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Ewan Lindsay

Washout Wafflings...
« on: July 16, 2012, 14:47:09 PM »
My pal and I made our annual Fishing Road Trip last week so I thought I'd do a wee report.  :z2

For Sunday, we had booked a day's fishing on the River Ure in Yorkshire with Orvis in order to learn some "North Yorkshire Nymphing techniques".  On the Monday, we had (rather extravagantly) booked to fly to Oslo to see Pearl Jam in concert!  After flying back to Manchester on Tuesday, we had booked (through Fishing Breaks) a day on the Temple Beat of the River Dove in Derbyshire where Charles Cotton's famous fishing hut is.

Not a lot went to plan fishing-wise thanks to the British Summer weather.   :mad  Orvis rang on the Friday and cancelled as the river Ure was in full flood.  Ho-Hum, plan B then.  :roll

My Pal lives in Sale just outside Manchester and so we decided to go to Ladybower Reservoir which would be a lot less susceptible to the torrential rain that was dumping all over the North of England last week.   Ladybower is just below the Derwant Dam where 617 Squadron practiced their bouncing bomb runs for the Dambusters raid in World War 2.  The fishery is under new ownership and is very well run.  The Reservoir is stocked with Rainbows and also has a large head of Brown trout too, some wild, some stocked.  There is also some very good Pike fishing in the winter by all accounts.  You can fish the reservoir from the bank or from a boat; we hired a boat with an outboard for the day which cost us 52 quid with two sporting tickets - good value.  :z16

Ladybower Reservoir

Nice Boats

Ladybower Reservoir

The weather was actually very kind to us on the Sunday; warm with a steady light breeze and a fair bit of sunshine.  This was the first time either of us had fished a "large stillwater" and so tentatively set up to do this "drifting lark"!  It all went quite well really.  The Breeze was strong enough to keep us slowly moving along with a nice ripple and there were obvious wind lanes where the fish would be feeding with any luck.  We were told by the fishery owner that there had been a lot of fish caught on dry flies recently and that the margins had been fishing well.  Over the course of 3 or 4 drifts in the morning we both had a couple of nice Rainbows of about 2lbs which put up really energetic and acrobatic fights.  The fish were in excellent nick; full finned and fat.   :z15 All of them fell to "Old Faithfull"; the Robjent's Daddy Long Legs.  I had told my pal about how good the Robjent's Daddy was and he is now a convert.  :z14

Ladybower Rainbow

In the afternoon, the wind dropped off to practically nothing but the rain came.  We moved up one of the fingers of the reservoir and found a beautiful little bay (apparently over a submerged village - spooky!  :shock).  There were a few fish feeding at the surface after the rain but none of them could be tempted in the flat calm conditions (surprisingly and disappointingly).  Never mind, we had a great day (five rainbows and one Perch!  :oops to the boat) and retired to the Ladybower Inn (a stone's throw from the fishery) for the night - excellent beers and bar meals with a very reasonable room rate too.   :z18

Ladybower Bay

On the Monday we flew to Oslo and saw Pearl Jam in the evening - absolutely bloody marvellous.  :z1 Pearl Jam were awesome.  Oslo now holds the record for the most expensive pint I have ever bought...!  I have worked on Norway many times before and knew the beer was expensive but even I was shocked at the prices!  :shock

We flew back to Manchester on the Tuesday and drove to the Charles Cotton Hotel in the picture postcard village of Hartington in the Peak District.  Nice bar and excellent food in the hotel and friendly hosts.  :z18

Charles Cotton Hotel

On Wednesday morning we arrived at the Temple Beat of the River Dove, which is home to Charles Cotton's fishing hut, built for Cotton and Isaak Walton in the 17th Century.   :z14

Charles Cotton's Fishing "Hut"

After getting the obligatory photos of ourselves in front of the famous, hallowed hut we optimistically setup nymphing rigs and started to fish.  I say optimistically because there had been more rain the previous day and the river was very high and was like mud... :z10 It was a real shame as the Temple Beat was a beautiful stretch of water and on another day would have been idyllic.  There were long slow deep stretches, shallow glides along with rocky pools and pocket water.

River Dove Temple Beat

After about 30 mins the river keeper came along and apologised profusely for the condition of the water.  He explained that this year has been disastrous because of the weather and that he was almost at his wits end.  The river keeper then said that he had had a word with his opposite number on the River Lathkill on the Haddon Estate about 30 mins drive away and that he had arranged for us to be able to fish there for the day instead...if we wanted!  :grin We bit his hand off, especially after he explained that the beat he was taking us to was effectively Lord Edward Manners's private beat and was hardly fished!  :z16 Being  a pure Limestone River, it was also likely to be less high and a lot clearer than the Dove.  The river keeper promised that there would be lots of wild trout too as the river has not been stocked for many years and is maintained as a purely "wild fishery".  In addition to the Brown trout there was a thriving population of breeding Rainbows too left over from the old stocking days...

