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Fly Fishing In South Cumbria

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Your guides to South Cumbrian Fly Fishing - Bob and Vera Carlson Your guides to South Cumbrian Fly Fishing - Bob and Vera Carlson

If you come to the Lake District for a holiday and are based in South Cumbria or even visiting North Lancashire then you should bring your fly tackle as there is a wealth of available fly fishing locally.

Forget the big lakes such as Windermere where you will be shoulder to shoulder with holiday makers and ducks.. Windermere Ambleside and District Angling Association have plenty of waters and probably the best two for a good day or evening sport are Ghyll Head and High Newton Reservoirs. Both are open all year and are fly only with barbless or debarbed flies.  Permits are £18 for 2 fish and catch and release is permitted. Permits for all WADAA public fisheries can be obtained online at http://lakedistrictfishing.net . They can also be obtained from Newby Bridge Motors on the A590 at Newby Bridge  which is at the southern end of Windermere lake.

ghyll2_full_211699580.jpgGhyll Head is very scenic and is about 11 acres in size  and is  just off the Bowness - on - Windermere to Newby Bridge Road and varies from a deep section near the dam to extensive shallows at the top end and is crystal clear. In winter and early season intermediate or medium sink lines combined with lures will get you into fish but as the weather warms there are huge buzzer hatches  and also plenty of olives and masses of damsel flies, sedges etc. There are Rudd in the water so expect fry feeding in Autumn.

Terrestials such as gnats, beetles, hawthorn flies, daddy longlegs play a very important role and the Trout soon get used to this extra feast. In early June there is a manic hatch of bracken clock beetles and as these get blown onto the water the Trout go crazy for them. This usually lasts for about two weeks. By far the best fly is a foam brown beetle. Just make sure to present it with a splash !

From April onwards a floating line and longish leader will tend to give best results but as the lake is stocked with Rainbow and Blue Trout from 2lbs upwards on a very frequent basis pulling lures will still produce throughout the year. The scenery at this lake will blow your mind and if you fish early in the day you could well have Red Deer eying you up !

high_newton_887992758.jpgHigh Newton Reservoir is just off the A590 at High Newton near Newby Bridge. It is a similar size to Ghyll Head and is quite high and again crystal clear. Its fairly shallow and being an upland water the Trout are used to looking up for terrestials and this has to be one of the best waters in North of England for top of the water sport.

There are Perch in here so fry patterns work well especially in Autumn.. Floating and intermediate lines are all you need here. Its very rocky around the shore line and there is a dam area to be fished and an excellent platform for disabled anglers has been constructed  near the dam in a very prolific area for fishing.

Stocking levels are like Ghyll Head so there are always lots of full tailed fish to pull string. Good buzzer hatches are the norm along with sedges, damsel flies, caenis and a few olives. Masses of terrestials get blown on and imitative fishing really pays off but the usual lures on intermediate lines produce well especially early in the year and around stocking days. A damsel nymph pattern from late April onwards is sure to give good sport.

For consistent top of the water sport you won`t go far wrong with any small black dry or emerger pattern plus beetles in various sizes and colours. Remember to keep leaders fine and copolymer ones are excellent as you combine low diameter with strength. I normally fish one fly at this water as the fish tend to be very fit and big and double figure fish and big blues are often connected with . You have been warned.

Both lakes have a barbless or debarbed hook rule as with the majority of waters in the region.

bigland_hall_trout_lake_885924964.jpgAlso near Newby Bridge is Bigland Hall Fly Fishery at Mungeon Farm, Backbarrow which is just 5 minutes off the A590 .This water is slightly peaty but fishes very well all year. At about 10 acres there are islands, peninsulas , bays, shallows and a dam with good depths so whether you like to pull a lure through the depths or fish a team of nymphs or prefer dry fly there is the water here for it. The lake is very well stocked on a regular basis and whilst it is high there are great hatches of buzzer, olives, sedges, caenis, damsels etc plus all the usual terrestials. Look out for adders especially in Spring - you normally sometimes spot them swimming.

This is a very nice, peaceful lake and there is a toilet and excellent fishing lodge for you to take a break if the elements are typical Lakeland. Both sporting and kill permits are available with permits priced from £12 - £20. For further details contact Kath, the owner, on 07789 502278. She is extremely helpful and will give you all the assistance you need. Except in the most adverse conditions you should catch here and the fish are fit as is the case with all the fisheries mentioned in this brief overview.

If you fancy some boat fishing or you would like to fish a well stocked large water from the bank then you can try Esthwaite Water near Hawkshead . This is 280 acres and is a shallow water so normally the fish look up for their food. The water has terrific buzzer hatches plus most other hatches in season such as sedges plus all the usual terrestials. As there is an abundant supply of coarse fish in the water fry feeding can be manic in Autumn. There are also Pike to over 30lb & these are often hooked  and sometimes landed by fly fishermen.

