Fly Fishing Newsletter January 2019
Happy New Year and what a brilliant cold start to January.
Perfect for Fly Fishing here at Lenches Lakes because guess what we stocked in both lakes during November and December –
SPARTICS , SPARTICS, SPARTICS with the water temperature hovering around 3 degrees Celsius, they are in their element.
Spartics are a cross between Brook Trout and Arctic Char. Arctic Char thrive in the cold waters of the sub-polar regions, hence our excitement. For more information on Arctic Char please click on the following link, it has some terrific information and also a video of Arctic Char in Lake Windermere https://www.wildtrout.org/content/arctic-char
Currently we have had four rather cool nights, those Spartics are being rather selective, more Rainbows than Spartics caught so far!!!
Loyalty Card Scheme
Great to have so many fly fishers benefiting from our Loyalty cards- get it signed each time you fish, after nine visits you get a Two Fish ticket on us, you can upgrade it to whatever fishing ticket you like.
Results of Mystery Partner Competition 2018
The autumn fly fishing competition is the Mystery Partner -Congratulations to Kevin Collins and Jason Malin our 2018 winners. It was a good day to Fly Fish – Nine people entered – Seven Fly fishers caught their six fish limit, one caught five and one caught one .
The largest fish caught was 4lb 2 oz , also a couple of Blues and one Spartic were caught .
Thank you to all who participated making it a smashing days fishing and such a pleasure to host.
The next ‘social’ competition is the Icicle Challenge on Sunday 27th January please see details in events section.
Learn How to Fly Fish Sessions on Saturday 12th January and Saturday 23rd February
Summer Trophy 2019 – May 12th Please see details in Events section
Spring is lying in wait for us, it is without doubt the finest season to Fly fish here at the Lenches Lakes , We will be closing the lakes to Fly Fishing throughout the summer again . Closing from May 31st or as soon as the water temperatures are above 15 degrees Celsius.
The water in in great condition , the clarity is superb. With the water temperatures being in single figures we can offer Catch and Release fishing Tickets as well as Catch and Kill.
Catch and Release if carried out with respect and keeping fish welfare as top priority can be beneficial to both Fly Fishers and the fishery. For information regarding mindful Catch and Release please read the following pointers
Common Myths of Catch and Release
Let’s go over a few quick myths of catch and release so we don’t make the mistake of thinking we did a good job, but likely sent the fish off to his death.
MYTH 1 – THE FISH SWAM OFF SO HE’S OK
This is a big fat lie. Over 90% of fish mortality happens after the fish swims off. I’ve seen fish released by people upstream only to see the fish belly up 2 hours later downstream on the river bottom, belly up. This is why we need to practice the best technique in catch and release every time, because once we let go of that fish, if we didn’t do our job right, the chances of survival are thin.
MYTH 2 – HE WAS ONLY ON THE ROCKS FOR A MINUTE
I know most of you don’t “usually” set the fish on the rocks, but setting the fish out of the water and onto anything is terrible for them and reduces their chances to live substantially every second they are out of the water. Never put the fish on rocks, grass or anything out of the water, even if it was wet. the lack of oxygen and the slime lost drastically reduces the trout’s chance for survival.
MYTH 3 – CATCH & RELEASE PEOPLE ARE A BUNCH OF ELITIST JERKS
This is a partial myth. I’m sure there are some jack-waggers out there that use C&R to make themselves seem superior, but they’ve missed the point. The point is doing what we can do to conserve and protect a precious resource that we consume every time we fish. Everyone kills fish, even C&R guys, because trout are delicate. It is our responsibility as those consuming this resource to do what we can to protect and preserve it as well. We use the trout rivers, we need to protect them. This is the reason so many catch and release anglers care and attempt to educate when they see photos or poor handling of fish. Most anglers motives are pure and they want to help preserve the rivers they fish. It goes a long way to know you have C&R guys on your favourite waters instead of guys taking or poorly handling the fish you also love to catch.
