Fly fishing diary: November 2016

The fishing at Ellerdine Lakes was so good during November that we went every weekend...

Fly fishing diary: November 2016
© Fly and Lure
Fly fishing diary: November 2016
Picture copyright © Fly and Lure
Fly fishing diary: November 2016
Estimated reading time 9 - 15 minutes

Sunday November 6th, 2016

A bitterly cold easterly wind this week brought the temperatures down to a much chiller 4-8°C, and we'd had the first few frosts of the year. While easterly winds are rarely the best for fishing, at least the cold should have the Ellerdine Lakes trout on the feed, we thought.

A quick chat with Ed before we got started advised us to fish a couple of cormorants on the droppers, with an orange blob on the point. We tried Marsh Lake first and both had a pull within the first cast or two. Mine barely moved the line and the bite wasn't felt, so I missed the fish, but George was fishing with a strike indicator and his sunk with more enthusiasm, though he missed his chance too.

We both fished cormorants and blobs for the first couple of hours.

A strong, cold wind was blowing and we were both feeling uncomfortable, so perhaps the trout felt the same, as they proved elusive for us and all the other anglers within sight.

We tried various spots on Marsh, as well as the bottom of Cranymoor and had no action apart from a micro-perch for George which was probably smaller than my fly. We tried the children's pool to see if we could get George into a fish before breakfast.

How did it even fit the fly in its mouth?

Ed had told me during the week that he was going to put some fish in there for George to catch, but I'd not told him, so he was very excited to see trout moving instead of the usual rudd and roach he targets off the top. It didn't take long to get the first pull, but he quickly bounced it off, then missed another.

At last, fish on!

Thankfully, it was third time lucky and he finally hooked a beautiful little rainbow which shot along the pool at speed. He was very chuffed to have taken a 2:0 lead and let me know about throughout our breakfast by the fire in the lodge. And then again, at length, when we went back out on the bank after we'd warmed up with a cup of tea...

I really struggled today. I tried various techniques and parts of the lakes, but failed to get even a pull. Eventually, I admitted and defeat and gave up, had a bit of casting practice and went back over to the children's pool to see if George to could catch some more. Hopefully I'll do better next time...

Sunday 13th November, 2016

We were up at six today for a trip to Ellerdine Lakes, so we could arrive in time for the best fishing just after opening at 8am. The weather was cold and autumnal and there was very little wind, but the frosts earlier in the week seemed to have made the water a bit clearer and it just felt "fishy".

As it's autumn, I went for a yellow FNF Jelly Fritz blob on the point and a couple of black cormorants on the droppers. At this time of the year, the trout are often right in the margins or even tucked under the banks, so it usually pays to creep up to the water quietly and fish along the margin rather than casting straight out.

We started on Cranymoor and headed for the far corner near the island. George fished along the margin and towards the island, while I fished the opposite side and cast over the corner. There are often fish in this shallow area, if you don't spook them by walking around the edge of the lake on your way past.

Despite the very chilly weather, we could see that there were a fish few feeding here and there were swirls and bow waves appearing every few moments. A long cast towards the bush, a countdown to 10 on my floating line and a violent tug was felt. As I lifted the rod, the perpetrator didn't stay attached, but a few casts later the line went solid again and a fish was on.

Picture copyright © Fly and Lure.

Once I'd caught a fish, we headed over to the children's pool, which as usual, George had to himself. There were fish all over the top, feeding hard. Though on closer inspection they were rudd and roach gorging themselves on giant-sized pellets that had just been fed to the trout to grow them on.

After a few minutes of trying it became obvious that the trout were satiated and the rudd and roach were more interested in the easy pickings of the pellets than they were in George's flies, so we went in for breakfast.

Over breakfast we chatted to another regular - who always catches well - and he'd had seven fish already. He suggested we try his tactics in using a sink tip line and some tiny black and green nymphs. A rummage through my fly box revealed a pattern I'd tied this time last year, so after the sandwiches I switched to an intermediate line and tried out the pattern.

A cast to a moving fish at the top of Cranymoor and the fly was taken within seconds. It was a very powerful fish, especially for its size, and it took some fighting to get it near the net. The corner seemed to be full of feeding fish and we both felt confident, but they moved sadly failed to catch any more, so back to the childrens' pool it was...

George managed to catch a couple of nice rainbows on egg flies under an indicator and had great fun, then headed back over to Cranymoor again to have a sit down and fish the margins so I could have a fish again. While I was fishing the margins, and missing everything that hit my black and green nymph, George shrieked that he was into a fish.

Fish of the day for George, as well as one of his biggest rainbows of the year.

It looked a good one, creating a big boil on the surface and taking all of the available line, plus a bit off the reel under the pressure of the drag. Again, it was a strong and spritely fish that proved to be a challenge to get near the net, but eventually it tired and we were able to net it. She was a lovely fish, very athletic and robust, and she went back powerfully after a quick photo and a rest in the shallows.

As a special treat to end the day, manager Paul took George over to one of the stock ponds to let him feed some of the larger fish currently being stored for stocking later on. This was great fun!

George feeding the trout...

Final score was George 4, Dad 2, which I heard about for the entire 40 mile drive home...

Sunday 20th November, 2016

It really felt like winter had arrived today and it was hovering around zero when we arrived at Ellerdine just before 8am.

The frosts during the week and some extremely windy weather seemed to have both further cleared the water, especially on Cranymoor and Lakemoor, and to have put the fish on the feed.

George gets the day off to a good start.

We both had several good pulls and plenty of follows in the first hour or so, then a fish a piece. Unfortunately, shortly after breakfast we hurriedly had to return home due to a family emergency. Thankfully it was trivial, and we had at least got some fishing in beforehand...

Sunday 27th November, 2016

If only George had got up a bit earlier today, and we might have had even more early morning trout action at Ellerdine. We arrived after 8.30am and it was gone 9am by the time we were tackled up.

There were loads of fish along the margins of Lakemoor and I managed to get a follow on the first cast and then catch one on the second. They were very easy to spook, but if you stayed well back from the bank, trod gently and kept quiet you could cast your flies past them and retrieve quickly and they'd follow nearly every time.

Picture copyright © Fly and Lure.

Despite watching a number of fish take the fly, then spit it out, then take it again, I struggled to keep any further fish attached and after a short while they'd all wised up and swum into deeper water where they were out of sight.

We kept moving and fished the margins of all of the lakes. Marsh was very murky and we had no luck there or on Meadow (which was fished hard the previous day for the England team qualifiers) but the fish on Lakemoor and Cranymoor were chasing.

A long cast on an intermediate with a pink FNF Jelly Fritz Ellerdine Enigma, followed by a 20 second countdown and then some fast strips was often enough to get a follow, often with a big bow wave.

Picture copyright © Fly and Lure.

Eventually George hooked up into a nice blue trout, but I struggled to get another fish, despite hooking at least four more. It was quite exciting fish, especially as there were lots of browns feeding ravenously in the margins, often attacking the fly numerous times while still evading the hook.

Eventually, I figured out this was because my hook point had snapped off! Had I been using a hook with a point, perhaps I'd have had more luck.

As it was, I had to settle for being beaten 8:1 by George, who'd thrashed me with one trout and seven perch, all caught in the margins.

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