re: Fly Fishing in the UK
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2012, 12:08:48 PM »
Thanks so much for sharing this with us Robbie!

It's very interesting to here about the unique fisheries and type of fishing that a fellow member of this forum enjoys in their part of the world. Quite a few of the fisheries that you've mentioned sound as if they're ran and managed as quality fisheries. I know that the ones in the U.K. that I've fished provided great sport and quality experiences.

The ones that offered fishing for wild trout were a bit more magical for me, as it seemed a bit more natural and challenging at times. I was however quite intrigued by the fact that they put stockies in a few lakes and lochs in order to satisfy the general angling population. Having a chance to hit both wild browns and stocked rainbows certainly made them a bit more interesting, but as I've said before, for me the quality of the fishing experience isn't necessarily measured in pounds.

Thanks again for providing us with some excellent insight into the fishing that exists in your part of the world!!

Cheers,
Todd
For me, the quality of a trout is not measured in inches or pounds, but rather by the journey and circumstances that allowed our paths to cross...

Chris Puchniak

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Re: Fly Fishing in the UK
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2012, 03:56:40 PM »
Thanks for the thorough response Robbie.  I'd love to get across the pond and sample some of that 'daily' stocking with you sometime!  :)
I will fish anywhere and find beauty in it.

Don't be a Pessimist. Don't be an Optimist.  Be a Realist and change when you need to.

Robbie Bell

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Re: Fly Fishing in the UK
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2012, 10:00:38 AM »
Hi There,

I too would like to fish for wild fish all the time but that is just not possible. Our local river system has banned stocking and I believe this may become Europe wide in the near future for open systems but probably not for enclosed fisheries.

I would also say at times wild fish on remote Scottish Lochs or Upland Rivers can be very easy. These fish will often take any fly you present to them.....they are hungry!

Conversely stockies in a highly pressurised stillwater can be very cagey indeed and in our Stillwater Bank Competitions the same faces are always there or thereabouts.

Chris you will have to come across sometime.

Best Regards

robbie