Are there any guidelines for the best day to go lake fishing?

thetrouttickler

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It costs me £30 each time I go so I want to make sure I stand a decent chance of catching.
Something about this statement caused me to pause. I think any rank beginner is simply motivated by the desire to catch fish, but anyone else who isn't a rank beginner should view what we do as 'fishing' rather than 'catching'. At the very least, your expectations will be in the right place. Furthermore, you will challenge yourself to learn and develop, and enjoy the full experience of fishing, no matter what weather conditions are thrown your way. You will be a better angler for it.
 

Paul_B

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I find it handy to take two rods, one set for dries and one for when fish are feeding deeper, this way I can swap rods far quicker than change flies when the need arises.
 

GEK79

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Thank you all for your replies but I'm still puzzled. In my limited experience of commercial stillwater fisheries it seems to me that if you hit on a day when the fish are feeding, most times one can catch fish on almost anything. If the fish aren't feeding, then no matter what you do, you are unlikely to catch much. This may be right or wrong, but a working hypothesis. So how can I choose the days when fish are feeding? I avoid Mondays as I assume after a busy weekend the fish are wary. But what else can I use to decide whther it is worth going, with only the weather forecast to go by? My feeling is that if the weather forecast is hot, then an early morning trip should see flies hatching from first light to around 8-9am. Too strong a wind could stop the hatch but sub-surface methods may still work early on? If the forecast is cool but sunny with little wind - may not be great at all and to be avoided. If a bit of wind, may still be worth trying? If the forecast is for cool and cloudy, then an all day fishing trip may be on the cards?
Having followed the thread you won't get it right every time.. I agree a warmish cloudy breezy day from the west almost perfect.. I learnt here that if the fish are feeding but won't take your fly then try something different to draw their attention to your fly.. Presentation is important as well.. That leads into tippet and lines and stuff I'm. Not that clued up on..are there any bigger deeper waters you could try.. There is alot of fantastic advice here.. Good luck.. Stay safe..
 

JohnH

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Paul D makes some very good points upthread. Over the next few weeks it will be important to pick your destination as well as time of day and method. In my part of the world, Manningford fishery has 4.5 million gallons of chalkstream water from the infant Wiltshire Avon passing through the main lake each day, and even now fish are quite cool to the touch when caught. So the fishing hangs on well even in summer heat. More generally, we will start getting longer and cooler nights in the second half of this month, and that should kick off better times in September and October.
 

kingf000

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Thank you for the comments and much food for thought. Regarding 'fishing' and 'catching', I'm afraid I don't enjoy 'fishing' all day and catching nothing. It seems to me a total waste of my time. I admit I like to 'catch', as deceiving a fish with a home made/designed fly, playing the fish and having the joy of seeing a fish close up and then seeing it swim off free is what it is all about for me. I don't fish to eat, as I don't like eating trout, so pretty much C&R, apart from the odd fish for the family. I prefer to fish rivers and, on the whole, on the freestone rivers I fish I average about 1 decent fish per hour, often much more. To achieve this I've learnt to avoid certain conditions and use the most appropriate tactics for the day. I would simply like to gain that knowledge for a small lake. For a couple of years I fished a syndicate lake and over that time the catch returns for most of July/August/September were virtually zero, and I'm sure the few fish that were caught never survived the experience, as the lake suffered an approximate 70% mortality rate throughout the year (I'm told about 10% is the norm for a well run fishery). As a consequence, I've switched to the commercial lake as it is spring fed, cooler water and has an aerating system that better preserves the fish. It has a mixture of brown, rainbow, tiger, blue, spartic and golden trout so a good variety. If I find the answers and it gets too easy, I'll probably get bored, give up there and try elsewhere. However, for now I'd like to crack this difficult time of year just for the challenge, as I usually do pretty well the rest of the year. Early in the day, some fish are rising so I would think they should be catchable on dry, and in the afternoon I'm told a damsel or daddy can be quite productive on the lake, but I may also have to consider slow, deep tactics if the majority of fish are down deep in the cooler water.

Once again, thank you all for your contributions.
 

JohnH

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On that sort of fishery at this time of year...if you can see them, stalk them. Can be a very exciting way to catch fish. As above, Charlie Jardine's book contains excellent advice.
 

kingf000

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You are on to something with recognising that the aftermath of busy days on the fishery is best avoided, as I briefly outlined upthread.

Don't fixate on dry fly. It's a wonderful way to catch fish on lakes, but being honest it's a change method. The fish get most of their food subsurface and so that's where you should be fishing most of the time.

Don't fixate on specific weather conditions. In other than extreme heat or extreme cold, you should be able to winkle out a brace....

