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

Senior Competition 2011

This year’s competition will be held at the Derwent Reservoir on Sunday 26 June and is open to all current senior members of the Association are welcome to attend. Competitors are asked to assemble at 8am in the car park outside the lodge to commence fishing at approx 8.30am and return for weigh-in at 4pm. There is no need to reserve a place – just turn up on the day.

There are some extremely fancy prizes to be won this year, courtesy of Laurence at Ultimate Fishing Supplies, so don’t miss out.

Please bring your current DAA licence as this will allow you to fish the concessionary ticket at the reservoir.

Junior Competition 2011

The Junior Competition will be held this year on Saturday 14 May at the weir at Shotley Bridge. The competition is free to enter for all junior members and everyone will receive a prize.

There’s no need to register – just meet at the car park next to where the iron bridge used to be at 8am, with the competition starting at 9am. With any luck, there may even be a new bridge in place by the time of the competition!

Parents are encouraged to attend.

Good luck to all who enter!

Found a net?

If you were the angler who picked up the landing net on the river today (Sunday), could you drop us a line via the contact page on the site so that we can reunite it with its owner!

Thanks

Ticked off

As we dust off our waders for the new season, it’s worth bearing in mind that as the trout start thinking about a bite to eat, then so do some other rather less pleasant characters. According to the Health Protection Agency, up to 3,000 people contract Lyme disease (Borreliosis) from the bite of an infected tick each year in the UK.

Tick Bite Prevention Week, which runs from 11-17 April, is an annual programme which helps promote awareness of tick-borne diseases and effective tick bite prevention for at-risk groups, ie, people who spend a lot of time outdoors, like anglers. A dedicated website has been launched offering advice on what to do if bitten and how to stay protected in the warmer months at www.tickbitepreventionweek.org.

As they used to say on Hill Street Blues… Let’s be careful out there.

AGM 2011

Another year of fishing the River Derwent is at an end and I hope all members enjoyed fishing our little river. I would like to thank all members of the committee for their efforts over the last 12 months. As the 20010 season ended I looked at a difficult year for the Association but as always, Ian [Colborne, membership secretary] and I continue to enjoy the honour of being club secretaries of the Derwent Angling Association.

As always the AGM is vital to the running of this Association as it lets members meet and discuss their concerns with members of the committee. Last year’s AGM was well attended and on behalf of the committee I thank all who came and all who are attending today.

The Nissan game fair was an excellent day where we promoted the club among the fishing community. It was nice to see other clubs asking for advice and of course when we saw good practice we were not shy in gathering information.
We hope to have a guest evening with a world class and widely respected fisherman. Once dates are confirmed we will add them to the website.

To help with habitat restoration and to improve the quality of fishing for members, we will be asking for help from both The Grayling Society and the Wild Trout Trust. This, we hope, will involve a riverbank workshop where we will gain hands-on experience in creating both up- and downstream groins and scour pools.

The committee will contact The Grayling Society to get expert information to improve the depleted grayling stocks on the river and what we as an Association can do to improve the habitat for these wonderful fish. Getting hold of grayling to stock the river with has taken us up one dead end after another and we hope the Environment Agency support us in our endeavours.

I’m sure many of you have visited the club website and I would like to thank attendant member John Adair for his hard work and commitment in keeping it up to date. Anyone wishing to have articles or pictures added to the site please contact john through the site.

Also any members who have not given us their email addresses, could you please do so by putting it in the book provided or contact John through the website. This will allow us to keep you up to date with club business and guest speakers and the like.

The Association wishes to thank Jon Barnes for his demonstration of fishing French leaders which took place last summer. This was well attended and Jon has now shot videos of other techniques that can be viewed on the club website and on YouTube. Members wishing to be river watchers, could you please contact me at the end of the meeting?

We will also be taking names of members wishing to help with river bank maintenance in the coming year.

Junior competition
The junior competition was once again a massive hit with our junior membership and I would like to thank all who helped on the day. 27 young anglers caught 66 fish, with Josh Etheridge taking first place with a 6lb 1oz bag, followed closely by Sam Currie with 5lb 15oz, and in third place, Jonathan Swift with 5lb 14oz. The biggest fish of the day was caught by Arron Merritt with a bonny brownie of 1lb 15oz.

The sponsors of the competition deserve praise for their help in obtaining prizes handed out on the day. These were:

•    Lawrence Hawley of Ultimate Fishing Supplies
•    Hardy Greys
•    Don Coe at Northumbrian Water
•    AMH Angling, Anfield Plain

Senior competition
The senior competition was well attended and the Derwent Reservoir as usual proved to be a tough nut to crack. Results were as follows:

1) Gordon Swain
2) Chris Hope
3) Andrew Coates

And I came fourth – always the bridesmaid and never the bride!

The 2009 pollution incident
After an extremely long and stressful case I am happy to announce that a settlement has been reached with Northumbrian Water that will allow the club to re-stock the river and improve the habitat for spawning wild trout and grayling. The compensation, as reported, amounted to nearly £20,000, which has been ring-fenced to improve the affected area of the river.

I would like to thank all those who contributed, especially Will Rundle of Fish Legal. Without his expert help we would have been at a loss what to do. The Association is a member of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal is now part of the Trust and I would encourage all members to join on an individual basis. Visit their website for more information.

As I’m sure many of you are aware, the river went without its final stocking at the end of last season. The reason for this was unavoidable as our supplier, Bob Booth of Welham Park Trout Farms, suffered a heart attack and was unable to supply us with the fish. Bob has recovered well and will be supplying our fish for the upcoming season.

New members
Any members who have friends wishing to join the Association could you please contact Ian as soon as possible as we have limited vacancies for the upcoming season. Contact Ian tonight or on 01207 591 454

I hope you all have an enjoyable 2011 season and continue to fish The Derwent with us.

Alan Farbridge, Secretary, Derwent Angling Association

Derwent goes barbless from 2011-2012

Following discussion at this year’s AGM, it was agreed that from this season onwards, all hooks are now to be barbless. (Crimped down barbs are acceptable.)

We would also like to remind members that the wild trout area above Allensford is all catch and release and that all grayling are to be returned. We’d also be very grateful if anyone who does catch any grayling could let us know through the website.

Many thanks and good luck for the coming season

New season permits now in

Club members wishing to renew their membership for the coming season may now pick up their new permits at the Post Office at Shotley Bridge. The fee for membership this year is £50 for seniors and £21 for juniors.

Prospective members should email Membership Secretary Ian Colborne. There is currently a short waiting list for senior membership.

Don’t forget: you must have an Environment Agency rod licence before you fish. You can buy your rod licence from your local Post Office, who would certainly appreciate the business, or online from the EA website.