Chew Valley Lake

The New Season beckons .....

Well it had to happen; a long, dry, wind free and generally mild Winter - then just as the Lake is due to reopen for Pike Fishing - WHAM!  Gale force winds and driving rain are forecast for the West Country, driving right across Chew Valley Lake and causing the cancellation of the 1st two days of the 2017 Pike Trials on Thursday and Friday!
Don't get me wrong, we desperately need lots of rain to fill both Chew and Blagdon, but why did the winds have to pick up to ruin the start of another Pike Trials Session?  Exactly the same happened last year and another Opening Day was lost.

Still, if the forecasters are right, then the worst of it should have passed by Saturday and the boats should be let out to sample the best pike fishing in Europe - if not the World!

I am doing 10 days for Bristol Water as their official Pike Guide and there are still 2 days free in November - simply ring Bristol Water Fisheries at Woodford Lodge, Chew on 01275 332339 to book a day for 1 or 2 rods (the price is the same).

Guided Trout Fishing for 2017

This will be my 23rd year as a Professional Fishing Guide and hopes are high for a great season on the Bristol Waters.  Early season until July last year saw both Chew and Blagdon enjoy amazing trout fishing.  Huge hatches of buzzer brought fish to the surface as early as Opening Day and nymph fishing became the norm throughout March and April. 

Then once the warm weather came, massive hatches of damsel flies drove the trout into a frenzy - particularly on Blagdon.  In all my years fishing the Bristol Waters, I have never witnessed the trout feed so voraciously on damsels - and the fishing with washing line tactics or dries - was electric!

This year Chew opens first on 9th March and Blagdon opens a week later on the 16th March.  The lakes are currently lower than would be hoped, with Chew at 68% and Blagdon just 56% of capacity.  However, this rain will certainly push both lakes up a bit and that will be a good thing.

I can provide the latest Hardy Rods and Reels plus any other tackle if necessary.  Comfortable boat seats come as standard in my boat and all you need to bring is a packed lunch and some drinks!

Litton is also a great place for tuition or Corporate Days and where else in the country can you get not 1, but 2 lakes exclusively to yourself?

Guided Pike Fishing

Pike on the fly is a fantastic way to target Chew's mammoth fish and unlike the Pike Trials, where getting a boat is like rocking horse manure, access on the fly is available throughout the season.  Also, unlike using treble hooks, a single debarbed pike fly is really unintrusive as regards capture.  So there is far less chance of damaging the pike and due to the nature of the weather conditions here in the West Country, the oxygen levels rarely deplete, meaning that the pike are fighting fit throughout the Summer months.

I can supply top of the range Hardy rods and reels plus all terminal tackle, flies, nets and crash mats to target these amazing creatures.

So why not book a day with me in 2017?  Simply go to "Contact" and I will be in touch.

 

Chew Spillway showing the low water levels
Nice silver early season Blagdon rainbow
A Chew Summer pike on the fly

The season so far ......

Its amazing to think that we are already into August and another season is flying by!  Apart from a week or so of scorching hot weather, this has been a cool Summer with plenty of rain and even more wind!!  As I write this blog the rain is pouring down outside but that does have the helpful effect of cooling down the water temperatures on our lakes and reservoirs - as I'm out on Chew for pike on the fly for the next 2 days, this will be very welcome indeed.

Trout

The trout fishing on Blagdon in recent weeks has been incredible.  First with grown on rainbows and browns feeding on damsels, migrating leeches and corixa at the Top End, then to deep fished nymphs and boobies at the Dam where the fish fought like fury!  Barry Hawyes and I had a great couple of days boating fish after fish, with Barry taking browns to over 5lbs and rainbows over 4lbs.

Chew has been harder of late, but a month ago everyone was heading to Stratford and Herriots where overwintered trout were feeding amongst the weed on bloodworm and corixa.  There were some monsters to be caught but the weed growth and increase in water temperatures stopped this for a while.

Pike

Pike have been feeding during the cooler days and some cracking fish have fallen to the fly this season.  One of my regular clients ian Gregg had a superb 36-04 pike using a tiny baitfish pattern at Stratford, and there have been a couple more over 30lbs and plenty over 20lbs.
My season so far has been fine as regards numbers, but high doubles have been my best to the boat, although we have lost some bigger fish which we could not hold!
As the water cools, I reckon things will pick up and more of the big girls will begin to show.

Barry Hawyes with his amazing 5lb 2oz Blagdon Brown trout
John Horsey with a superbly conditioned Blagdon rainbow
Ian Gregg's 36lb monster from Chew on a fly

GREAT NEW SEASON SPORT

What a great start to the 2016 fly fishing season this has been on the Bristol Waters.  Superb quality rainbow and brown trout being taken from all corners of both Chew Valley and Blagdon Lakes on a huge variety of methods.
Although the weather has seen cold winds and many layers of clothing have been required at times to keep warm, the trout have never been very deep and on Chew they are feeding hard on small black buzzer, while on Blagdon they are stuffed with daphnia.