Suggest you break out the debit card and invest in a copy of this Charles Jardine book. While it dates from the 1990s, it is still on the money as regards English small stillwater fishing. I refer to my copy often.... https://www.amazon.co.uk/Small-Water-Fishing-Charles-Jardine/dp/0713469420/ref=sr_1_3?crid=35E9CRNT5EOMQ&dchild=1&keywords=charles+jardine&qid=1596263073&s=books&sprefix=charles+jardine,aps,162&sr=1-3
Many thanks. I've prised open my wallet and forked out for this. I do have Peter Cockwill's book (2006) but I've exhausted his advice.
 

unclealec

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That's £13.60 you owe me, JohnH. Good secondhand from Amazon. After that massive investment I will soon be delighting my fellow club members with the sound of my singing Rimfly!
 

kingf000

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The Club where I fish spent a considerable time a few years ago collating every scrap of information from the Fishing Log, that every member has to complete on leaving the water.
They collated flies used, area of the reservoir, date, time of day, weather conditions, cross-referenced with stocking figures and fly life observed.
The intention was to advise members of the two best taking times at various points in the season.
The data provided strong evidence, published in the quarterly newsletter, that there were two peak times:

Before you get there; and after you have gone.
Seriously, this would be a very interesting dataset to share. Was the analysis of the data done by a statistician using the latest multivariant analysis methods? Very often, when there are a lot of variables, any correlation can become lost and only appears with the right analysis.
 

unclealec

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Whilst the article that I paraphrased did appear in our club newsletter, I regret to inform readers that it was compiled not by a person wishing to expand our knowledge of the fishing experience but by someone with a similar offbeat sense of humour to my own.
To put it in simpler terms it was an attempt at humour. No such data exists for our water, nor was probably ever compiled.
Apart that is from the evolving and ever-changing personal databank that arrives courtesy of our collective triumphs, disasters, successes, failures, and observations.
 
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taffy1

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No two fishing days are ever likely to correspond, the sunshine may be the same but previous days of rainfall can & most probably will, be of different amounts of how much has been deposited. That means water levels will be different, making water temperatures different. No rain will mean lower water levels & possibly higher water temperatures. There are so many variables. Add into that the wind & the different directions that it's capable of coming from, this can vary many times in a single day.
 

ohanzee

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Regarding 'fishing' and 'catching', I'm afraid I don't enjoy 'fishing' all day and catching nothing. It seems to me a total waste of my time.
When I was a kid and spent another day without catching an old fisher now long gone used say, its not a waste of time, that's you learning.
 

speytime

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I think it's the time of year as mentioned above?
My 1st outing this season I landed 3 in less than ideal conditions, bright and cold with a easterly breeze, later that week it had warmed up it was overcast with a sw breeze 😁
I had one to the boat within 5 minutes then never touched another thing for the next 6 hours of perseverance between a floater, inter and sink 3.
Personally I find stillwater rainbows very unpredictable and affected more by environmental factors, temperature, barometric pressure wind direction whatever?
For my 5/6 visits of 6/7 hours to the club water this year I've only had 8/9 fish in total, I've not fished it for a couple of weeks and I've no incentive to either.

I don't usually count fish on the river bar the memorable ones but I've had more in a day recently than I've had all season from the club water.

Al
 

kingf000

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When I was a kid and spent another day without catching an old fisher now long gone used say, its not a waste of time, that's you learning.
I've heard this said but it isn't much help is it? I always think of the Bismark quote "Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others." So given this, are all anglers fools?
 

ohanzee

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I've heard this said but it isn't much help is it? I always think of the Bismark quote "Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others." So given this, are all anglers fools?
That would suggest anyone that learns through personal experience is a fool? I think not, its a dumb saying.

I see it a bit differently, I can drive 5 hours then walk another couple of hours, then camp and freeze my nuts off for a couple of nights to reach a loch I have never seen, no idea if its full of small fish or that elusive remote water that contains the rare thing I fish for, I may return 3 days later having caught nothing having worked hard for it, but that is part of the longer journey, the challenge I pick and the thing that keeps me going back, a blank is an inevitable consequence of trying the harder but more satisfying challenge.
 

Scotty Mitchell

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The Chironomid pupae, or buzzer, will make up a vast percentage of the diet of a lotbof the Trout you are fishing for. Stick on a buzzer or 2 on as long a flourocarbon leader as you can handle, cast out, and hold on.
 

tangled

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If you fish small, stocked, C&R, stillwaters in high summer you're going to struggle, particularly in the south. Water temperatures and everything that goes with it does for it.

We're misled by the magazines and the photo of success. Sometimes catching a trout is impossible and we need to accept that.

We can change flies, lines and tactics all we like but this time of year it's mostly random. Keep a fly in the water long enough and you might get one but you won't know why.

I suggest golf.
 

BobP

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I've heard this said but it isn't much help is it? I always think of the Bismark quote "Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others." So given this, are all anglers fools?
There is an element of truth in the saying. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, but I would agree that it is a foolish thing to keep making the same mistake repeatedly thinking that sooner or later it would be right. Learning from the mistakes of others is definitely less "painful." Personal experience, though, is a great teacher providing we have the wit to profit from it.

Rainbow trout can be unpredictable. "Moody" is a term I've heard used. What we need to appreciate is that they are a cold water species and once the water temperature gets much above about 16 or 17 degrees they will feed less and will seek deeper and cooler water. Consider, too, that warmer water holds less dissolved oxygen and trout have a high DO requirement. No-one is going to feel much like chasing after something or eating much if they are struggling to breathe. Spring fed lakes, as JohnH has stated further upthread, are a better bet in hot weather, especially if you can work out where the springs are in the lake bed. John is also of the view that trout in small stillwaters act differently to those in larger lakes and reservoirs and experience tends to bear that out.

In general weather terms, the only weather condition I consider to be thoroughly detrimental is a gusty southerly wind and bright sun. This combination truly is the kiss of death.
 

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