MYTH 4 – GOOD C&R IS CONSERVATION NOT RELIGION
We aren’t saying that if you don’t properly catch and release a trout, that you’re a bad person or that we’ll sick PETA on you or that the trout’s feelings are hurt or the trout gods will keep you from catching fish ever again (well that may be true.. verdict is still out on that ? ). The entire point of catch and release is to conserve a wonderful resource that we all enjoy and it’s our job as anglers to be good stewards of what we use and consume. Do what you can to let them go so they can grow.
Good Preparation Protects the Fish
1 – WATCH THE WATER TEMPS
Water temps above 68° F (19/20 degs Celsius ) produce stress on all trout species and the higher the temps get, bigger chance they have of getting over-exhausted and dying after being released. Avoiding fishing streams in the heat of the day during summer is not only a good strategy as fish are less willing to eat, but it also protects the fish from over-exhaustion and death. I’ve come across “fish-kills” during the dog days of summer and it’s heartbreaking.
2 – FISH BARBLESS HOOKS
Pinching your barbs down in the evening as you watch TV or everytime you’re out on the water is a good practice. Barbs increase the size of the puncture in a fish’s mouth and tears more of their skin when they are removed. These wounds don’t heal as well as we hope and can harm the fish’s ability to feed and survive down the road.. Pinching your barbs makes for an easier release and for less overall damage to the trout. It’s best to do it before you get on the water since you’ll likely get lazy or forget once on the water.
Playing the Fish Correctly
3 – GOOD C&R BEGINS WITH PLAYING THE FISH WELL
The key to proper catch and release is playing the fish quickly and safely. The longer you play a fish, the more lactic acid is built up in their system and the more they struggle to recover. Playing the fish for over 2 minutes, is generally a bad idea. Trout don’t recover as quickly making them susceptible to suffocation or being eaten by other trout or birds of prey. Play the fish quickly by keeping side pressure on the trout to bring it to the net quickly. Side pressure is turning the tip of your rod to the left or right of the fish to turn it’s head back towards you. You’ll be amazed how doing this can bring the fish in quicker and with heavier tippet and leader, you can bring them in quickly (under 2 minutes max) for a safe release.
4- LAND FISH QUICKLY USING HEAVIER TIPPET
Fish don’t care as much as you think when they see the line. Often times you don’t need 5x and 6x or even 7x tippet. You can be just as successful with 2x to 4x. Fishing with heavier leader will allow you to land the fish quicker and keep you from wearing out the fish beyond what it can recover as mentioned above.
Landing The Fish
5 – KEEP THE FISH IN THE WATER AND OFF ROCKS, BANKS AND LAND
Landing the fish is where most things go terribly wrong. Fish have protective slime coating that stays off infection and diseases. Removing this film is the same as drinking 20 beers and then spending the afternoon in a daycare, you’re going to get sick. For trout this makes them drastically more susceptible to whirling disease and other infections and diseases that kill trout days after being released. Placing the fish on the rocks, banks, grass or other places out of the water harms the fish in three ways:
- It removes the protective slime increasing risk of disease or infection
- It can damage the fish beyond recovery. Fish can’t handle damage to the head, gills or gut since they don’t really have much in terms of a skeletal structure. Gravity out of the water is much greater and causes enormous stress on the trouts system.
- Fish can’t breathe out of the water. Every second you keep a fish out of the water can reduce their chance of survival by 10%. 5 seconds is a coin flip on survival.
6 – USE A RUBBER LANDING NET IN THE WATER
While a quick catch and release with wet hands without a net is safe, if the fish is too excited or too large, it can be messy to try to land them without a net. Using a net and keeping the net in the water will provide proper environment to land the fish safely. Use these tips to land the fish safely:
- Use a large rubber landing net – other nets that have knots or string netting can be just as harmful as putting them on the bank.
- Keep the net in the water and the fish relaxed. Think of the net as more of a water gate around the trout, then something you grab it in and support it with. Use the net to contain the fish, not hold it out of the water.
