Salmon fishing in England
Previous seasons reports etc. in the ARCHIVE18/07/14 Finally got round to setting up my spinning outfit due to a rod getting broken in transit. I've serviced my ABU 1750A, filled it up with 12lb mono and mated it with a John Wilson six shooter. It took about 10 casts to get an arlesey bomb across the garden without the dreaded bird's nest, not bad as I hadn't touched a multiplier for nearly 40 years. I'll put a spinner on later, the last time there was a fly hook about one of the cat's hooked itself, resulting in a trip to the vet.
08/07/14 Although we don't have any anglers at the the lake at present we might get one, me!
As a consequence of much improved rearing techniques for the salmon we don't really get any mortalities to eat anymore, I'm even having to buy catfood!
So we need to have a salmon or two on the table and in the freezer and I can't disturb the salmon in the rearing tanks (they would go nuts and suffer badly), therefore it's off to the lake to see if I can catch one of the few that are left. Also I can keep this page updating until the new season in September with my exploits.
I suppose a lot of the draw of fishing is to come into contact with something wild and mysterious from the watery depths but this is removed for me as I feed a few thousand every day. I've fished the lake only about once a year since it opened but, as we need to eat, I've got a hankering to revisit some of the fishing tackle from my fanatical angling days in the early seventies.
I did all styles of angling then, mainly for coarse fish in the local river (a salmon was a mystical fantastic beast we never saw). The thing I remembered enjoying the most was what is called baitcasting today. My favourite setup was an ABU rod and their smallest multiplier reel the 1750A. This reel is really simple and takes some skill to use, having no modern fancy overrun aids, no drag or slipping clutch as it has direct drive.
Here it is, I got one on ebay. I've order a new rod as it will take time to find the corresponding 'vintage' one. Yes, the tackle I used to use is now called vintage, I suppose that makes me vintage too! All those years gone by, that teenager that was me would have been dumbfounded if he was told what he would be doing in 40 years time.
16/06/14 With enough space between bookings it's possible to land a salmon or two. Three anglers from the northeast landed four last Thursday while Bryce Hanlon and Brian Bollen took home one each yesterday, Sunday. All fish fairly small around 4-5lb. See Newsletter page for booking info
09/06/14 There are still a few salmon being caught if you are willing to work hard at it, but a blank is very likley. Having said that I have a feeling that if the lake was fully stocked with less educated salmon we would do ok. Above is Brain Stack (1 caught) with Robert Dunckley (4) on the 6th June and below is Gerald Nye (3) two days previously. Brian Bollen caught one yesterday but two anglers blanked today if you don't count eight rudd!
20/05/14 It never ceases to amaze me how the best technique to catch the salmon varies and is impossible to pin down, which, of course, is the glory of fly fishing. I give my usual advice about long tailed lures fished deep and slow but it doesn't always work. On the 13th May (see below) 9 anglers landed over 30 salmon mainly on orange blobs, something that usually doesn't work here. Yesterday, Marcel & Rene Klein had twelve mostly on a small dry fly, cast to a cruising salmon! It would be really good if we could get some fishing like this over the summer, I'll investigate as stalking has been the one thing that's not been done at the fishery much before.
Picture of father and son's catch below. Note there are nine, the fish at the top has the curved spine (the only one I've seen all season), it's always best to kill and remove any injured or distressed fish from any fishery.
17/05/14 Last Friday, the 15th, I took this photo of Roy and Maurice Clark. At the end of the day Maurice had caught four but things looked grim for Roy with not a single salmon on the bank. He had the last laugh though and the last cast, which brought this fine salmon.
13/05/14 Nine anglers from Manor Farm Fly Fishers are fishing the lake as I write this. I thought the cold night would hold the fishing back, but they had six on the bank in the first half hour, including this one caught by Fran Bent from Meppershall.
10/05/14 David Hartley from Yorkshire booked the fishery yesterday for this party, shown at the end of the day with their catch (bar 3 rudd which are voracious enough to take a large cat's whisker).
02/05/14 Quite often anglers have packed away their salmon before I get a chance to photograph them. Luckily, I managed to persuade Russ Martin from markfield to kneel with his catch while they were still laid out at the end of the day.
