Early morning and dusk are the best times to fish for trout at this time of year and they are also good times for the budding entomoligist to witness energing insects. Fishing for Schools' fly-fishing expert Bob Goble gives us some tips for better fishing this month.
The temperature is rising and the heat is on. These may be lyrics from 1980s pop songs, but in July they can be very true.
Some of the fisheries here in the south east close in hot weather as trout are easily distressed.
The water warms to such a degree that it causes oxygen levels to dissipate. This means the fish won’t feed and they sink to the lowest levels, lying dormant and trying to survive until a break in the heat when the oxygen rises to a more sustainable level. Not all will make it and any casualties of the heat are a loss to us and especially the fishery owner.
As our climate is changing towards hotter summers, fishery owners are trying to alleviate this problem. One way is to install aerators to create a cooling affect and increase the oxygen level. The bubble lines at Bewl Water reservoir perform this important job.
Coarse fisheries suffer as well, but it seems coarse fish don’t stress as much as trout, which are a cold-water species.
In fact, carp seem to love the heat. Even if they are not feeding you will see them basking on the surface. It’s always worth a try with an imitation fly (dog biscuit), but only try this if the fishery allows. If you remember I did touch on this in the April edition of the informer.
Back to trout. Late evening or early morning will give you the best chance of catching a fish or two. The trout waters that I know will stay open are Bewl Water, Lamberhurst, and Springhill Trout Waters at Pembury near Tunbridge Wells.
Bewl can be a daunting place to fish, but there are many bays and promontories to try. Personally, I would go for the late evening from the banks. Try places like Rosemary Lane, Tinkers’ Marsh (if there is water as it does tend to dry up!), Dunster’s Bay, The Point and the top end of Hook Strait, although this is a bit of a hike. There are also Bramble Point and Bay and Seven Pound Creek, just to name a few.
Springhill Trout Waters, is also a favourite water of mine and is much smaller and more intimate. I’ve had some spectacular evenings there with sedge (caddis) flies. You may have been there all day and seen nothing but rudd (there are some big ones in there), then as the evening draws on clouds of sedges appear from the water or crawling and climbing from the flora and take to the air to reproduce. And the trout are ready to pounce.
There are too many species to mention but as anglers you only need a few patterns to cover the eventualities.
I believe there are more than a couple of hundred species of midges and flies and if you are into entomology you could have a fascinating time looking at them all as they emerge on a summer’s evening.
I have included some pictures of the dry sedge, the F-fly and some caddisflies. There are two types of caddisflies, those that build shelters for protection and those that don’t (also known as free swimming or caseless caddis).
Cased caddisflies construct their tube-like home from whatever is on the bottom of the lake – things like small stones, twigs and reed stems - making a perfectly camouflaged home for this succulent grub. It can be up to a year before they emerge. I have found all manner of detritus, twigs and alder catkins in trout’s stomachs after dispatching them, all due to them eating these cased caddisflies.
The caseless caddisfly or free-swimming larvae spends most of its time under stones or rocks, but this species is more likely to be found in fast flowing rivers and streams.
The G&H sedge is a great fly to try during the evening. Though devised for running water is still a great and effective one to cast out onto still water. You can leave it or pull it back to create a wake. It’s quite exciting to see a trout bow wave behind your offering and suddenly take it!
The other caddisfly patterns in the picture are all designed to fish deeper to impersonate the cased caddis. Stick flies and hare’s ear with beads and some lead in the pattern to get down deep.
Your usual tackle will do - 9 foot to – 9 and a half foot rod, 6-7 weight and fly line accordingly, with a tapered leader to 6-7 Ibs.
That’s all for now.
I hope you enjoy your fishing this month. Be safe, but most of all have fun, Bob G.
(images from “Catch that Fish” by Peter Gathercole)