Dry Fly!

Whenever the wind drops on Chew, the fish have risen to hatching buzzer and people were reporting catching on Dry Flies as early as the 18th March - the day after Opening day on Chew Valley!  This is almost unheard of on any of our reservoirs.

Teams of nymphs on Midge Tip lines have been very effective and on the colder, windier days, a DI5 with a bright Blob on the top dropper, a Black Diawl Bach Nymph in the middle and a Black Booby on the point has normally taken plenty of fish.

Buzzers everywhere

Every year the buzzer hatches on Chew seem to get earlier and definitely more prolific.  Black buzzers are already covering the surface of the lake and ducks, gulls, sand martins and swallows are feasting on them - as well as the trout!  Now that the winds have dropped recently, the nymph fishing is really taking off and some quality trout are being caught.

Pike slowly starting to feed again

Fishing for pike on the fly has been slow this season.  We are not sure why this is, but water temperature and possible spawning might be the reasons.  Every year the times that the pike spawn vary, so no-one ever knows how this affects the fishing. 
Thankfully a few have started to feed again as the days have grown longer and warmer - the best two being one of 32lbs and another big double - both taken while trout fishing on a Blob and Booby by the same angler; Dean Kibble from Wales.  Every year Dean catches big pike at this time of the year on small trout flies, so it's no coincidence.

Guided fishing on both lakes

Now that the season is in full swing, I am already heavilly booked for Guided Days, but still have plenty of mid week dates available throughout June and a few remaining in April and May.  The trout fishing should become more "top of the water" in the coming weeks and the pike fishing will become top drawer during may and June.

 

A cracking Blagdon rainbow
Anthony Tabor with a nice Chew Brownie
A nice Chew double taken on the fly

2016 Season looming

Not long now before the new fly fishing season begins on our reservoirs.
Blagdon Lake opens for business on 10th March, while Chew Valley opens a week later on Thursday 17th March 2016.

The Winter so far has been mild, wet and windy - although we have had nowhere near the huge amounts of rain experienced in the North of England, Scotland and Ireland.  In fact, neither Chew Valley or Blagdon are overflowing yet, but they are only a couple of feet below top water so we expect them to be full within a few weeks and certainly before Opening Days.

Book now for Guided Days

I am now actively taking bookings for Guided Days in 2016 on both Chew Valley and Blagdon Lakes.  Fish for quality Brown and Rainbow Trout on either lake and of course there is the opportunity to target massive pike on the fly at Chew. 

If you fancy a lake to yourself, then why not try Litton Lakes with me from a boat.  It is possible to have not one, but both lakes to yourself for the day, along with exclusive use of the Fishing Lodge where we can barbecue lunch in a truly peaceful environment.

Just drop me an email on my "Contact" page and we can get a day or two arranged for the coming season.

Chew Spillway
Herriots Bridge
Enrico Pini and I with his 40:08 fly caught Chew pike last March

What a season that was!

Hard to believe that another fly fishing season is now complete - but what an awesome season it was!
Huge pike, enormous trout, monster perch and great competitions.

Vail, Colorado USA for 2016 World Championships

My best bit of news recently is being selected to represent Team England in next year's World Championships in Vail, Colorado.  The Youth Championships were held there this season and by all accounts the venues and organisation are perfect for a match of this magnitude.
My other England Team Mates are Howard Croston, Simon Robinson, Phil Dixon and Andrew Scott, with Paul Page as Manager.

Trout Season

Both Chew and Blagdon Lakes were on fire for the majority of the season.  Once again, massive buzzer hatches brought the fish onto the feed as early as March and the dry fly fishing on Chew was exceptional.  Although the rainbows are always in tip-top condition, it was the size and quantity of the browns that was staggering.
One of my clients, Chris Jarrett, landed a brown of over 14lbs while pike fishing with me in November - the giant brownie took a whole mackerel.
All through the season people were reporting catches of 5lb to 8lb browns - most of which were voluntarily returned to the water.  Which is great news.

Perch on Chew

For the 3rd year running, the perch showed up in large numbers on Chew Valley Lake.  Specimens of up to almost 5lbs were taken - mainly around the jetties and most on the fly. 
Late afternoon in the back end of August through until November was the key time to contact a PB Perch.  I fly fished one day with Ian Gregg and we struggled for perch all day - plenty of pike and the odd trout, but the perch were hard to locate.
Then just as the light started to fade and the wind dropped, Ian had a PB 3:03 perch then with the last cast of the day followed it with a 3:10.

