My last few fishing trips have been to Barnes Lake, but the last trip there, when the fish seemed oxygen deprived and not in great shape, has convinced me to head to pastures new - in this case Bushyleaze at Lechlade. I haven't fished here for a couple of years, but with the recent rain and the promising weather, I was actually quite excited about going there again.
There were a handful of other people there when I arrived around 3:00pm. Not much had been caught since the eraly morning, but some fish were showing at the surface - especially jumpers. I'm never very sure what jumping fish are doing i.e. whether they are feeding or not. But the fact that some of the jumpers were in the 6-8lbs category, does at least keep ones interest up.
Most people seemed to be fishing deep nymphs on fairly rapid retrieves, suggesting to me that I ought to fish nearer the surface and with a slower retrieve. So on goes a "generic" dry fly - in this case a size 12 black hopper - and a dawl bach nymph on point, with a lightly greased leader which would hopefully keep the nymph just a few inches under the surface.
First fish at around 5:00 on the nymph - just under 4lbs. After catching the average Barnes Lake fish, I had forgotten how nice a bigger rainbow could be. Then a couple of takes on the dry, both of which I missed.
By now, I was settled in the bay at the south end of the lake. A nice SW breaze made casting actually rather straightforward for a change. Most of the other fisherman had left by now - its is always remarkable to me why they leave around 6:00pm with the best of the day still to come. Gradually more and more fish start to appear on the surface. More takes on the dry which I missed, then another 4lber on the dry.
A move round to the open swim nearer the car park, and the fish are going crazy. Over the last hour or so I have over 20 takes on the dry (I am fishing two dries by now, then one as it becomes harder to see them). I have one experience that I haven't had happen for over 20 years. A fish takes the dry on the dropper, and a moment later, as the point fly skims across the surface after the first fish, a second fish takes the point. Unfortunately this then fell off. I seem to remember that when you have hooked two fish, you should net the point fish first.
One take breaks the line a moment later (which is when i switched to just one fly). As it gets darker, it is harder to see where I am fishing and whether a rise is to my fly or not. Moving between the two spots and fish continue to take.
By 10:00 it is too dark to see anymore. I have had around 30 takes on the dries, hooked about 15 fish and landed 7 or 8 perhaps. Perhaps the best day trout fishing I have had since I fished Blagdon with John Horsey and we caught over 100, all on dries.
Looking from the south end of the lake - a rare boat angler in the distance