Rutland & Pitsford Delivers Quality Fish On Dries

Posted by Craig Barr on

The days of 30 fish + to the boat are fast diminishing, as normal reservoir fishing resumes at our biggest waters. The pre-season stocks are now well spread out across the water, and added stocks, with the warmer water in the margins are now, in most cases, moving right out into deeper water. 

The fish are now feeding naturally on the abundant food sources, buzzers, shrimp, daphnia, pin fry, snails etc. There is a lot here for the fish to feed on, so the pulling of lures is naturally less effective, as a more natural fly approach is needed to catch the fish. With this approach, I find the better fish are now more catchable too, as we found out !

My first day out this last 10 days was with Martin Pick on Rutland. We were faced with an almost flat calm, bright sun, not everyone's favourite conditions! When the fish are on the pin fry, I relish this challenge, as they are catchable !

Martin nails this pin fry feeder near Yellowstone, his personal best. Martin fished a floating line and a Flash Attack pin fry diawl bach.

We fished with a team of diawl bachs on a floating, or midge tip line all day, landing around 16 fish. The pin fry feeders you will notice have no real direction when moving, as they go from one direction to another, however what I find is they do tend to move in a tight area for the first few moments, so when a fish moves within distance, cast your flies exactly where the fish showed, without putting your fly line across the fish. Get your line tight immediately, and keep everything STILL ! The line may yank tight within seconds so you need to be ready. I recently fished a competition on Rutland, and 3 out of my 9 fish catch on day 1 took the fly less that 2 seconds after the fly landed, having covered a moving fish - staying alert immediately is essential, or the chance could be gone, as quick as it came!

The Sailing Club Bay is a renowned pin fry fish holding area, so I new at some point during the day we would pay it a visit.

Though a little green, the fish, as I expected, were still there, marauding around after the pin fry.

Martin took 3 fish here in very quick succession.

My next trip was to Pitsford Reservoir, with local angler Wayne Coleman. A quick call to the lodge a few days before, told me all I needed to know - pin fry feeders was high on the menu.

The weather, us anglers would call perfect, over cast nice breeze and mild - but would the fish agree?

We headed to my favourite spot, the shallows by the dam(left side). Set up was floating lines and a team of my favourite pin fry fish catching diawl bach flies. As we neared the metal post in the water, I spotted a pin fry feeder 20 yards in front. 1 quick cast and I was on it, and just like Rutland, 3 or 4 seconds later, the fish was on too!

It has to be said, the pin fry feeders were few and far between, as several drifts yielded just this one fish.

We headed out into much more open water, some 300 yards off the dam, and drifted in in the NW wind. Wayne decided to put a booby on his cast, and it soon became very apparent this was bringing the fish up, as he was getting a lot of interest in the booby.

This couldn't be ignored, so I soon changed, but just to a single size 12 jelly fritz booby with small eyes. It became apparent that though Wayne was getting a LOT of action, the fish were chasing, more than hooking up at this point. The smaller, and smaller eyed booby would dig into the surface more allowing the fish to actually get hold of it - and it worked a treat ! The bigger eyed booby was crashing along on the surface, and the fish were happy to chase it, but if you watched closely, they couldn't get hold of it, where as with the smaller booby, it was actually coming along JUST under the surface, and boy, did this make a difference !

We picked up some good fish, but it has to be said there a was a good head of stock fish in the area too.

As the day pressed on I switched onto a dry fly set up, Red Midas, and a brown foam daddy. It wasn't long until, almost in slow motion, a fish rolled over the Red Midas on the dropper.


As the evening wore on, the fish became more and more adventurous with our flies on the surface, and the excitement in the boat intensified too, as we were both guilty of striking a little to early at times !!

Wayne was determined to nail one on the daddy, and he soon did..

The combination of popping a booby through the surface, and fishing a dry daddy, helped us to land 20+ fish to the boat for the day.

Next up was Rutland(30th June). Having just come off on the back of 4 days on Rutland fishing the Airflo Invitational match, I knew the fishing was at best, steady. You needed to work for them, but the natural approach was by far the best plan of attack.

The weather was perfect, starting sunny, but soon overcast, warm and a 10mph NW wind. It was screaming "dry flies" so with this in mind we both set up on floating lines, with a brown foam daddy on the point, and a big red dry on the dropper.

We headed to the Green Bank, where I had heard there was a head of good feeding fish. It was not long until I hit into a fish on the daddy.

Followed very soon by Gary

We stuck on dries all day, and landed 12 fish. This may not seem many for a days fishing, but if I was to say all but one was between 3-4 lb, this for me, beats any numbers you care to think about with stock fish. 

It was a case of sticking with it....the fishing has settled, some would say, gone harder, however sit it out, wait, and every now and then a fish will head and tail over your fly. We landed 12, and probably missed nearly as many, for what was overall a cracking days fishing, with some cracking fish.

Many fish are still tight in to the shores, where there is a huge abundance of food available. The quality fish are not daft, and more often than not, it is these fish in close feeding. A quiet approach is essential, as the water is very often shallow, and still very clear.

Our set up for Rutland was 8lb ghost mode flurocarbon, 12' leader, a Big Red on the dropper, and a Brown Foam daddy on the point, switched to a single cul from time to time.

Follow the links below to see all the flies that I use to catch the pin fry feeders, and the brown foam daddy used to catch over 15 fish between Rutland and Pitsford.

Want a current fish catching selection of flies, including all the flies I have used this last 10 days? Email me at  12 flies in total just £12.00 inc post !


The fishing has not been "easy" as such, but fish the right flies, in the right area, add some patience, and you should catch fish. Its not the time of year to necessarily move move and move again, but just pick a big area of water, and just fish.

Tight lines



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