- Use rubber nets and be careful not to get the gills caught our damaged
- Pan net
7 – DON’T SQUEEZE TOO HARD
When the fish is out of the water, its entire body compresses on itself. You’re taking a fish from a weightless environment into a heavily weighted environment and it’s hard on the fish regardless. If you have to hold the fish out of the water for a picture, then make sure to not squeeze too hard especially around the vitals. Hold the fish just behind the pectoral fins (a fish’s arms) on the belly softly. With your other hand you can grab the fish right in front the the tail.
Always hold the fish over water in case it falls or squirms it won’t land on rocks, but in the water instead, preferably over a net so you can revive him after.
* Tip – At times fish are hard to hold on to. Grabbing them firmly by the tail acts as a sort of paralyzer to the fish and can calm them down. Don’t over squeeze, but a good firm grip (like gripping a steering wheel) is the right amount to hold the fish in place.
8 – CUT THE LINE IF THE HOOK IS DEEP
When it comes time to unhook the fly from the trout, hopefully the barbless fly you have comes out easy. If the fly is too deep, then simply cut the line. I’ve caught fish that have tippet and a fly coming out of their bunghole before, it isn’t as difficult to pass as you’d think and it often comes loose on it’s own (if it’s barbless) later on allowing the fish time to recover easily and keeping it safe. Shoving forceps down it’s throat to get the fly back is trading a fish life for a £1.50 fly. Just not worth it.
9 – PHOTOGRAPH FISH SELECTIVELY, QUICKLY & CREATIVELY
So you do a good job landing the fish quickly, keep it off the rocks, use a landing net. Then you ruin it all by holding the fish out of the water for 2 minutes as you attempt to get the grossly over-done photo commonly known as the grip and grin. This is rough on two levels. One, every second you keep the fish out of the water decreases it’s chance to survive and two, you look like every other guy holding a fish.
Another note to share is you don’t need to photograph every trout you catch. They are all gorgeous so selectively pick a couple each day and grab some creative shots and you’re photo album will look much better than 1000 grip and grins.
The best way to get a photo safely of a fish is to leave it in the net and the net in the water so the fish is just chilling in there with the hook removed. Get your camera ready or your iphone on the timer and set everything up. Once you are ready to hit the shutter button, quickly and gently lift the fish to your desired shot and take pics quickly. Photos look awesome when the water is dripping off the fish vs drying in the sun anyway. This is better for the trout and better for your album. Be quick and gentle and if possible always keep the head and gills underwater or slightly out and only for a moment.
Releasing the Fish Safely
10 – RELEASE FISH SLOWLY UPSTREAM
Once you have unhooked the fish safely, it’s time to revive the trout and safely release it. It’s best to revive the fish facing upstream in slow to medium current and in clear water. If you murked up the water walking around, move over a little so the fish can get some clean water. If the fish is small enough to relax with the net guarding him this is another great way to release the fish without even touching it. Just use the net as a guard to keep it from leaving until it is keeping with the current and facing upward (not belly up) This can take 30 seconds to 5 minutes depending on water temps and how long you played and handled the fish. When the fish tries to swim away, you should let it. A good test if you are worried is to take the fish gently by the tail in the net and turn it on its side. if the fish can turn itself back up and swim, then it is likely ready for release. Err on the side of longer than shorter here. This is the time to enjoy looking at the trout and letting it recover, but when it swims off, let it swim off. The smaller ones will bolt while the larger fish swim off.
That moment when you let go and see the trout swim off slowly is the most rewarding part of fly fishing and makes me want to catch another all over again. You can feel good that the fish has been released safely and will live to spawn and be caught another day down the road.
Catch and Release Final Review
Below is a quick bullet list to help you remember
- Watch the Temps – Fish Barbless Hooks
- Play the Fish Quickly Using Strong Leader/Tippet
- Keep the Fish in the Water Always
- Use a Rubber Landing Net & Keep Fish in the Water
- Creatively & Selectively Take Photos
- Slowly Revive and Release
Clubhouse opens at 8.30 closes at 4.30 .
Light refreshment and Licensed bar available.
Tight Lines – from all at Lenches Lakes