Did Lockdown translate to better fishing in the Summer?

thetrouttickler

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Interesting editorial in T&S this month. Suggests that fishing has generally been exceptional this summer and wonders if it is related to the absence of fishing pressure at the start of the season. Ponders whether fish should have more of a break.

First, is it correct that fishing has been exceptional after the lockdown ended? In my own little world, I haven't noticed anything markedly different.

If we assume the fishing is better, do we place the fish we target under too much pressure?

On that point, I'm noticing many rivers now offer "Winter Grayling" tickets. I'm sure there is a seasoned bunch of ardent grayling anglers out there, but my impression is that this is, in the main, just an excuse to catch trout out of season...

If we think the fishing has been better because the fish have been less pressured, surely we should reconsider the ubiquitous "Winter Grayling" ticket?
 

tierradelfuego

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Much better start to the season on the rivers here, but personally I don't believe it is due to an extra 4 - 6 weeks of no fishing. My recent "good" seasons have been pretty much exactly in line with a wet winter giving better levels and flow rates in the river, and I'm pretty sure that's the reason here, rather than anything to do with lockdown.
 

ejw

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My clubs waters close at the end of the trout season. We are full with members, but few regularly fish ? Nothing exceptional this season, if fact, smaller and fewer fish ? Why ? Poaching, more this year than for many years. As the river is just over the Welsh border, they had it to themselves over lockdown. Poachers do not follow the law, so why wold lockdown stop them. Shame non were caught, but then no punishment if they are.
 

sculpin_crusader

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I think that would be one of the major negatives getting anglers to stay away from the water for a length of time; only the law abiders would follow it and poaching would be rife.

In a mixed trout and grayling waters should the fishing really finish end of December? My club does. Admittedly our trout fishing doesn’t finish until nearly the very end of October and an extension of fishing for winter grayling does depend on catches from the start of the coarse fishing season and only those beats that actually hold grayling can be fished; few grayling = no extension.

But I do fish for grayling beyond the end of the year, coarse fishing sections of the river hold decent stocks of grayling or I’ll head up North to Yorkshire or Derbyshire for a winter grayling fix, although the number of trips is significantly less so than earlier in the season.
 

JohnH

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My own post lockdown fishing in Wessex on 3 chalkstreams, 3 small clear stillwater fisheries and a reservoir was, I would estimate, above average as compared to other recent late springs and summers. Due to lockdown - who knows ? Tempting to think it was, but evidence of correlation isn't necessarily evidence of causation and I think there's something in what tierradelfuego says about the beneficial effect of last winter's rain.

Suspect Andrew Filtcroft's T&S editorial as referred to upthread may stir up a hornet's nest when he speculates that no competition fishing on the big reservoirs in springtime may have been beneficial...

Lastly I think TTT may, with respect, be a bit uncharitable to winter grayling fishing. Of course, it's naive to think targeting out of season trout never happens, but anyone trying that on in front of more experienced grayling anglers is likely to have their fortune told in pretty short order. True winter grayling fly fishing is a minority interest in Wessex so there are unlikely to be large numbers of anglers about much after late November. And my own experience from bait fishing the chalkstreams in winter is that trout catches fall off from about that time as mature browns get into spawning mode. Any trout caught in January and February are most likely to be maiden browns that have not spawned, or rainbows if there are any in the fishery. It's far from rare to catch a mixed bag of grayling and coarse fish but no trout in those early weeks of the year.
 

ohanzee

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I'd say yes, the places I have been where they have said I was the first this year were easy catching, good fish rising feet from the bank etc.
 

thetrouttickler

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Suspect Andrew Filtcroft's T&S editorial as referred to upthread may stir up a hornet's nest when he speculates that no competition fishing on the big reservoirs in springtime may have been beneficial...

Lastly I think TTT may, with respect, be a bit uncharitable to winter grayling fishing. Of course, it's naive to think targeting out of season trout never happens, but anyone trying that on in front of more experienced grayling anglers is likely to have their fortune told in pretty short order. True winter grayling fly fishing is a minority interest in Wessex so there are unlikely to be large numbers of anglers about much after late November. And my own experience from bait fishing the chalkstreams in winter is that trout catches fall off from about that time as mature browns get into spawning mode. Any trout caught in January and February are most likely to be maiden browns that have not spawned, or rainbows if there are any in the fishery. It's far from rare to catch a mixed bag of grayling and coarse fish but no trout in those early weeks of the year.
There was a good winter rainfall last year and when it was raining hard many were saying 2020 would be a good year fishing-wise. I'm sure it was a large factor in chalkstream success (if the consensus is that fishing has been good this year).

