Avington Trout Fishery, Hampshire
The lakes were closed at the beginning of January while a de-silting operation was carried out on lakes 1 and 2. This has been a great success and the top end of both lakes are now substantially deeper, opening up more fishing space and some new haunts for the fish to explore. Since the fishery re-opened the fishing has been fantastic with full bags by the majority of anglers. The fish have a tendency to shoal out towards the middle of the lake at this time of the year and once their location has been discovered things can become rather hectic. It is the perfect time to push those casts out long and strip lures positively.
The first double of the year was caught on the very first day of the month by regular angler Richard Francis from lake 2. The fish weighed 10lb 8oz and was caught on a Sid Knight special. The biggest of the doubles in January was a specimen of 14lb 12oz to Paul Campbell from lake 1. Paul added another lovely fish of 12lb 8oz the following week, again from lake 1. Fish exceeding 10lb have been caught from all three lakes, generally to anglers fishing blind but occasionally, when the conditions have allowed, a handful have been singled out.
Fly choice has been largely dominated by lures and fish are very active and willing to chase a fast moving, large fly. Cat’s Whisker's have been consistent along with Damsel variations and Rutland Humungus. If the fish have seen a lot of lures over the day a change to a Buzzer fished under an indicator is likely to keep the action flowing. It may be necessary to keep altering the depth when fishing in this manner, though in general the fish are sticking to the top two to three feet of water on anything but the coldest of mornings.
Blackdyke Trout Fishery, Norfolk
Apps’ Bloodworms and Yellow Blobs fished on floating lines with a slow retrieve have been the best flies this week. The first Airflo Bankmasters heat is on Sunday February 15, entry forms from the fishery or they can be printed off the website at www.iainbarrflyfishing.co.uk
Thornwood Springs, Essex
The aerators are on during cold nights to keep the ice away and the log burner can be fired up when needed in the wigwams. All lakes fishing well to Goldhead Daddies, Rubber Worms, Dancers, Blue-flash Damsels and skinny green nymphs. Best fish of week weighed 6lb and best tactics are floating, intermediate and sink tip lines. Wooden lodge is nearly completed and should be ready for the first heat of the Iain Barr Airflo Bankmasters which takes place on February 22.
Witton Castle Lakes, Co Durham
Cold temperatures and short days kept angler numbers low through January, although a number of hardy souls braved the fresh conditions to enjoy their sport. Mr R. Adams has been successful on a number of visits, taking bags of 11, 10 and six fish. D. Tompes has also been consistent with bags of 11 and eight. Other notable anglers for January were D. Jones and D. Smith, both with creditable bags of six fish each, while two fine 2lb specimens were caught by R. Grimshaw. A number of flies proved successful in the colder weather including CdC, Buzzer, Blobs and Hare’s Ear although a standout performer has to be the Bloodworm which has had more success than the other regular flies put together. On more than one occasion the volunteer/manager on duty had to make the decision to close up for the day, either due to poor weather condition or just no anglers using the lakes. On one of these occasions he noticed two swans stuck fast in the ice. Our intrepid boatman took to the water in the lake’s launch to free the helpless, and no doubt grateful, birds. Because of the adverse seasonal weather anglers are advised to call the lodge before setting out to check on conditions and possible changes in the Friday to Sunday opening times.