Below is closeup of a double caught by Nick Roberts form Kings Lynn the day before.
23/04/14 Chris Garlinge celebrated his 20th birthday, by fishing our lake yesterday. The day looked very unpromising at the start with rain falling from an overcast sky. Things turned out perfectly though, the rain soon cleared and he had his full bag by 3pm, ready for the long drive back down to Southampton.
21/04/14 Here is another early morning photo of Luke James holding the first salmon of the day with Jamie Hallahan up from London for the day. They ended up with 13 landed between them.
Last week 23 anglers landed 89 salmon here. Incidentally I note that for the whole of the Tweed, 71 salmon were caught for the same time period. Cue a hot debate, and I will be the first to concede that none of these salmon will hold a candle to a fresh wild springer and the experience of fishing a big river. On the other hand 79 of the 89 are in the freezer now, and there will have been an awful lot of blanks and many thousands of pounds spent to land and then return the 71 up north.
10/04/14 Taken yesterday, a line up of 14 salmon for four anglers who normally fish the Tweed, a chance to fill the freezers while the wild springers have to be returned. From the left Tony Robinson (5 caught), Ralph Holman (3), John Brudenell (3), and Bill Shield (7).
06/04/14 It's a busy time in the hatchery, fry grading at the moment. Fishing at the lake has been very slow starting April, with the easterly wind and the water adjusting to the extra light of a stronger sun. That phase looks like it's over already though, now the wind is blowing from the southwest again. Mark Howard (4, left) and Phil Carlsson (6) from Enfield had 10 salmon between them yesterday.
22/03/14 It is often the case that an angler catches a salmon while I'm on the bank first thing in the morning, and it gives me a chance to take a photo while the fish is still fresh. Here, Mark Anderson from Kilsyth shows us his first salmon of the day against a backdrop of a beautiful spring day.
20/03/14 Forty one anglers have landed 144 salmon so far for March. Graham Tuck reported a 12 pounder amongst his 5 yesterday and here is a picture of Richard Dayman with his four keepers from the day before.
10/03/14 Catches seem to back to normal now (which is excellent by any other measure). On Saturday, Mark Stroud and Dave Shirley from Peterborough caught their seven salmon each. It's good to see the hats and sunglasses out for the warm sunshine instead of wrapping up for the cold weather.
01/03/14 Catches have taken a dip in recent days in spite of major (nearly 200) stocking in the past fortnight. A quick row around in the boat with the underwater camera revealed only one dead salmon so they are just not on the feed yet. Having said that, Mick Woodcock from Doncaster had two on the bank by 9.30am this morning, below, and another before I left.
17/02/14 Apologies for the lack of postings on this website but I'm between phones and the new one isn't all connected up for photos.
Dick Gooch from Wisbech has sent me these two photos from his smartphone. He has been fishing with us from our first season and often brings this party of anglers. From the left Nick Roberts, Dick Gooch, Andrew Johnson, Dennis portess and Morris Croxon with their catch last week.
26/01/14 Olly Franklin from Biceter has been disappointed on his last couple of visits because his wife outdid him both times. The solution? Wait until she's busy and come fishing without the psycological disadvantage us men suffer when the missus is around, putting the fish off our fly. The result? a full bag by 2pm. Here he is, catching his first of the day.
17/01/14 John Wilde sent me this photo of his catch today. If you can brave the cold you will do well. 29 anglers have caught 143 salmon so far this month.
13/01/13 From the left, Cara Martin, Liam Martin and Dean Evans over from South Wales for the day. They all caught their four salmon. Here is Liam's, landed just before the close of play.
06/01/14 Here is Ian Vickers from Middlesborough with his first fish of the day. Unusually for this winter, you can see frost on the ground. Ian fished here in our first season, have a look at the photo gallery for a remarkable photo.
04/01/14 There is a surge in catches at the moment, a quick look at the figures for the first two fishing days of 2014 shows that nine anglers landed 45 salmon. I took this photo of part of Thursday's catch.
31/12/13The last report of 2013 shows this picture of Paul Dunstan from Towcester, who caught five and took home these four today.
29/12/13 I have just received these photos, Micheal Keetch (top) landed his limit (7), Paul Russell (6) and Craig Davies (3).