Pike

The highlight of the season has to be my Italian client Enrico Pini's massive 40lb 8oz caught during March on Chew using a fly.  Vern Novy then had a 31:08 a week later and plenty of other pike came to my boat during the course of the fly fishing season.  Pike ranging from 2lb, through to double figures and also several 20's up to 28lbs 8ozs.
But during the Pike Trials, Dave Sproston had a 33:10 on a lure, while I had a 33:00 on a deadbait.  We also had 70 others on both fly, lure and deads from 1st October to mid November.

European Championships

I fished for Team England in Italy for the FIPS Mouche European Championships and had mixed results.  The rain and floods made a couple of my river pegs almost impossible to fish, but I did manage another 1st Place in my Lake Session.  As a team we finished in 8th place overall.

National Loch Style Final

After being the 2014 National Loch Style Champion, I qualified once again for the Final, but this year on Bewl Water.  It was a very tricky and testing venue, with 100 top anglers vying for the 28 places in next season's 2 Loch Style International matches.
Thankfully I finished in 5th place overall and have now qualified to fish the Spring International on Ireland's Lough Lein in May.

Christmas Vouchers for Guided Days

Don't forget that I can provide Vouchers for Guided Fishing Days that make excellent Christmas Presents.  Just drop me an email and I can arrange it for you.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

 

Ian Gregg with his last cast 3:10 Chew Perch
Me with a 33lb Chew Pike
Chris Jarrett's 14lb Chew Brown Trout

Cold Spring but Great Fishing!

This has definitely been the longest and coldest Spring since I have been a fishing guide - it's now past Mid Summers Day and the winds keep on blowing!
Water temperatures are rising slowly and the weed growth on both Chew and Blagdon is heavy - due to the April sunshine apparently.

Still, in spite of all these cold winds, the trout and pike have fed well on all the Bristol Waters.  Average trout sizes on Chew Valley are 2lbs 15ozs at the present time - bigger than any of the UK's major reservoirs in fact.  And man do they fight hard!

Pike on Chew have been lazy - as usual.  However, catches are decent on overcast days and I have already had a 40:08, 31:08, 27:08 and several others over 25lbs this season on the fly.  I also went through a spell where my clients and I lost 11 pike on the trot as we simply could not hold them!  So pike on the fly is certainly worth a shot.

Lexus Team Heats

Last saturday we had a sell-out Lexus Teams Heat on Chew and 217 trout were caught by the 66 competitors.  Top Rod was Alun Williams of Cwm Flyfishers, whose 9 trout weighed in at 28lbs 1oz.  The biggest fish weighed 5lbs exactly and was landed by Steve Winstone of Team Airflo.
Congratulations to the 5 qualifying teams; Team Airflo, Anglo Welsh FF, Team Snowbee, Blagdon FF and The Water Rats. 
They will join 15 other teams at the Grand Final to be held at both Chew and Blagdon lakes on 15th and 16th August 2015.

Sky TV Tight Lines

Last Friday I was the guest angler on Sky Sports TV fishing show "Tight Lines".  We discussed plenty of fly action, both home and abroad for all species on the fly.  If you missed the show, then it is available on the Sky Sports Podcast.

With Keith Arthur in the Sky TV Studios
Cracking 27:08 Chew valley Pike on the fly
Fin Perfect 5lb Chew Rainbow

More big Chew fish!

The new Season is now well underway but recently the weather has spoilt the fishing - which up to now has been fantastic.  Strong winds have stopped all boats from going out on both Chew and Blagdon since Saturday, but tomorrow things look set to improve - for a short while at least!

Pike on Fly

My Guest Vern Novy has fished the Pike Trials with lures and deads several times and failed to land a pike.  However, his fortunes changed last Monday when we fly fished on Chew for pike and he first broke his duck with a jack - then followed it up with a PB of 31lbs 8ozs.
That makes it a 40+ and a 30+ to my boat this season - and Chew has only been open for 2 weeks!!!

Trout on Fly

Blagdon has had a slight brown algae bloom, but the fishing has still been good from boat and bank.  The Top End is alive with trout especially around Rugmoor.  Pegs Point and the North Shore has been good from the bank along with Green Lawns.

Chew has been hit badly by the winds recently, but just before they struck, the buzzer hatches were immense.  Trout had started to turn on to the buzzer and the nymphs were beginning to work well.  However, we need a day for the sediment to settle and I am sure the fishing will be just as good.  East Shore turned on big time last week and resident fish could also be taken at Stratford and Herriots.

