England Troutmasters reports for week-ending January 8th, 2016

Avington Trout Fishery, Hampshire
December has proved to be a very good month with most anglers 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 have still been catching well on Hare’s Ears, Pheasant Tails and Buzzers. Lake two has been popular with a lot of anglers bagging up there as the fish seemed to be concentrated in the middle of the lake. Tactics have been to cast a lure towards the middle, allow it to sink for several seconds followed by a quick retrieve and look for following bow waves. Lakes one and three have also been fishing well producing several doubles. The weather this month has been remarkable with temperatures around 13°C, the wind has caused problems with fish spotting and casting difficulties. The weed in the lakes shows no signs of dying back and the birds are still very busy pulling up fresh weed daily!
Despite difficult stalking conditions quite a few doubles have been caught this month, the largest by Chris King from lake two, a 17lb 4oz fish. Chris saw a large shadow slowly moving over a gravel patch, cast his Damsel fly just in front of it and the fish took. Second best was Grant Ashby, from Coventry, with a fish of 16lb 12oz caught in lake one on a Blue-flash Damsel right up close to the reeds. Another regular Richard Francis had a nice 14lb rainbow from lake two on a Sid Knight stalking bug. Richard also landed a 10lb 4oz fish from lake three a few days later on the same pattern of fly. Martin Bell had a pristine rainbow of 14lb from lake one on a Buzzer. This fish had been hooked and lost earlier in the day by another angler.
Best choice of flies for the coming months would be a Rutland Humungus, Minkie, Cat’s Whisker or a similar type of lure. Buzzers and Hare’s Ears will also work if the fish are showing on the top. The fish seem to be active and feeding in all three lakes so look for signs of water disturbance before casting. During this mild weather the fish can be seen in the upper layers of the water and will readily take an offering just below the surface with a fairly fast retrieve. If the weather turns colder use a heavier fly, starting off about 3-4 feet depth and slow the retrieve down. If the action is slow keep changing the flies and varying the depth. Also change the speed of the retrieve. If you have not seen any action in front of you for 10-15 minutes try another spot.

Blackdyke Trout Fishery, Norfolk
The lake is still in good form and Cat’s Whiskers and Blobs on floating lines are taking most fish. Tuition is available for those anglers planning to brush up on their skills and also for beginners. Visit the fishery website at www.blackdykefishing.co.uk for more information.

Grafham Water, Cambridgeshire
Grafham has been in excellent form over the festive period. Local angler Steve Jones caught a superb 5lb 15oz rainbow on the first morning of 2016. Steve’s fish was taken from ‘G’ bank on a Shrimp pattern. Bank fishing has been excellent with all areas fishing well when winds have permitted. On January 3, Jim Foster had 10 rainbows, all on dries. The Bank Bonanza on December 30 was a great success. Despite windy weather many hardy souls took part in this new bank competition which will become an annual event. Winner was Ian Donaldson with five fish for 12lb 14oz; second Dave Summers, four fish for 9lb 11oz; third Bob Aves, three fish for 8lb 13oz. Best fish went to Jamie Thomas with a lovely 3lb 15oz rainbow.
Grafham will remain open to both boat and bank anglers, until January 31 (subject to weather conditions). Prebooking for boats is essential, call 01480 810531.

Packington Trout Fishery, Warwickshire
Last week 83 rods caught 213 fish for an average of 2.57. The busiest week on the fishery for a while despite some atrocious weather at times. The boat anglers are still enjoying the best of the action. Only a few areas on the bank of Cocks Close are fishing well and these are the old boat jetty corner and the high bank. The boat anglers are catching well toward the high bank and around the middle willows. Top patterns are Cat’s Whisker, Damsel Nymph, Montana Nymph, Black Tadpole, Black Buzzer and Diawl Bach with floating lines and long leaders working best. The biggest fish caught over the Christmas period was a 17lb rainbow for Matthew Bird, of Atherstone. He was fishing from a boat on Cocks Close and he took it on a black nymph on a floating line. The fish was safely returned. Chris Gee, of Solihull, fished catch and release from a boat on Cocks Close and caught seven fish, the best a 12lb 8oz rainbow which fell to a Cat’s Whisker on an intermediate line. Ian Reeve, of Rugby, caught an 11lb 12oz rainbow, again from a boat on Cocks Close and this one fell to a White Minkie fished on a floating line. Sam Salvin, of Coventry, fished the bank of Cocks Close and caught a 9lb 8oz rainbow on a Damsel Nymph. On the Park Meadow pool, Harold Pritchett, of Atherstone, fished catch and release and caught 15 rainbows to 6lb on his own tied Killer pattern. The fishery is open seven days a week from 8am until dusk during the winter.

Pitsford Water and Ravensthorpe Reservoir, Northamptonshire
Pitsford Fishing Lodge is now closed, re-opening February 20, 2016. Bank fishing at Pitsford continues to January 31. Fishing at Ravensthorpe concluded on December 31. For 2016 boat bookings for both Pitsford and Ravensthorpe please call 01480 810531. Pike boat fishing at Ravensthorpe takes place from February 13 – 21, 2016.

Rutland Water, Rutland
On days of more settled weather Rutland has fished very well. Floating line and nymphs (Hare’s Ear, Cormorants and Diawl Bach) have been the most successful patterns with fish moving particularly on the Normanton bank with some anglers actually catching on dry fly. Fry patterns are still worth trying but not too big. Minkies and Humungus around 2.5 to 3 inches are working best. Only a few boat anglers have been trout fishing. However, Dan Perks and his boat partner went out before the New Year and had six fish. Boat pair Ricky Cooper and Andy Lush recorded the best predator bag with 29 zander and a solitary perch. A good number of their fish were around the 6lb mark.
Subject to weather conditions boat fishing continues at Rutland Water until January 31, 2016. Prebooking is essential, call 01780 686441, 8am to 1pm Wednesday – Sunday; Monday and Tuesday call 07885 484113.