26/12/13 The catch rate seems to be on the up again after the Christmas break. Three salmon were landed in the first half hour this morning including this one by Shaun Hanson(below). 27 salmon and one rabbit were landed altogether. From left, David Marsham, Steve Ashton, Paul Drake, Simon Barker and Shaun Hanson.
11/12/13 Well it wasn't going to last forever, but it was good while it lasted. It's been 46 days and 155 anglers since we had a blank but yesterday we lost that record. I won't publish names but I will post this picture of Nigel Liley who managed to catch three.
1/12/13 Catches are slowing slightly now the weather is colder but everyone is still catching salmon. See the Newsletter page for November's report. John Wilde from Llandinam in Wales sent me this picture from his visit earlier this month.
20/11/13 It's beginning to get dark early now but there was enough light to take this photo of Sarah Hinchcliffe from Whaley Bridge and Roger Worth, Congleton, with their catch today.
17/11/13 A quick look at the figures for this month shows that 34 anglers have caught 160 salmon in the first ten days of November mostly averaging around 7lb. Walking along the bank I often see a nice bag of salmon such as the one below and of course, a happy group of anglers.
06/11/13 Here is a picture of Terry Newton from Melton Mowbray who cashed in his surprise birthday present voucher today. I had to take this photo with my phone, as the flash on his camera, even on a dark November day with light rain, made the salmon too shiny. All four anglers took home their four keepers today.
04/11/13 It's good to see a father and son catching fish together. Here is Sam & Mark Tester from Rainham in Kent with Sam's first salmon. They went on to catch six each.
31/10/13 The lake is fishing just right now which is when all anglers catch a few. It's a delicate balance to be struck. I don't make any money if everyone bags up and anglers don't get any fun if they don't catch any. So in the last couple of days 12 anglers have caught 33 salmon and everyone was satisfied. Here is a picture of Lyn Cobley (on the right) who brought a party from Hereford and David Slade with the biggest of the day at 12lb. It was one of several salmon being caught recently which were stocked in the spring. They still found time to down a few beers as you can see from the table!
27/10/13 It's a howling gale out there which will bring a change in the weather I would guess. It's interesting how the catches have been rising and falling with the temperature this month. Last Tuesday, Stuart Joseph landed six, pictured with the four he kept.
And below is a picture of the Ardleigh flyfishers who landed eleven salmon between them.
19/10/13 The salmon are on the take now. In the last 8 days, 23 anglers have landed 105 fish, green and black the killer colours. Below is a picture of two salmon and a blue trout for your comparison.
14/10/13 Last Friday, Richard Mundy (second left) celebrated his 40th birthday with four of his mates. They landed these salmon between them, and nobody had a dry net at the end of the day.
07/10/13 On Saturday we had a first visit by Mark Rooney, resplendent with his England badges on his lapel. He top scored that day with six, four of which are here with him in the autumn sunshine.
06/10/13 I'm pleased to report that the catch rate is improving, I'll have to think about the timing of opening day. The first week of October has been the timing of season's start in previous years and that is where we are now. John Lewis from Litchfield sent me these pictures of Adam Walters' first salmon and also Stuart Glendenning with his first, after 4 years of trying on the Wye.
02/10/13 Anglers have been asking me to report on the first few days fishing here, so apologies for not updating more often. The catches have been well down on last season (when some anglers had bagged up by 11am). I've staggered the stocking more recently, but I think the lower catch rate is due to the water clarity, about 5ft now but crystal clear a year ago, and to the warm weather. 18 anglers have caught 35 salmon so far, so ones and twos mainly. On Sunday Warren Langridge did better than average with three, his first was this lovely silver salmon shining in the autumn sunshine.
25/09/13 New Season! Today is the first day of the 2013-4 season and six anglers enjoyed a beautiful autumn day catching fourteen fish between them. I say fish because there were a few trout amongst them left over from the summer but they don't count towards our anglers salmon allowance.
The first fish was netted at 9.10am by Colin Wigmore but it was his friend Andy Crane from Leicester that hooked it, the first fish Andy had ever caught on a fly rod!
The second and third salmon were caught by that excellent angler Bob Buckby, who knows how to tempt the salmon here.