Lexus European Flyfishing Championships

The first Heats of the Lexus will be held at Rutland Water this Friday (Individual Heat) and Saturday (Team Heat).  Places are still available for each day.

The Chew Individual Heats are next on 18th and 19th April.

Free Time with me on Chew

Bristol Water have arranged their free tuition days with me at Chew Valley Lake again this season and the first day is on Monday 13th April.  To book your slot, just contact the Fishing Lodge on 01275 33233901275 332339.

Vern Novy with his 31:08 Chew Pike
Simon Pledge with a cracking Blagdon rainbow
The 2015 Lexus European Flyfishing Championships

40lb Pike on the Fly!

Both Blagdon and Chew are now open for a new season of fly fishing and what an amzing first 2 weeks it has been!
The trout fishing on Blagdon has been superb, with fish averaging 2:12 and plenty of limit bags being taken from both bank and boat.
The brown trout in Blagdon have been in superb condition and I personally have only used a floatying line for my trips there.

Chew opened last saturday and I fished the boat with Bryan Brown, with both of us taking limit bags from the North Shore area in very cold conditions.  Once again, I used a floating line while Bryan opted for a midge tip.  Both lakes we have found black flies to be the best, although lots have caught using bright flies on sinking lines.

On day 2 at Chew, I was guiding 4 Italians who were filming for Sky Italy and who had fished Chew for pike in the past but without any real success.  A few jacks was their only captures.

Well, all that changed dramatically on saturday at last knockings when Enrico Pini landed a massive 40:08 specimen on a white and red fly from Villice Bay.  What a fish it was and the barbless hook was barely in it's huge mouth and came out with ease once i had her safely in the landing net!  We filmed the whole procedure and then released the trophy fish unharmed back into the lake.

Guided trips

With the weather now warming up nicely, my bookings are pretty heavy for the coming weeks but I still have availability if you fancy targetting some of Chew and Blagdon's quality fish on the fly.

Enrico with his 40:08 Chew pike
Cracking overwintered rainbow
Lovely Chew brownie for Glade Gunther

Let's go Trout fishing!

Blagdon opens in just 11 days time and with the lake overflowing for weeks and the water crystal clear, the early season looks like being superb. Fin perfect rainbow and brown trout are the target for fly anglers from all over the World who make a pilgrimage to World renowned Blagdon Lake.

Why not get your season underway and book a day with me to show you the top areas on Blagdon's 440 acres?  For the last few seasons, floating lines and teams of nymphs have worked really well, both on the drift and at anchor.

Alternatively, if Chew Valley is your preferred venue, you will only have to wait another week until opening day on the 14th March.  Once again, quality rainbows and browns abound in Chew's 1200 acres, but getting the right drifts and areas can be a bit daunting.

If you fancy booking a day on either lake, then simply get in touch via the "contact" area of my website.

Pike on the Fly

Some of you might prefer to target pike on the fly rather than trout.  Chew Valley is without doubt the top pike water in the UK and with at least twenty seven 30lb pike and two over 40lbs coming out in the recent set of pike trials, expectations are high that the pike fly fishing this season will throw up a lot of monster fish - perhaps even a new record!

If you don't have the right gear to tackle these toothy critters, then I can supply top of the range hardy Rods and reels plus all flies for the job; free of charge.

A cracking Chew rainbow
Blagdon Brownie
30;04 Chew pike taken by JH on the fly

2015 Season underway!

Monday heralded the start of the 2015 fishing season on Chew Valley Lake, starting with the Spring Pike Trials.  Already pike up to 39:06 have been caught so it looks like the "big girls" are certainly feeding!  I am out for the first time tomorrow so we're hoping for light winds and slightly warmer weather - although I don't think that is likely.
There has been a big spread of boats across Chew's 1200 acres and the bank anglers have also done very well.  In fact, as I write this around midday on Wednesday, reports are just coming through that a 38:00 has recently been banked.
I am out with Mike and Will Anderton from Keswick for the next two days, so I will update the Blog and FB with any fish that we catch.

2015 Fly Fishing Bookings

I am now taking bookings for the coming fly fishing season; both for trout and pike on the fly; Chew and Blagdon Lakes.  Already my weekend dates have booked fast and although both Opening Days are booked, there are plenty of early season dates still available.

Blagdon opens on Saturday 7th March while Chew opens a week later on Saturday 14th March 2015.  The stock fish have fed well over the mild Winter months and are in tip-top condition for the start of the season.  I am also hopeful that plenty of rainbows and browns will have overwintered this year due to thew mild weather and availability of food throughout.  Some of my piking friends have reported follows from huge trout while lure fishing for pike, so things are looking very positive all round.

John Horsey Fly Fishing
John Horsey Fly Fishing
Blagdon Boat Harbour

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