Permits are £28 a day for bank anglers (4 fish) and for boat anglers the permits vary from £41.50 including use of boat (4 fish). There are lots of special reduced permits for juniors etc.

wych_full_455028619.jpgFrom March until June the sport is normally hectic and I would definitely advise fishing from the boats as a lot of the shoreline is not accessible. In the height of Summer the Trout tend to turn dour and go deep and the water can have an algae bloom. A wide variety of methods can be tried from the boat and during a buzzer hatch a floating line coupled with emerger patterns will give great sport. Equally lures fished on any line from an intermediate down to di6 will give great results. I have found that the “hang” is deadly on this water. A great water with both Brown and Rainbow Trout into double figures available to test your skills.

For more information on Esthwaite take a look at their website http://www.hawksheadtrout.com or give David Coleman the manager a ring on 015394 36541. David is a highly skilled all round angler and he will freely give you the information and tactics needed for a great day out and who knows in Summer there is every chance that you will spot an Osprey fishing.

Further South almost on the Lancashire border and with very easy access to the M6 motorway are several  small stillwaters that usually fish very well.

The first is Wych Elm at Holme. This is a 2 acre lake and is usually gin clear and is stocked daily. Mainly Rainbows from about 2lb - doubles. A lovely little water with a decent amount of fly life including buzzers, olives, sedges, damsels etc plus the usual terrestials. Any normal small lake tactics work with bloodworm and buzzer patterns on floating lines very good. Dry fly fishing can also be very good even in winter. There is a caravan/toilet and free brewing facilities etc. All in all a great fishery and only 5 minutes from Junction 36 of the M6 motorway. Permits vary from about £8 - £25

Farleton_View_Photo_823583107.jpgAlso close to junction 36 is Farleton View Fishery at about 7 acres. Normally very clear with a very prolific insect hatch. As with Wych Elm it fishes very well to natural imitations but a lure pulled will also work. Hot  orange is a favourite colour - usually fritz. The lake is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and there is a tea room open March -October which is handy for a brew and a bacon butty. Permits range from £6 - £25

Further up the M6 near Tebay is Bessy Beck Fishery at Newbiggin - on  - Lune. A fantastic fishery with 3 lakes with 2 of interest to fly anglers.  The stock fish are produced on site and the lakes are well stocked with the main lake having its share of good doubles. Open all year this very well run fishery produces well to most tactics although lures tend to be used more in winter combined with sinking lines. As the lakes are fairly high insect life is not as prolific as  some of the other waters mentioned but normally terrestials make up for it. 

There  are excellent toilet facilities plus café and tackle shop on site and permits are from £15.  This lake is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

river_kent_541601778.jpgFor those of you who prefer rivers the River Kent which flows through Kendal is the best bet. The lower beats are mainly Salmon/Sea Trout stretches but for the fly Trout angler there are 3 club waters - Kent (Westmorland ) Angling Association controls 8 miles of the main river plus some tributary fishing. Day tickets can be bought from Carlsons Fishing Tackle (01539 724867) in Kendal. Further up at Burneside the fishing is controlled by Burneside Angling Club and again permits can be bought from Carlsons. Further up at Staveley the river is much smaller as it reaches the headwaters but the fishing can be superb. Permits available at the newsagents in Staveley. Both Burneside and Staveley stretches sometimes produce monster Browns but the average  is about 6 oz. Permit prices for all three clubs vary according to the time of year but £15 a day is average.

If you prefer more wild stream fishing then Endmoor Angling Association controls a few miles of Endmoor Beck and generally you will never meet any other angler. This water is the main tributary of the highly prolific river Bela. The water is no longer stocked and is small with interesting fishing with stealth being a major requirement. It is a member only water but at £15 a year its worth buying a permit even to fish for one or two days. Trout average about 6oz but over the years some real surprises turn up with browns in excess of 2lbs. For a permit give the Treasurer Frank Vine - Hall a call on 01524 762048 .

This is just a selection of the excellent fishing available up here in South Cumbria but hopefully it will whet you appetite.

Bob and Vera Carlson Fly Fishing Tuition - GAIC (single Handed) & Level 2 CCA (Game)

Bob and Vera Carlson are fly fishing and casting instructors based in Kendal on the edge of the Lake District. Both are fully qualified anglers with a wealth of experience and are members of the Game Angling Instructors Association and hold the GAIC (single handed) qualification along with a Level 2 Certificate to Coach Angling (Game) and are Angling Development Board licensed coaches.

Bob and Vera specialise in teaching beginners and intermediate anglers to fly fish and they also do  fly casting instruction.

See Bob and Vera Carlson's Fly Fishing Tuition listing for further information.

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