Midlands Fly Fishing — The Blog

Reservoir Fly Fishing – How to Start

Posted on February 28th, 2012

About Reservoirs

In the UK we are now blessed with many huge expanses of water created for the main purpose of water supply, which have in recent decades proven to be a fabulous trout fishing resource open to everyone. In many cases other species of fish are available to anglers, however we will concern ourselves with brown and rainbow trout in this piece. Reservoirs are not the best venues for beginners, the sheer size of many is daunting to some seasoned anglers and the need to often cast further and locate trout mean smaller waters are more likely to bring success until you have a good grasp of the basics.

Fly fishing reservoirs is practiced from both bank and boat, with techniques varying widely, requiring the serious angler to have more variety in their equipment than when fishing smaller lakes or rivers. Perhaps the greatest challenges facing anglers starting to fish reservoirs are the size of waters, magnified effect of weather on waters and fish and locating trout. All of these factors have implications on equipment, hence the need for greater flexibility. Lets take a look at a good starting selection on which to build.

Equipment for Reservoir Fishing

  • Rods – Generally 6-8 weight.
  • Large arbor fly reels plus spare spools designed to take appropriate lines.
  • Weight forward fly lines 6-8 weight floating, sink tip, intermediate, medium sink and fast sink.
  • Leaders for fishing subsurface should be 6-8lb and 12-20 feet long. When fishing dry fly use a tapered leader of 10-15 feet.
  • A large tackle bag is useful for carrying everything whether fishing boat or bank.
  • Nets should be of the long fixed handly variety with a large net which is also deep, you never know what you may hook on reservoirs
  • All the usual accessories such as floatant, sinkant, forceps, snips, leader material, priest, bass bag and fly boxes
  • A drouge to slow the drift when boat fishing. Anchors are generally supplied with the boats at reservoir venues though you may prefer to obtain your own for serious boat fishing
  • Flies – our recommended core fly selection is a great starting point. With the addition of hoppers and shipmans buzzers in black, claret and orange or red for dry fly work. You can then build your selection from here

This will give you a great starting point which you will develop as you gain experience, learning what suits you and the reservoirs you fish. The outfits listed above will allow you to handle all conditions from strong wind using the heavier rod/line combination to calm hot or frosty days when a light outfit offer a delicacy of presentation that brings rewards when all else fails.

Having looked at equipment and safe in the knowledge that having this means that with good technique and knowledge you can handle any safe weather conditions, lets look at our last key point, fish location.

Locating Trout in Large Stillwaters

Reservoir Fly Fishing

Reservoir Fly Fishing

OK you arrive at the reservoir, look at the water and think “where do I start?”. Like fishing anywhere watercraft is an essential skill that will guide you to the fish or at least significantly improve the odds of locating them. If you have learnt watercraft skills on small stillwaters, they translate very well to reservoirs. By this I mean the same features attract trout regardless of lake size and these are a good place to start. If it helps, visually break down the reservoir into smaller pieces of water, concentrating on each individually, learning the features as you go. This will help build your knowledge of a water and with time you will develop you own water map, so note donw your findings on each visit. Also note down weather conditions, how and where you fished and what flies you used. Over time you will build a fabulous reference and knowledge for each venue you fish regularly, which will also bring increasing confidence and success!

Summary

Remember the key points of watercraft, weather and equipment selection for tactics on any given day. Don’t fall into the trap of fishing the same thing all the time, base your approach on facts you see on the day, you will learn more and become a better angler. Many reservoirs have clubs formed by like minded anglers who regularly fish there. Joining a club on your local reservoir and learning from others is a great way to learn and meet new friends. Additionally you may wish to learn new skills from a full-time professional instructor at one of the many well known Midlands reservoirs, for further details contact us.

Posted in Starting Fly Fishing

Start Fly Fishing Rivers – Equipment

Posted on February 28th, 2012

Having gained experience and skill fly fishing stillwaters, many anglers dream of taking up the challenge of rivers. The first step in this transition is to start with the right equipment. This article is aimed at fly fishing for trout in small to medium size streams and rivers.

Firstly, gain some idea of water you will regularly fish. If you want to dip your toe into the river scene, a session or two with a six weight stillwater outfit will be fine (even a seven weight can be used at times though you will have no sport fighting the fish).

Having decided you want to pursue river fishing, it is worth now investing in a lighter outfit. This does not mean gear that costs the earth, as with anything you pay your money and take your choice. There are some very good outfits now available.

