The Sneep: In pursuit of wild trout

The Sneep is the area above Allensford Bridge where the Derwent twists and turns its way through a couple of miles of narrow gorges and broken pocket water. Don’t miss this excellent article by Membership Secretary Ian Colborne, who tells the story of some of the wildest trout fishing to be found in the north of England.

The new bridge at Shotley Bridge

At long last, the new footbridge at Shotley Bridge is in place with a grand opening planned for some time in September. We’ll let you know the date as soon as we know ourselves, but in the meantime if you’ve not been down there over the past few weeks, this is what’s been going on. (Many thanks to Neville for the pictures.)

Wild Trout Trust report

The association has recently received the new report from the Wild Trout Trust detailing work we will be carrying out on the river in the near future. This will allow wild trout and grayling to move more freely between the upper and lower Derwent. This work will be funded by the club using the compensation money won by Fish Legal for the pollution of the Derwent in 2009. Any members wishing to get involved in these projects please email us through the website with your details. A PDF copy of the WTT report can be downloaded here.

Work at Ebchester Weir

From 11 July 2011, the weir at Ebchester will be rebuilt and a fish easement added. This will cause some colouration to the waters below the weir but we hope the effect will be minimal. However, if any member sees anything too amiss, please contact the club through the website.

Seniors Competition 2011 results

Congratulations to the 28 members who fished the 2011 Seniors Competition at Derwent Reservoir on 26 June. Victorious on the day with a bag of 14lb 10oz was Craig Oliver, with Lee Wilkinson taking second place with a total of 13lb 12oz, followed by last year’s winner, Gordon Swain, with a 12lb bag. Heaviest fish of the day was a belting 4lb 6oz rainbow caught by Rob Fowkes.

Conditions on the day were not in the fly angler’s favour, and talking to some wormers nor theirs either. The strong westerly wind blowing straight on to the favourite spot of Cronkley Meadow made this unfishable. A few hardy souls fished the Deeps, enduring a strong side wind, and fishermen travelled the perimeter of the reservoir looking for a mark out of the wind.

As usual though there were plenty of fish caught, with some putting four on the bank. A few members forgot the sun cream and suffered that night, not to mention being on the receiving end of a lecture from the wife about sun reflecting off water! But, as they say, it’s not just about catching fish but the taking part, and the craic is always worth it at the weigh-in.

Thanks to Don Coe at Northumbrian Water and to Laurence at Ultimate Fishing for his ever generous support with the prize table.

Lost: two fly boxes

I was fishing on the 24th June, first at Crooked Oak (Black Pool area) and after at Ebchester and I managed to lose two small (but treasured) aluminium clip fly boxes, one with small dry and one with small wet flies. Please contact me directly or email me through the site if you find them. I would be most grateful.

Thank you

Paul Roberts

Tel: 0191 285 6592

Fish win prizes

Just a reminder that the biggest fish caught on the river so far this season is a brown trout weighing 2lb 8oz from Shotley Bridge. So if you catch a bigger one, please weigh it in with club officials (names and numbers on the back of your licence). Biggest fish caught so far by a junior is a 2lb 1oz brown trout.

Winners will win a free club licence for the following season!

2011: the season so far

June has arrived and with very little rain until the last few days the river has been low but fishing very well. It’s at times like these that the minimum compensation water flow from the Derwent Reservoir is vital, as other rivers are really suffering and need rain and lots of it (words you don’t often hear in the North East!).

The early season Olive hatches were truly outstanding, giving excellent sport on unusually mild spring days. This was quickly followed by the biggest hatch of Hawthorn flies I have ever witnessed. These flies hatch on land but end up on the water in their thousands as they are pretty lousy flyers and even worse navigators and the fish swiftly lock on to them.

The Mayfly season was a little hit and miss depending on the time of day, but seemed more extensive in the wild trout area of the Derwent above Allensford.

Fish on the wild side
I would encourage members to explore the upper regions of the river as the scenery and wild life are outstanding. The fish may not be big but they are plentiful and canny little fighters and involve an entire different approach to catch them. The trick is to fish the pocket water, in front of or behind large rocks; if you think it could hold a fish, it probably will. The most useful method is fishing New Zealand style, or ‘klink and dink’ as some call it. If you’re not sure what this method involves, I will try to explain, so here goes:

Take between four and eight feet (whatever you’re comfortable with – experiment to see what works) of leader (tapered if you wish but not essential), add a dropper 16 to 18 inches from the end of the tippet and attach your Klinkhammer. Then add a beaded nymph of approximately size 16 to 18 (the size will to some extent depend on what your Klinkhammer can support). Good patterns for this are hares’ ears, pheasant-tailed nymphs and, of course, the Mary.

Alternatively, put the Klink on the point and tie 12 to 16 inches of tippet off the bend of the Klink’s hook to allow the nymph to hang below the dry fly.

Now add floatant to the Klink and flick the flies into fast water, wherever you find it. Look for the back eddies and seams between fast and slow water as fish don’t waste energy; use tungsten beads on nymphs if you want to go deeper. Try different colour beads – copper, silver, gold and black. In fact, try any colour – if it works, make loads and drop a few off to me!

