I don't know about you but I am no fan of January. Granted this year has been mild (very mild) so far, but generally it has been wet, grey and yuk. There is light at the end of the tunnel. January has flown by and in the next few days we begin the count down to March, the new river season and reservoirs opening their gates. But I cant wait for March, there is all of February to get through yet! So is there anything viable to chuck a fly at? Here are a few ideas.
On the reservoir scene Farmoor has enjoyed quite a renaissance and the good news is that it remains open throughout the year. Its a concrete bowl (comprising 2 separate lakes), so perhaps not every ones cup of tea, but if you want the chance of a full tailed, over wintered Rainbow this is definitely the place. Boats are available on Farmoor 2 and it sounds like it is going off. I have just spoken with one of the rangers and the boat rod average is over 18! Currently typing with one eye on the diary! There is also a catch and release lake, Farmoor 1, that is home to some monsters which just love a Buzzer swung on the wind, a Cruncher twiddled back slowly or an ultra slow fished Blob. Sunburst Yellow is a favourite. By the way if you like fishing Booby style tactics then F2 is just brilliant. Check out their fly fishing section on the Farmoor website
But what about the rivers? I get several calls a week about the Exe and its population of Grayling. It is of course possible to catch these fish at this time of year but the major hassle is water height. The Grayling also seem to hide themselves away very well and the only way to extract one is by going super deep with heavy bugs, fished with an indicator of sorts and possibly a Czech/French style leader. This latter approach certainly provides a great deal of sensitivity and the ability to offer the most natural of presentations. A friend of mine did just that a couple of weeks ago in fairly heavy water conditions and managed one Grayling although I think it was the mended Salmon Kelt that snaffled a rubber leg nymph which surprised him most of all! If you are tempted then my advice is to keep checking the network of Farson Digital watercams for water conditions. You can see the Exe camera here
Or you could head to a chalkstream. Many have closed their doors for Grayling fishing by this time of year but John Aplins beautiful stretch of the Frome is still taking bookings and judging by his twitter post this morning it sounds like conditions could be just right. They also have a camera here.
I have a few more hardcore days in the office to finish and then I have got to have a crack at one of these although there is something else. Fly Fishing for Pike. As we move towards spawning I guess our chances might diminish somewhat but there is always the chance. And even if now is not quite the right time, I have had some brilliant sessions by early March. Intermediate fly lines and highly mobile streamers proved irresistible to fish like the one below during a hectic session in early 2011. This is also budget priced sport which has to be a consideration after the expense of Christmas and now yet another hike in fuel prices on the horizon!
And I do believe the sun is shining through my office window … the season is on the way!