IT’S little wonder my other half was questioning my sanity as I left the house for a spot of trout fishing with the red line on the thermometer firmly stuck on Minus.
But even in those sort of Siberian conditions there are still fish to be caught from many still waters. The one I headed for was the Ellerdine Lakes complex which is made up of four spring fed waters all set in beautiful rural Shropshire farmland.
After more than a week of sub zero nights many nationwide stillwaters were frozen solid however Ed and Jayne Upton – who run this delightful fishery - have a couple of good aerators ticking over during darkness to ensure two of the pools always remain pretty much ice free.
The fishing at Ellerdine had been very good recently with a rod average of nearly 10 fish per angler, bags of over 20 fish and one or two doubles. That was the reason I headed for the venue but would the fish play ball in truly arctic conditions?
By the time I arrived at 10.00am – there’s no point starting any earlier in those conditions - the aerators were doing their job. Most of Meadow Pool, the largest on the complex, was almost ice free and Lakemoor had two areas where a line could be cast. I set two rods up. On the first a long 20ft leader and three nymphs on a floater and on the second a single lure on a short leader again on a floater.
I started on Lakemoor with the floater and an Apps Worm suggested by Ed as the killing pattern. Despite no signs of a fish after 30 minutes the sun came out and it was just a pleasure to be in the countryside. Then a switch to the nymphs and a slow figure of eight brought the first fish of the day a lovely Rainbow of nearly 2lbs.
A move to the Meadow lake – a ticket here allows you to roam around all four waters - and another two rainbows fell to my nymphs fished right on the deck. Again, a slow figure of eight doing the business.
When fishing in cold conditions it’s vital that the body needs fuel which means tucking into something substantial when taking a break from the action – and mine was a triple decker breakfast sandwich for lunch back at the lodge. A quick drink of coffee and I was set up for a move back to Lakemoor – and another brace to the nymphs. The rod rings needed a regular thaw but up until 2.30pm the cold hadn’t hit home. However half an hour later the net was frozen solid and the ice in the rod rings was making casting impossible. The takes dried up and the cold was setting in – a firm signal that it was time to pack in. But five good rainbows fishing in sub zero temperatures and all on a floating line and nymphs was more than acceptable!
It also made me realise how fortunate we are these days thanks to modern commercial trout fisheries using aerators to give everyone the chance of a winter Rainbow in the coldest of conditions. This is something which was unheard of ten years ago. So make the most of fisheries like Ellerdine and support them during the cold weather. A lot of hard work, time and money goes into keeping these lakes ice free.