When we arrived at the River Lathkill we were not disappointed.  A beautiful beat in woodland and water meadows, with loads of riffles, glides, waterfalls and deep pools.  The water was crystal clear and the fly life was prolific.  Our eyes lit up when we saw Mayflies dancing about in the still, warm air and a good hatch of dark olives.   :grin The River Keeper told us it was dry fly only and that we could fish from the fishing hut he had brought us too down to the confluence with the River Wye just South of Bakewell.  We had no idea how long this was but after looking on Google maps when we got home we could have fished there for two days and not covered the same pool twice!

River Lathkill

I almost fell over myself setting up a dry fly rig with a proper big Mayfly (something I have never actually got to fish before!) and my pal stayed faithful to the Robject's Daddy Long Legs.  We walked down the river expecting to come across the Wye and planned to fish back upstream to our hut.  After about 45 mins of walking through beautiful woodland and meadows we still could see no sign of the Wye and decided we had already got more than enough river to keep us happily occupied for the rest of the day.

River Lathkill Pool

River Lathkill

The banks were mostly wild and there was only basic cut path on one side of the river for the fisherman.  Finding a spot to cast and keeping your fly out of the foliage was going to be fun!  We had spotted some nice fish during the walk and soon both had several small wild rainbows and brownies throwing themselves at our flies!  :grin This was fantastic sport, especially in the faster riffles and pools below the waterfalls.  It was amazing how the fish spotted the (albeit large) flies in the fast turbulent water.  The pools with slower, deeper water were extremely challenging when trying to stalk the clearly visible fish.  These guys were spooked very easily and it was just like a chalkstream.  The fish we were catching were not monsters;  1/2 lb at the most but these were wild and wily fish.  Great stuff!

River Lathkill Brownie

The mayfly hatch died off mid afternoon and I switched to the Daddy.  My pal and I kept it social and leap-frogged each other pool by pool back up to our fishing hut regularly hooking up with fish (and foliage!  :X1).

Another Brownie to The Robjent's Daddly Long Legs!

Just above the hut was a small, arched stone bridge with a nice pool below it.  My pal crept up onto the bridge and very carefully peared over the edge to see if there were any Brownies lying under the arch - an obvious and safe lie for a wily wild brownie.  He crept back to me and said that there were two Brown trout visible right under the edge of the bridge that were easily 2-3lb in size.  I (very graciously  :X2) said that he should have a pop at them first as he had spotted them after all!

River Lathkill Bridge

I crouched down low behind the reeds and watched him as he carefully avoided the bushes and foliage and made a few false casts to get the range right.  This was going to be an extremely difficult cast and was probably going to be a one-shot chance.  The fly would have to avoid ivy hanging down from the centre of the bridge's arch and also avoid an overhanging bush to the left of the arch.  He has always been a better caster than me and I must admit was very impressed when he nailed it first time; perfect cast and presentation with the Daddy landing just under the arch.  I held my breath for what seemed like ages before there was an explosion in the water and his rod bent double as a cracking Brownie attacked his fly!  The fish tore off towards the far bank and then...snap...

It was great to be in such secluded, peaceful woodland as it's never good to see a grown man cry... :z6

River Lathkill

We had a cracking day on a beat that we would probably never get the opportunity to fish under normal circumstances and I regard myself as very lucky to have fished such a beautiful, wild beat.

So, I guess that sometimes the Crap British summer weather can have it's advantages... :z7


Jim Eddie

Re: Washout Wafflings...
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2012, 15:02:37 PM »

Great reports and some nice pictures, thanks for sharing.


"Because in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing what they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion."

Mike Barrio

Re: Washout Wafflings...
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2012, 15:46:04 PM »
Fantastic read thanks Ewan and great photos! :z16

Best wishes
Mike   At the heart of your fishing ..... lies a great fly line!

Irvine Ross

Re: Washout Wafflings...
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2012, 17:02:18 PM »
Thanks for the great report Ewan. :z16

Glad it all turned out well for you in the end.


Euan Innes

Re: Washout Wafflings...
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2012, 17:44:37 PM »
Thanks Ewan, that was a worthy read.
Pearl Jam AND trout on a private stretch of the Lathkill = awesome! Back to work for a rest then? :wink

Living with deep, full breaths is the way of the trout. Fish, it seems, are the ultimate teachers in breathing.
RC Cone

Noel kelly

Re: Washout Wafflings...
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2012, 18:46:10 PM »
Great report thanks and loads of nice pics, shame bout the biggest of the day but thats fishin. Seen pearl jam back in the early 90's, they were awesome.  :z16


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