John Horsey Fly Fishing Web Log

John's Fishing Blog

More huge Chew trout

I normally don't update my Blog so frequently, but feel I need to keep the info flowing about Chew Valley's incredible trout fishing.
Normally by mid November, the trout fishing has died a death on Chew, but not this year.
Yesterday I fished with Tony Ling, who has an enviable record of catching trout over 5lbs in all of his last 6 visits to Chew this season - and yesterday he kept the record going with another fin perfect 5lb rainbow - see pic.

We fished lots of areas yesterday, from Herons Green, to Moreton Point, through the False island, along east Shore and around the back of Denny Island.  We had takes or caught fish in just about every location - but we tended to drift close to the shore or along reed beds.

The trout are still feeding like crazy and the marrowspoons revealed daphnia, hoglice and shrimp in big numbers.  Although Minkies, Black Lures and large Minkie Boobies are taking the majority of the fish, I used a standard floating line for long periods yesterday with a team of 4 Diawl bachs and Crunchers.  I hooked 6 fish, lost 3 and landed 3 and my best fish of 4lbs took the point fly Cruncher.

Chew is open until 30th November and boats are available most days - BUT DO RING THE LODGE FIRST ON 01275 332339 TO CHECK ON AVAILABILITY.

Mark Thomas and Ceri Sweeny came across from Wales today and landed 24 trout in an action packed day.  They mainly fished behind the Island near to Hollowbrook and the East Shore using Slime Lines and Black Lures.


Bristol Reservoirs Fly Fishers Association have organised an end of season friendly competition at Chew Valley on 24th November.  It will be fished to Fishery Rules and you can choose your own boat partner.

There is no Entry Fee and top prize is a Turkey - ready and waiting for you for Christmas Day.  There will also be plenty of other prizes.

This is a great opportunity to spend one last day on Chew Valley chasing the massive rainbows that are feeding all over the lake and also a perfect way to end the season.

To enter, simply email the BRFFA Secretary Martin Cottis on


Tony Ling and 5lb Chew rainbow
My best 4lb rainbow - look at it's tail!
A spoon full of Shrimp

Trout fishing amazing on Chew!

The Chew Valley trout fishing keeps getting better!  I fished today with my good mate Martin Cottis and our limit bags of rainbow trout weighed an average of 3lbs 2ozs; for reservoir trout, this is an incredible weight.
We didn't start until after 11:00am and on my first cast of the day, I hooked and landed a 3lb rainbow.  We drifted all day - not even needing a drogue - mainly close to the margins and the reedbeds and had follows, takes and hook-ups all day.

In my 20 years as a Pro Guide on the Bristol Waters, I have never witnessed such incredible trout fishing at this time of the year.  Martin has been out a lot recently and enjoyed top class fishing on every single occasion.  Much of my recent guided trips have been for pike, but I was itching to get out for these fin perfect rainbows.

We both fished just 2 flies - something black on the dropper and a minkie on the point.  I tied a few Brown Minkies last night and found a Humungous hiding away in the corner of a lure box, which I put on the dropper.  I used a DI3 Sinker while Martin opted for a Kelly Green Intermediate fly line.  In fairness, we could both have fished floating lines, as the fish were so high in the water.

Trout stuffed with shrimp, hoglice and daphnia

At this time of the year, you would expect the trout to be feeding hard on fry, but all the fish we spooned had hoglice, shrimp, daphnia and snails in them.  As it is so close to the Winter months, trout normally like a bigger fly, so even though nymphs will work, they will always make an effort to take a bigger fly or lure.  Having said that, local angler Rod Newton recently weighed-in a 6 fish limit bag of rainbows for 33lbs - an average weight of over 5lbs per fish - and all took tiny Black Buzzers fished at anchor off Moreton Point using a Floating Fly Line.

My best fish weighed 5lbs 4ozs and came close to the trees in East Shore, near the Bird Blind.  Martins best rainbow weighed just over 4lbs.  I also caught and released a superb Brown Trout of over 3lbs.

Boats are still available for trout fishing during all the Pike Trials dates and those when the pikers are not on the water.  Booking in advance is a good idea, especially when the Pike Trials are on.

Guiding still available until 30th November.

As the trout fishing is so good, I have decided to extend my Guiding Services until the end of November.  It seems that even during days when the winds blow and the rains come; the trout fishing is still fantastic.

I have never known the back-end trouting to be so good, so I would advise you to have a crack at it before it is too late - you won't be disappointed!

