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Rutland hits peak-time

Now is the best time to fish at Rutland Water


Six-pound Rutland brownie, nestles in the predator net. It took an Emerging Sedge.
Six-pound Rutland brownie, nestles in the predator net. It took an Emerging Sedge.

I was chatting recently to a group of long-in-the-tooth, Midlands' fly fishers. When I declared that I was a Rutland regular they confided that, on the whole, they avoided Rutland. Why, I asked? "Too big"; "Takes too long to find the fish"; "Needle in a haystack", were a selection of their replies.

Well, f I was only allowed to go fishing on Rutland Water for only two weeks in a year I would select the last week of May and the first week of June.

The days are long, the chances of fine weather are high, and there is a profusion of insect life. This brings the trout into the upper layers making them easier to find.

A plan of action would be to head off in a boat to the South Arm and start with a long-lined team of buzzers in Manton Bay.

Even in late May they could be one foot off the bottom or one foot below the surface,...or both!

Next, I'd make searching drifts from Lax Hill to the Bunds or Green Bank with dry flies and nymphs. Sometimes the fish are moving so fast it makes sense to anchor upwind and wait for them to come to you.

The chances of encountering avidly feeding, grown on fish are high. Most of my red-letter days have been at this time of year. I once had ten overwintered fish between 3 1/2lb and 7lb, and not a stockie amongst them.

One has to be flexible, though, as you may find fish in very shallow water feeding on Corixae or snails. You may even be fortunate to encounter a hatch of lake olives. Be on the look out for swallows and swifts as olive hatches can be very localised. The birds will let you know when and where.

I've found there will often be a lull in the action around 5 o’clock for a couple of hours, but don’t head off home too early. Instead, check out the bank from Gibbets Gorse down into Manton Bay. At this time of year, on a balmy evening, the trout can often be found just yards from the bank, feeding on sedge pupae. Slashing rises then indicate that they have started to take the emerging sedge. For some reason, Rutland trout prefer the emerger to the adult, but a good approach is a G&H Sedge teamed with a Fiery Brown Emerger.

By the end of the first week of June you may find that there are immense numbers of rising trout. It is most likely that they have now switched their attention to pin fry.

Don’t despair, give my reverse New Zealand set up a try (see earlier blog), and you may be pleasantly surprised!

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