Suggested River Kit

  • Fly Rod – Rated AFTM 4-5 weight
  • Reel – Basic fly reel designed to hold 4-5 weight line plus 50+ meters of backing
  • Fly Line – Weight forward 4-5 floating fly line
  • Backing – Spool of polypropylene backing line, connecting fly line to reel
  • Leader – See leader details below
  • Fly Box/flies – A small selection of flies to get started
  • Priest – For dispatching stock fish to take home, let the wild fish go!
  • Forceps/snips – Combination for trimming line and unhooking fish.
  • Landing Net – Means of landing your catch quickly and safely
  • Floatant/Sinkant – Treatments to make line/flies float or sink as desired
  • Waders – Breathable chest waders are best, you are then covered for all eventualities

Leaders

Have some tapered leaders for dry fly and delicate nymphing. These can be either knotless, purchased as a single length or your can construct your own. Do make use of low diameter copolymer materials for dry fly and fluorocarbon for subsurface fishing, they make a huge difference. When fishing weighted nymphs, use a single length of un-tapered fluorocarbon. This will sink much faster than a tapered leader, getting your nymph(s) to depth quicker.

You will want to carry both copolymer and fluorocarbon tippet material in breaking strains of 3lbs & 4lbs generally, having 2lbs & 5lbs for occasional use.

To discover how to start the right way with Midlands Flyfishing see our Derbyshire river fishing and Cotswold river fishing. Details of other waters located around the UK can easily be found using a local internet search.

Posted in Starting Fly Fishing

Start Fly Fishing – Fly Selection

Posted on February 28th, 2012

One of the most frequently asked questions I hear when coaching novice fly fishers is “what fly do I use? Their are so many”. My reply is what I say to you now, their are indeed hundreds of thousands of fly patterns available, however you can catch all year round with these 10.

So what are these magic 10 flies? Here’s my list: –

fly selection

Image via flyfishinglessons.tv where you can find this video!

  • Tadpole style lures in black, white, orange, olive, yellow and red, sizes 8-10 (Standard and bead head variant in photo)
  • Pheasant tail nymph size 10-18 (Standard and bead head variant in photo)
  • Hares ear nymph size 10-18 (Standard and bead head variant in photo)
  • Diawl bach nymph size 10-16
  • Midge pupa in black, olive, red size 10-18
  • Shuttlecock in black, tan, olive and gray, size 12-20
  • F fly in black, tan, olive and gray, size 12-20
  • G&H Sedge size 10-14
  • Daddy long legs (crane fly)
  • Parachute adams size 12-20

The above fly selection will cover ninety percent of days for the novice fly fisher, meaning you spend more time fishing a fly than scratching your head while looking blankly at a huge selection of flies.

If you’re still struggling to catch, maybe you should book some fly fishing lessons to make sure you are using them correctly!

Posted in Starting Fly Fishing

Start Fly Fishing – Equipment

Posted on February 28th, 2012

When taking up a new hobby, how you start can be the difference between finding enjoyment that lasts a lifetime and an unpleasant experience you don’t wish to repeat. Fly fishing is no different and here you will find how we introduce and advise novice fly fishers through those first steps in the learning process.

Firstly, choose a fishery conveniently located for you. Resist the temptation to start on a river or reservoir. Instead select one of the many good quality small stillwaters. Such venues have plenty of space for casting, plus trout are never too far away, giving you a favorable chance of catching those all important early fish.

Having established where we intend to fish, we can select a small set of fly fishing equipment so you can go fly fishing. Our suggested list for beginners includes the following.

Fly Fishing Starter Kit

  • Fly Rod – Rated AFTM 6-7 weight
  • Reel – Basic fly reel designed to hold 6-7 weight line plus 75+ meters of backing
  • Fly Line – Weight forward 7 floating fly line
  • Backing – Spool of polypropylene backing line, connecting fly line to reel
  • Leader – Spools of 6lb and 8lb breaking strain fluorocarbon line
  • Fly Box/flies – A small selection of flies to get started (see related article in “Articles & Resources”
  • Priest – Implement for dispatching trout you intend to eat
  • Forceps/snips – Combination for trimming line and unhooking fish
  • Landing Net – Means of landing your catch quickly and safely
  • Floatant/Sinkant – Treatments to make line/flies float or sink as desired

This basic selection is all you need to get started. As with most things in life, you can pay as little or as much as you wish. Starter kits can be purchased from £50 or you could by top brand equipment costing over £1000, the choice is yours. However you can obtain the above equipment for £110 – £200 and have tackle that works well, is pleasant to use and flexible for the occasional foray to a river or reservoir once you have built up your experience.

To ensure you start fly fishing the right way, book a day’s tuition with an instructor. We can’t vouch for everyone, but our Cast & Catch days cover what you need to start and instructors provide guidance on suitable products. In addition to this, these courses coach novice fly fishers in basic casting and fishing techniques, where to look for trout and what flies to use. This ensures you know how to: –

  • Select and set up equipment correctly
  • Present flies and fish them effectively
  • Land and handle fish correctly

To discover how to start the right way with Midlands Flyfishing go to fly fishing lessons. For details of fisheries we use and recommend in the Midlands see trout fisheries. Details of other waters located around the UK can easily be found using a local internet search.

Tight Lines

Midlands Fly Fishing Team

Posted in Starting Fly Fishing

Midlands Flyfishing, 9 William Close, Forsbrook, Staffordshire, ST11 9AW, England
Tel: +44 (0)7901 744 869 | Email Midlands FlyFishing