Saturday, 4 February 2012

Ice hole fishing for Trout!

When the water temperature drops below 40 degrees most coarse fish stop feeding. Rather than struggle away on the rivers I like to dust down the fly rod and have a relaxing days fishing for rainbow trout.

I like the fact that you can visit a new stillwater trout fishery with every expectation of catching a few fish on your maiden visit. My stillwater trouting falls into two camps, either fishing big fish waters that offer a chance of a double figure trout, or catch and release waters where I can enjoy a days fishing without  having to stop once the agreed bag limit is reached.

I decided to visit Withern Mill in Lincolnshire, a five lake complex which has the added bonus of half of mile of river holding grayling. I purchased a two fish ticket which enabled me to catch and release once my limit had been reached.

I arrived to find a hard frost and a dusting of snow.  Three of the five lakes were frozen solid and there was a small clear patch on the other two lakes around the inlet pipes. On lake two the ice hole was about twenty yards by ten and perhaps half that on lake five.

The morning was spent trying to catch a grayling on an upstream nymph. Every few casts I had to clear the ice from the rings of my little brook rod. Every time the line stopped I struck, three sticks, loads of weed and a foul hooked stickleback resulted!

After a warming cuppa in the "refreshments shed" I set up my heavier outfit with an intermediate line, tying a white nomad on the end of a twelve foot leader. First cast into lake two, the line tightened and I was into a fish of around two pounds. A couple of casts later I was into a second fish, which came off!

After another warming break in the "refreshments shed" I returned and again first cast everything went solid, I lifted into a powerful fish that went screaming off to my left under the ice. Eventually I managed to net the rainbow which went exactly 7lb on the fishery scales.

Over the next couple of hours I had some more fish in the two pound class before the pull of the river became to strong. I spent the last hour trying in vain for a grayling. The water did have a tinge of colour and maybe that was the reason for my lack of success.

I heard a high pitched peep which was swiftly followed by that sapphire blue flash as a kingfisher flew upstream past me, what a nice ending to the day. With the temperature falling fast I decided to set off for home so that I would be back on the A16 before it was dark. I suspect the ice will claim the rest of the lakes surface overnight and the fish will be left in peace for the next few days.