Sunday, 10 April 2011

Arctic Char in a Heatwave

Arctic char are normally found in the glacial lakes of Scotland, the Lake District and North Wales and prefer cold water.

A Hampshire fish farmer has recently gained consent to stock arctic char. Woodington Trout Fishery near Romsey was the first to stock this rare fish.

The weatherman forecasted the warmest day of the year, bright sunshine with temperatures more akin to July than April. I arrived at 7am, the fishery opening time as I expected sport to be over by mid morning.

The lake where the char have been stocked is the Spring Lake, my problem was to locate the outnumbered char and avoid the rainbow trout. At least the bright sunshine meant that visibility was good in the clear water,  I soon found a group of twelve char in a corner of the lake, sheltering under a mat of algae.

I managed to lose three fish in a row as they threw the hook, one was definitely a rainbow. The next cast produced a solid take and my first char of 2lb 10oz was soon on the bank. After resting the swim and enjoying a brew whilst watching a buzzard circling overhead,  I returned to the cor
ner for a slightly smaller fish. A cats whisker nomad fished deep on a steady retrieve accounted for both char.

My ticket allowed me to catch and release on the other lakes but my heart wasn't really in it, so after limited success on nymphs and dry fly I packed up after a late lunch.