The trip should actually have taken place two weeks ago, but we rearranged due to freezing cold easterly winds. Following today's events, I'm glad we did. For the previous few weeks, the fishery has been producing well, but the sport has mainly been to sunk line lure tactics. Luckily for us, the milder weather of the last couple of days encouraged some midge to hatch, bringing the fish into the top couple of feet of the water column. As a result, it was possible to find sport with floating line and nymphs.
The hatch was fairly light and well dispersed, consisting mainly of big, brown buzzers. In the calm conditions, fish seemed to be quartering back and forth at speed, mopping up the emergers in a leisurely fashion, so it was difficult to correctly judge the direction of travelling fish at times. However, when we got it right and put the flies in the right place, a take usually followed - particularly if a little movement was imparted to mimic the ascending of the pupae in the water.
With Patrick's boat handling and knowledge of the water, we moved around to keep in touch with the fish and were able to catch steadily all day. The successful tactic seemed to be a long-ish leader with a team of diawl bachs/buzzers, although I did particularly well with a cruncher after lunch. We finished up with around 50 fish to the boat - a most satisfying return reflecting a truly excellent day's sport. The fish were of high quality and fought like demons - a real credit to the fishery - although ironically my best of the day (a silver 5lb-er), was the only fish to exhibit 'stewpond nibbling' of the tail.
A word about the fishery; stocked waters aren't really my thing, but this is one of the best I've visited. Fishery manager David Coleman and his staff have put an awful lot of effort into this picturesque venue over the years and it shows. As well as the quality of the fish and boats, it's clear that much is done to encourage youngsters and newcomers to the sport. It was nice to see a few Bank Holiday parties of 'lads and dads' having fun in the any method south basin and there were plenty of smiling young faces lining the bank of the beginners pond. It would be churlish of more experienced anglers to resent their presence on the fishery and I for one think the management deserve the utmost credit for trying to encourage youngsters into our wonderful sport.
Next year, according to EA directives, Esthwaite will become a Brown Trout only water. It will be stocked with triploid browns only, in the hope of lifting the in and outflow nets and re-establishing migratory fish runs through the system. What the effects on the fishery will be is difficult to say, but this is one angler who will be keen to return to find out.....
A thanks to Patrick also! It's always a pleasure to meet up with this committed and knowledgeable man. I have previously extolled his virtues for anglers visiting the Lake District and in need of guidance, and have no hesitation in doing so again. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org