It’s all about experimentation and what works for you but remember it’s wild and difficult going, especially in the Derwent gorge (The Sneep) so take someone with you or at least tell someone where you’re going in case you have an accident because if you break an ankle up there you might as well be half way up Everest, with no phone signal and no one to hear you scream. So be safe.

The Klink and dink method is also deadly throughout the entire length of the river when fishing warm summer days as big fish will hold in the fast water as it’s where the food and oxygen is.

Guided days
The club’s membership secretary has in the past taken members to these wild areas and anyone who has been along on one of these trips will know all about his skill and experience, which are second to none. Ian is still happy to take full members and day ticket holders out but will now charge £25 for a half day and £50 for the full day. If you wish to understand the area and how to fish it safely, it’s money well spent.

The reason for the cost is that Ian takes holidays and time off work to able to guide members and in the current economic climate needs to at least partially replace that loss of income.

Ian recently took Will Rundle from Fish Legal to fish on the wild side and he commented: “I normally count the fish I catch but today I did not, I was so engrossed in the fishing and the scenery and hanging on to the advice given by Ian who was an excellent guide and companion for the day.” For an idea of the experience, see www.derwentangling.co.uk/charity-day-on-the-river-for-grace-house.

Anyone wishing to fish on the wild side should contact Ian on 01207 591454 to book a place.

Stocking
The river has now received its second of three stockings and these fish have proved excellent sport and are rising freely to a well presented dry fly.

Senior competition
The senior competition this year is on 26 June (see www.derwentangling.co.uk/senior-competition-2011 for more details) and I look forward to seeing you there. There are prizes for first, second and third places as well as for the biggest fish, so come along, have some fun and meet your fellow members.

Club hats and clothing with new logo
The club have recently placed an order for baseball caps, polo shirts and sweat shirts with the club logo on them. The quality of these garments is much improved since the last garments we had made so don’t miss out. Pictures of these items will soon be on the website to view will be sold to members at cost. For orders and to find out what’s available, call John Douglas on 01207 500 314.

Wild Trout Trust
The association have recently received the new report from the Wild Trout Trust detailing work we will be carrying out on the river in the near future. This will allow wild trout and grayling to move more freely between the upper and lower Derwent. This work will be funded by the club using the compensation money won by Fish Legal for the pollution of the Derwent in 2009. Any members wishing to get involved in these projects please email us through the website with your details. A copy of the WTT report will be added to the website soon.

Enjoy
If there are any club members who are not already on the mailing list and who would like to be, please sign up at www.derwentangling.co.uk/mailing-list so we can keep you all up to date with competitions and guest speakers. We promise not to fill your mailbox up with junk and it goes without saying that we won’t be selling your email address to anyone either. We won’t be mailing you very often either, probably no more than a few times a year.

Enjoy the rest of the season and remember if you catch a decent fish, let us know as nothing has been weighed in yet for the biggest fish!

Alan Farbridge, Club Secretary

Could you fly fish for England?

Are you between 12-16 years old (on 31st August 2011)? Do you want to represent the North East region and then England in fly fishing? Would you like to be coached by some of the best flyfishers and coaches including well-known internationals Simon Robinson and Scott Nellins and former England Youth team members Carl Malpass and Josh Felton.

The Angling Development Board will be hosting a regional selection event to find the most talented game anglers that have the ability to go on and represent the North East in regional competitions and ultimately to fish for the England Youth Flyfishing Team.

The initial event will cost £5 per entry; this includes your fishing permit.

Date: Wednesday 22nd June 2011
Event: Trout Fly Fishing
Venue: Witton Castle Lakes, Bishop Auckland, Durham, DL14 0DE (further instructions to follow upon registration)

Time:
Registration 17.00-17.30
Draw 17.30-18.00
Fishing 18.00-21.00
Closing 21.00-21.30

Contact: Graham Robinson (event coordinator) 0775 9431731

Junior Competition results

Congratulations to all who took part in yesterday’s Junior Competition in what turned out to be some challenging weather conditions. Undoubtedly man of the day though was Connor Metcalfe, who not only had the heaviest bag, with four fish for 6lb, 11oz, but who also had the biggest fish of the day with a fine 2lb, 1oz brownie. In second place was Sam Currie, with an excellent four fish for 5lb, 8oz, and in third Daniel Lamb whose four fish for 4lb, 9oz just edged out Cameron Tait with four for 4lb, 8oz. Congratulations too to Joshua Stewart, who caught the second biggest fish of the day, a cracking two-pounder, which just missed out on the heaviest fish prize by one ounce!

It is very much to the credit of everyone who took part that all who fished weighed in, with 17 anglers weighing in a total of 45 fish for a rod average of 2.6 fish each.

As ever, we’d also like to thank our sponsors for their generous support, so hats off to Lawrence Hawley of Ultimate Fishing Supplies, Don Coe at Northumbrian Water, and Dyer Engineering, and to John Douglas for the catering.

Roll on the Seniors!

Pictured L-R: Connor Metcalfe, Daniel Lamb, Sam Currie and Cameron Tait