Rutland, however you may look at it, is a huge vast amount of water, and get it wrong and it can seem a lonely place at times. Early season stock fish are released in the same areas year in, year out, and this only starts to vary, once the water levels drop, and access becomes a problem, therefore you can get the odds heavily on your side from the off, if you know where to look ! I am about to tell you where !
We set our first drift, 80yds just off the left of the mouth of Whitwell Creek(North Shore). I had both of my guests fishing on a booby basher line, and my reasoning is that it doesn't hang around getting down, and for me, its the perfect starter for early season from a boat, and especially after a sharp frost that morning.
Within 10 minutes we hit our first fish, fishing a single humungous lure.
This was soon followed by another 2. Whitwell Creek is a main early season stocking point.(where the Rutland Belle boat is moored) and the fish are going to be in the area, somewhere, so numerous drifts in the area is the way forward to locate them. They can be up to 80yds out, if the water depth is up to 12-15', right into the shore ! Recently stocked fish do tend to stay within 8 -12' of water so following shore lines is a very good start, especially banks with the wind bowing into them !
We moved from here to Fantasy Island(south shore corner of the dam) another known early season stocking area. Here the fish tend to hang off the dam wall, or run along the Normanton shore line. After several drifts into the corner of the dam, we never moved a fish, so we edged our way along the Normanton shore, still fishing the booby basher and single humungous lures.
As we approached the vicinity of the 'blue pipes' our lines started tightening, just 20 yards off the shore. We had certainly bumped into a good head of fish here!
My number one approach to find the early season fish, is two flies on a 16' leader. The first 6' from the fly line, thus getting deep, and my 2nd fly on the end, 10' away.(a good space is recommended as to not spook the fish) My fly choice is a Tequila Blob, and Tequila Booby, and absolute unbeatable pairing, and so it proved once more !!
We moved from here after landing 6 fish, into Church Bay, starting in front of the harbour wall, drifting towards the church. Both guests still on a booby basher, one fishing a Tequila booby and blob, and the other fishing a Tequila blob, and Biscuit/yellow fab on the point. It was fish after fish action right the way through the drift. (Wychwood Ghost Mode 10lb flurocarbon was used all day) One key point was to "hang" your flies. My two guests took 3/4 of there fish on the hang. Stop the flies 2' short of the surface, hold them still for 10 seconds, and you will be amazed how many times your rod will bend over.
The key was getting the flies deep, and quickly. As one of my guests thought slowing up by switching to a di5 would be better, I let him proceed, only to see him switch back within 10 minutes as his friends catch rate was doubling his, and more, since he changed. It was common sense. The fish were deep, though only in 12' of water, but being moved along in a fresh breeze, the di5 simply didn't get the flies where they needed to be quick enough, therefore fishing the flies higher in the water !
Another known early season fish holding spot is the Sailing Club bay, as the fish are released easily here from the concrete ramps that allow the sailing boats to enter the water. My hunch was right, as we went on to land 5 fish in the bay.
It was a bonanza day, with 10's of fish landed, and all safely returned.(Barbless hooks used all day, and as it was me that netted and released them, only 3 had to be handled briefly)
With my 38 years of fishing Rutland, there are a list of places I would visit to locate the fish, and here they are - Whitwell Creek, The Finches(North Arm), Stockie Bay to the dam, Fantasy Island, Blue Pipes(Normanton shore) Church Bay, Lodge Front, Sailing Club Bay, Old Hall Bay, Yellow Stone. You are guaranteed to find fish in at some of these areas, so plan your day, work out a length of time at each area, to make sure you get around the lake. Like we did, until we reached Church Bay, where it became obvious we had bumped into a large head of fish, indicated by the long 100yd drift we kept picking up fish.
Don't forget to hang your flies !!
Copy the links to see the flies used. If you would like a guided days fishing on Rutland/Grafham/ orPitsford water, then simply email me at email@example.com expressing your interest.
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