I thought AF's comment that the large ressies are all fishing well was interesting. There has been a lot of negative comment about some if not most of them recently on this forum. It will be interesting to see what competition anglers think about the question of pressure and limiting competitions.

As to grayling fishers, only hardy, serious souls will fish through the apex of winter. As soon as prices drop significantly in October there's usually a little bit of a rush on the chalkstreams, and trout are still active then. These chaps seem to have a mostly sheepish look in their eyes ("oh no, not another trout"). ;) I suppose I'm more concerned about the shoulder months of the closed season.
 

atr

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Probably not made a blind bit of difference but we'll never know.The fishing season is short enough without giving the anti's any more reason to shorten the season.Be careful with what you post or what you wish for.
 

thetrouttickler

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Probably not made a blind bit of difference but we'll never know.The fishing season is short enough without giving the anti's any more reason to shorten the season.Be careful with what you post or what you wish for.
Its possible to fish many rivers every day of the year.

I'm not looking to shorten the trout fishing season.

Who are these antis wanting to shorten the trout fishing season?
 

JoeOh

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Hi TTT, with respect, you said that there has been a lot of negative comment about some if not most of them recently on this forum concerning sport on reservoirs this season. I am one who has expressed my concerns at Rutland Water as it is my local fishery, but I can only mention Rutland as I have had no opportunity to fish anywhere else this year. After lockdown, Rutland fished exceptionally well and all the fish I hooked were between 3 and 4.5 lb. But the fishing became harder and the stocks seemed to diminish. Hot weather, fishing only the aerators, banks early morning. But I still have great hopes of contacting some decent fish, if I can book a boat in September!. My concern isn't the slacking of sport or even the minimal stocking ratio at Rutland, it's the worry that Rutland may go the same way as Bewl. Hanningfield etc. I still hope for a reasonably good back end at Rutland and have to live in hope this terrible year. Anyway, I've harped on enough about AWA concerns and wish everyone a good Autumn finish to this most strangest of seasons
 

codyarrow

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Not a blind bit of difference to WBT. If you want to look at things in more general terms I am working more hours now because of lost time at the expense of fishing.
The heat is probably more relevant to how the fishing is at the moment.
 

BobP

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Re people using winter grayling fishing as an excuse to catch OOS trout. This has happened on the Test and there is no excuse for it. One of the upper Test's major grayling waters has had the number of tickets very much reduced on this account. Anglers were even ignoring signs put up warning them to keep away from roped off areas where the trout would soon be spawning.

I arranged for a day's grayling fishing for a few members of my club on another Test fishery that is not normally open to grayling fishing. Despite the most serious instructions from me that trout were to be avoided at all costs and if hooked were to be returned immediately. No photos were to be taken no matter how big the fish was and any trout caught were not to be counted in their catch. Five of us fished; four of them counted every trout and most of them took photos. The typical comment was, " I had a great day. I caught 12 trout and 4 grayling and the biggest trout was over 3lbs. Here's the photo."

I caught 23 grayling and five small and lively browns that were mingling with the grayling pods. Why did I catch so few trout from a river that is packed to the back teeth with them? The grayling like to lie out over the gravel patches between the weedbeds so a careful inspection of those areas to see if a) there were grayling there, and b) were there any trout nearby that could get to the nymph first. If the answer was yes and no I fished. If not I left it alone.

For some reason I have not arranged another day for those members. If they can't be trusted then I won't arrange a special day out for them.
 

arawa

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Most of the Highland lochs I fish see no other anglers. But my trips out this year (far fewer than normal) have resulted in very poor catches by historical standards. In particular, there have been virtually no rising trout - but I doubt I can pin that on CV19!
 

ohanzee

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Most of the Highland lochs I fish see no other anglers. But my trips out this year (far fewer than normal) have resulted in very poor catches by historical standards. In particular, there have been virtually no rising trout - but I doubt I can pin that on CV19!
I was north west at the weekend and fish were rising as they were last time I was there, noted extra frogs and possibly more annoying midges but that might be me getting soft.
 

eddleston123

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I just wonder how many anglers are really fishing for grayling during the trout season.

I suspect this happens a lot on the upper tweed, as everybody and their brother seem to be lobbing a team of tungsten nymphs --- Even when there is a hatch of flies and trout are rising!!



Douglas
 

smallmouth

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How many people prefer to catch grayling instead of trout.
For me they’re equally welcome, it’s the method that matters most to me. But as I prefer to fish dries, (when it’s a reasonable choice), I catch more trout.

I’ve been lucky at times over the years with bigger grayling though, and always find the bigger ones impressive.
 
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