Avington Trout Fishery, Hampshire
December proved to be a very good month with most people catching their limit. The fish seemed really active, which is to be expected at this time of year. Lures seemed to be doing the business, although anglers were also catching well on Hare’s Ears, Pheasant Tails and even the occasional dry fly on warmer afternoons. Lake two has been popular and the fish seemed to be concentrated in the top half of the lake. Tactics have been to cast a lure towards the middle of the lake, allow it to sink for several seconds followed by a quick retrieve and look for the bow waves following. Anglers can see fish moving over the gravel patches, which is a good feature to cast to. Lakes one and three have also been fishing well, producing several doubles to anglers who are patient and persistent. Although the weed isn't dying off as quickly as expected for this time of year, the wildlife are still pulling plenty of it up daily. Fish are not spooked by this and wait around for any insect life to fall from the weed so this may be as good place as any to cast a fly.
Regular visitor Richard Francis managed six doubles, five of which were browns. He started with a lovely 14lb 8oz brown caught under the overhanging tree on the bottom of lake two. Next up was probably the best session here at Avington. Starting the morning with another 14lb 8oz brownie from the same spot on lake two, 30 minutes later he managed a 16lb 8oz brownie from lake three. On the way up to the lodge he had a couple of casts in lake one and tempted a 10lb 8oz rainbow. To finish the year he landed a 12lb 8oz brownie from lake one and a 12lb 8oz brownie from lake two. He caught on a range of different patterns from a Sid Knight WAEF to a Humungus. Mr Bothwick from Scotland landed an 11lb 12oz rainbow from lake one using a green and white lure.
Popular lure colours for morning sessions have been olive, white or black. Make sure the flies are getting deep enough and if unsuccessful keep changing the pattern, colour and/or retrieve. In the warmer afternoons the fish will often come just under the surface and action on the lures will slow down. A switch to a smaller fly can keep the bites coming. Successful patterns were Buzzer (usually black), Pheasant Tails and Hare’s Ear, fished quite slow just under the surface layers.
As from January 1 there will no longer be a two-fish morning ticket. The two-fish ticket will become available after 12 noon. Full day tickets are £70 for three fish and £80 for four fish.
Chatton Trout Fishery, Northumberland
Fantastic sport over the festive season. Rodney Burn from Blyth had a great session, returning a 10lb rainbow and a couple of 4lb rainbows. On Boxing Day two doubles were returned to Ross Lake by Rob Frame from West Denton and Peter Davison from New Hartley. On the windy days fish have been deep, while on calmer days they appear to be in the first four feet of water. Top flies are PTNs, Bloodworms, Black Bunny Leeches and Cat’s Whiskers. Fishery open 8am to 4pm.
Press Manor Fishing Lakes, Derbyshire
Trout lake fishing well to Buzzers and Damsel lures fished slow. Going forward the fishery will be open officially at weekends only until March. However, if you want to fish at other times in the week, it’s worth making a quick phone call to check availability.
Sharpley Springs Fly Fishery, Co Durham
Slightly cooler temperatures saw pre and post Christmas fishing go off the scale with plenty of doubles, hard-fighting fish and large bags brought to the net. Ed Brown from Forest Hall caught a 20lb specimen using a White Snake. Terry Wood from Bolton Colliery recorded a 19lb 7oz rainbow using a Mustard Gummy Worm and it took him 15 minutes to land. Ron Newsaff from Middlesbrough released a 15-pounder that took a Red Apps’ Bloodworm. Paul Runel from Great Ayton released a 10lb 8oz trout. Ryan Barrow from Coxhoe recorded a huge bag of 34 trout, the biggest at 15lb, and on a second visit he caught one of 12lb, as did Tommy Reay from Gateshead. Lee Bunting from Houghton had a 10lb fish, and R. Rowley also released one of 10lb. Alan Cant from Rainton took an 11lb 8oz fish from a bag of 15. Ryan Lane from Blackie Mill netted two doubles at 12lb and 10lb on Bloodworm patterns. Mick Marsterman from Newcastle caught a 14-pounder.
Jim Brown from South Shields reeled in the third biggest of the week with another big double at 18lb.
Slightly cooler temperatures at the start of this week saw less surface activity but plenty of sub-surface sport to worms, lures and suspended Blobs. Warmer days mid-week again had small black midge on the menu and success came to small pupae, emergers and spidery dries. Weekend breezes were a tad more challenging but rainbows still fell to faster-pulled lures like mini Cats and Zonkers.
Best flies are Black Buzzer, Grizzle Spider, Black Emerger Midge, Pinky Bloodworm, Squirmy, Mini Cat’s Whisker, Black Zonker, Black/green Nomad and Blobs.
West House Trout Lakes, Cleveland
The lakes had a double stocking for the Christmas holidays and the catches certainly reflected this. Over 40 fish were stocked in the 6-12lb range and some of the catches in the last few days have been spectacular. Nice cold, calm conditions have kept the fish close to the surface with plenty fish rising. Steve Keenan of Nunthorpe had one of his best fishing days. His catch including three fish between 8lb and 12lb – his first, second and third best fish ever. Ritchie Watson landed 19 fish in a hectic session, the best around 7lb. Kevin Holmes of Barnard Castle caught an 8lb 3oz rainbow on a Viva. Saturday morning anglers get a free bacon sandwich and tea or coffee. Best flies are Zonkers, Cat’s Whiskers, and Pink Buzzers. The lakes are now open from 8am until dusk.