My first fish of the day - a 3lb plus rainbow
Cracking Brownie - returned of course!
Another top quality Chew Rainbow

Tarrant gets a double on Chew

On Tuesday I fished with Chris Tarrant and Martin Founds for pike on Chew in the 3rd session of Autumn Pike Trials.
We had decent weather for the time of year and managed 8 runs, but only 4 pike in the boat, the biggest of which weighed 14lbs and was caught by Martin - see photo below.

CT also managed a low double and another smaller fish.  The day was full of laughs and stories as usual.  CT was on good form but sadly not able to add to his 30lb+ PB from Chew several years ago!

I am out again on Saturday and am hoping that the winds stay low and even drop away altogether - in my experience, this is when the biggest fish come out to play!  Anglers in general don't like flat calms - either fly or coarse - but there is no doubt in my mind that fish love these conditions.  The way I look at things; if fish are feeding and we aren't good enough to catch them, then that is our fault - not the fish and certainly not the weather!

I fished for pike last Saturday using flies and managed 2 fish - the biggest weighing 15lbs.  However, I lost bigger fish earlier in the day and thought at one stage that my fingers would drop off following a storm of rain that chilled me to the bone!

Thankfully the sun came out later in the morning and warmed things up again and got the pike active for short periods.

Martin Founds and Chris Tarrant on Chew
Me looking freezing on Saturday with my 15lb Pike

Barry Hawyes gets PB 25lb Pike

My good friend and regular client Barry Hawyes landed his PB Chew Pike yesterday weighing 25lbs exactly.
We decided to join the masses over at Stratford for a couple of hours, fishing deads and our only run resulted in Barry's cracking personal best pike.

Barry is one of only a handful of anglers that have now landed 20lb+ pike from Chew using deadbaits, lures and also on the fly.

His latest fish took a float fished mackerel tail bait in 12 feet of water.

We spent the rest of the day fishing lures in other parts of the lake and also dropping the anchor from time to time trying to find some other fish.  They are there, but we'll now have to wait until the next set of trials to see if they are more willing to take the lures.

Fly fishing

In the meantime, I am fly fishing for the pike on Saturday, when only a handful of people will be on the water and I expect a decent pike or two.

For those of you wanting to target the trout, my advice is to get there quick!  Gareth Jones and his guests recently had trout to over 6lbs on minkies, while others have had loads of 4lb+ rainbows on nymphs and lures.

This has to be the best back-end rainbow trout sport on Chew for years and if the weather holds, it should last until the end of November when the lake closes for boat fishing.

Barry Hawyes and his PB 25lb Chew Pike

John Synnuck gets a 21lb pike

Yesterday John Synnuck and I fished a Pike Trials day on Chew and John caught a 21lb fish.  We decided to anchor and fish deads - even though we both would have preferred to drift and fish lures - but the cold winds of late seem to have stapled the pike to the bottom and to be honest; it was also the warmest option!

A small bluey accounted for the fish - the best on the day from the boats - and we also had 2 smaller pike and missed a run.

The water temperature is 11 C and has dropped 1 degree, but I think it will need to drop a bit more before the pike start taking the lures with more venom.

Trout fishing still amazing

The trout fishing on Chew is still incredible, with loads of 4lb+ rainbows being caught from all 4 corners of the lake.  Tony Ling had 8 today and the best was over 5lbs, with 2 others over 4lbs.  My good mate Martin Cottis also had a cracking day recently with a double boat limit of 12 fish and amazingly 8 were over 4lbs in weight!

I will still be guiding for trout between the pike trials until the end of November and it really is worth having a last fling at what has to be the best trout fishing on Chew since I took up guiding 20 years ago.

John Synnuck with his 21lb Chew Pike

Huge 35lb 5oz Pike today on Chew!!!

What a day!  Pete Mersh tempted the biggest pike I have ever landed weighing 35lbs 5ozs. The colossal fish fell to a float fished Bluey Tail in 15 feet of water off the Woodford Bank at Chew - surely the mecca for big pike in the UK.

No less than 3 thirties came to the net today and plenty of twenties as the winds dropped and the weather calmed for the first time in over a week.  But it was 65 year old Peter Mersh, accompanied by his son Paul, who stole the headlines with the biggest pike so far of the 2012 Autumn Pike Trials.

We also landed fish of 16lbs and 8lbs, but this was the star attraction on a day dominated by big fish.

Just 1 day remains of the 1st week of pike trials, but next week I expect the trout fishing to be spectacular - such is the head of huge trout in the reservoir.  I am out on Monday with fisheries manager Tony Donnelly and we are going to target the big rainbows with some big lures.

For those of you who haven't witnessed Chew's massive trout this season, there still boats available to give it a go - I guarantee you will not be disappointed!!


Paul Mersh holding his Dad Pete's 35lb 5oz Chew pike

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