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Fly Fishing Europe - Rutland Water: UK Mecca for Fly Fishers

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Laurent Guillermin and a big Rutland rainbow trout Laurent Guillermin and a big Rutland rainbow trout

"When I get out of the car in the parking lot of Rutland Water, the vision of this immense lake dedicated to fly-fishing makes me smile, and despite the mild weather in May, is uniquely a British experience." Our roving fly fishing reporter Laurent Guillermin reaches English shores this month with a pilgrimage to Rutland.

A trip to the shop and the excellent Robbie Winram gives me some valuable information about fishing at this time of year. Boat drifting seems rather prolific with a DI8 line and a leader that combines boobies and nymphs such as the famous Cruncher or Diawl Bach. But in some sheltered bays like Dickensons, nymph fishing with a midge tip line can also make the difference. As this information is along the same lines as those sent by my friend Gareth Jones who will join us tomorrow, I am quite happy and confident for the 3 days of fishing ahead.

Field and Fish vestRutland Water is Anglian Water's drinking water reservoir in the county of Rutland, England, just east of the county town of Oakham. It was known as Empingham Reservoir during its construction and until its official opening in 1976. The 3500 acres provide a reserve supply of water in the driest and most densely populated quarter of the United Kingdom and is one of the largest artificial lakes in Europe. We got into a boat which was perfectly clean and well equipped and headed toward the dam where the concentrations of nice trout are very important in this period.

With the help of Christian who teamed with me today, we put the drogue out that will slow our drift as the wind is strong enough to need it today. Barely 10 metres of drift and a violent take tears the line from my hands. It is a beautiful fish that fights like a devil. A superb rainbow trout that must weigh at least seven pounds. Great start! The trout took a small black booby with yellow eyes, the French version of a classic that will do plenty of damage during this stay in the British Isles. Once the fish in the net it shows 68 cm, what I consider a good start.

Brown trout from RutlandSecond drift and now Christian takes two trout in quick succession on a coral fly and a “Tequila” booby (orange and yellow). I like fishing with four flies and I placed two “Cruncher” nymphs between my black and coral boobies and they give me several takes on the following drifts. It is simple - every time our boat was about 100 meters from the opposite shore, right in front of a large hedge of poplars, catches followed with a nice pace and we kept our smiles despite the rain that hits our shoulders and the strong wind. I ended up the day with sixteen fish and ten for my boat partner. A good days boat fishing!

The next day we are joined by my friend Gareth Jones of Airflo, a lake fishing specialist, and we decide by mutual agreement to fish in the same boat. Gareth knows the Rutland waters like the back of his hand because he has participated in and won many competitions on this reservoir. We will fish much of the day with HD sinking lines. But floating line and buzzer imitations will also prove a formidable weapon in some wind sheltered bays and margins like “The Finches”.

Gareth JonesRutland water is a wonderful reservoir with the ability to take a stock rainbow or brown trout and grow it onto specimen proportions. Gareth the lake specialist will far exceed my score in number but in size the advantage comes back to me with several fish over 8 pounds fighting like hell down the line. To tell you the truth I am also used to lake fishing because I have been a competitor in the first division of the French championship for a long time. But I have rarely seen trout as combative and powerful. These fish obviously learn to feed perfectly naturally which could explain their power. Moreover, Robbie Winram told me that a new species of shrimp has appeared into the lake, which is to the delight of trout obviously! (Not the Killer Shrimp associated with Grafham apparently but another invasive called the Bloody Red Mysis Shrimp - Ed).

The last day was the same, good trout on the bottom and excellent fishing on floating and intermediate lines. I loved fishing near Normanton Church where a wedding was celebrated while I was guiding my thirteenth trout into my landing net! A sign of destiny or luck, I do not know. However I already scheduled a trip on this beautiful lake in next October to enjoy some great fishing days with the fry feeders. I was told that big brown trout can be caught at this period of time and I will not miss it!

My fly fishing tackle for Rutland:


Laurent Guillermin

Laurent Guillermin is a French reporter and photographer. Laurent’s images and articles have appeared in a great number of fishing magazines in France and Europe. He’s also well-known in the small fly tying “world” and has commercial patterns tied by Easy Fly. He has traveled all over the world as a reporter and is considered as an expert fly fisher for trout, grayling, pike, carp, sea bass, bonefish and permit. “Every time you go out fishing you can have a different experience. That’s what it’s all about!”

You can contact him on lgfishing@orange.fr

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