Rutland's Early Season Hot Spots, Lines, & Flies

Posted by Craig Barr on

 So, the big day looms –   Known as the “Midlands’ Mecca”, Rutland Water opens  tomorrow, since “lock down” struck last November.

This 3000+ acre reservoir can be daunting to the first time visitor, and even those who fish it maybe several times a month! For me, Rutland offers it all, a sense of wilderness, a challenge, and hit it right, world class fishing.

So, where do you start on a lake so big? I will tell you the known areas, drifts, recommended lines, and suggested flies to use for the opening months right here and now….

The water is full of fish, after many stocked fish at the back end of last season, hardly saw a fly. Rumour has it a fair few fish more than normal, have gone in pre-season too!

The April hot spots year on year are normally the following places, East Creek to the dam wall, that’s the sailing yauchts(turn left out of the lodge harbor) to the dam wall, bottom of the reservoir – this gives you approximately 1.5 miles of fishing.

Whitwell Creek to Sykes Lane – Positioned on the North Shore fished right up  to the dam wall.

Cardiac Hill to Dickinson’s Bay – This is down the North Arm, the large grassed hill on the right hand side, ½ way down the North Arm. Fish from this bank, travelling down the arm to where you meet the large Bay, Dickinson’s Bay, on your right. Fish the bay from the point, and into it, right to the bottom right hand corner, up to the trees.

Directly opposite this bay, on the opposite bank, (across the lake)you have the Finches, Savilles Travels, down to Armley Wood(heading out of the Arm now) – All along this bank, usually holds plenty of fish early season too.

As you come out of the North Arm, heading towards the South Arm, opposite the Normanton Church, this grassed bank, until it bends round to the South Arm into Spud Bay, is also a spot worth checking out, on your way round to the South Arm.

Moving now up the South Arm, on your right hand side, you’re in the area known as “Yellow Stone” (Look out for the blue P buoy) This whole shore line, as you come round from the North, right up to the next big point, where the woods meets the water(Old Hall Flats) is well worth a drift,. and early season fish holding area(K Buoy).

Beyond “k” buoy, still on the right, you are faced with a big bay, often sheltered by the large woods(to your right) This is Old Hall Flats/Bay. Right into the top right hand corner, and to the bays Point (looking for the Old Hall house) is well worth a visit at this time of the year.

My last place I’d suggest is well worth a look is, the Sailing club bay(behind the yachts  themselves) right up to the trees in the corner.

So there you have it, these are the areas I will be looking to fish myself on my 3 days afloat this week. Stocking points are situated in the vicinity of all above mentioned places, and early season the fish tend not to be far away year on year !

A key fact to mention is, you really don’t want to be starting long drifts, the fish will not be too far out, often within on 50 yards of any bank, especially this time of year. Obviously there will be fish further out and deeper, but these will be much harder to locate, and maybe tempt, so early on in the year.

The banks are likely to be busy, right into the month of May, so try to find a shore line where you can drift close to the shore, and not interfere with bank anglers – there is plenty of room, and places. With the wind forecast to be Northerly this next few days, prime fishing along the Normanton shore could be very good indeed as the wind will be blowing into this shore, holding the fish there.

Now, what lines to use. You will be looking to be fishing in 15’ of water and inwards to the shore, this is the normal dept of water you’ll find the fish are sitting in at this time of year (you won’t find this 100m out from the shore in most places!) I Would expect to be using 3 lines this next 3 days, from a di-5(maybe a 7) to a midge tip line, including the di-3 line. These 3 lines are guaranteed to bring results. Depending on wind speed, the DI-7 or DI-5 in 15’ of water will allow me to get my flies down to the fish quickly, as you need to remember you could be drifting quite quickly, so may need to get the flies down quick, if drifting into the shore. If you are drifting along the shore line, then the di-3/5could be more beneficial, as there will not be the need to bring the line in so quick, thus allowing a slower retrieve, getting your flies down too. If the wind is light,  up to 9mph, then a midge tip line and buzzers could be electric this time of year(remember we are starting 3 weeks later than normal, so buzzers will now be there!)

Hopefully a picture will now be building of where to fish, and what lines you may need to hand, to fish this large expanse of water for the first weeks, and maybe beyond.

So we have the known areas, the suggested lines, now the tricky bit – what flies to use! There are thousands of flies to choose from, but truth be known is, when all of our large waters open, there are thousands of fresh stocked fish, so they are not normally too fussy to be honest. Saying that, get the right conditions, they could be hard on buzzers, and granted, you will catch a lot on lures etc, but buzzers could even out fish those, given the right conditions.

Black and green flies are always a good early season bet, orange bead, yellow bead and gold bead, will all score well. Small boobies, Cat Boobies, Woofter Boobies, Black & Green boobies, Tequila boobies, the list is endless. Then you have blobs, orange, tequila, sunburst and black being hot early season regulars.  The same patterns as fabs(foam arsed blobs) too, will also catch plenty.


A combination of a blob on the top dropper, a cormorant in the middle, and a booby on the point will score as well as anything really. If the water is gin clear, then two flies would suffice on a 18’ leader.

As with boobies, blobs and fabs, there are hundreds of buzzer patterns too. My go to early season favourite is the crisp packet buzzer, often fishing 3 on the cast suspended by a small booby or fab on the point. Depth can often be critical with buzzer fishing early season, especially if you are on a boat. I often use SIZE 8 buzzers, for the simple reason, they sink quickly, and get to where they need to be. Many an angler has raised an eyebrow or two when I tell them the size of the buzzer I have been using, but boy do they work !! (certainly in my armoury for the next 3 days !!) Leader length to is important too. If you are just fishing a 12-14’ leader with 3 flies, then your first two flies can be out of play, as they are quite simply not in the fish zone, so my advice would be to use a 15’ leader(longer if you can) and position the flies nearer to the end of the leader, so most, if not all, of your flies are ‘actually’ fishing, not just the one on the end !

So there we have it, my suggested guide to fishing Rutland over the next month. Stick close to the shores, have several line choices available, keep on the move to the places I have mentioned and things should be all “A” ok

Not sure of what flies to choose??   If you would like a ready- made selection of early season flies, including beaded lures, buzzers, fabs and boobies, that are guaranteed to catch you fish, then message me on and we will be more than happy to sort a selection to fit any budget.

If you think Rutland is too big, then why not book a days fishing with me for the day, and let me show you the way on the Midlands premier large water.

Tight lines to all, stay safe, and I look forward to seeing many of you on the water soon



Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.