24 April – Ladymead Revisited

I went to look at the river early in the morning. The weir and fish pass looked inviting, the access to the river below the fish pass had been improved. I was tempted to start at the weir pool but I kept thinking about the large trout I had seen at Ladymead last Friday. I spent an hour with Andrew, discussing club matters and looking at his Tiger photos. The lower beats of the river were being stocked at lunchtime and I therefore decided to go to Ladymead.

At Ladymead the campers had gone and tranquility had returned. As I approached the pool a fish rose close to the bank. It was feeding, not just splashing about. While I threaded the line through the rod rings it took another fly. I was careful not to scare the fish. I slid across the grass and waited for the fish to show itself again. The dark shadow moved around the pool but the fish seemed to be aware of my presence and eventually disappeared. Having survived last season and the winter, it’s become a very clever trout. I need a cunning plan.


I walked downstream to the shallow pool, it’s guaranteed to produce a fish. I worked a Black Nymph down and across, through the centre of the pool where the fish usually take. I had a take but it was either a Dace or a tiny Trout. It wriggled free while I was laughing to myself. The wind was cold and I decided to go to Great Springs for a cup of tea.

Little Springs was being stocked and Great Springs looked barren. After a cuppa and a chat, I went down to Luffs to catch a Blue Trout. I had seen them stocked a couple of weeks earlier, most of them were nearly 4lbs. A couple of the ‘white ghosts’ were cruising around the deep end of the lake. They were easy to see in the dark brown water. I tried to tempt them with a variety of dry flies but they ignored them all. I tried a nymph without success. I moved around to the seat by the willow tree. A lot of fish were rising and I thought it would be easy to connect. After half an hour without a take I was losing interest and getting cold. I decided to leave and as I reeled in my line a fish grabbed my fly close to the bank. It fought hard, well above it’s weight. While I was unhooking my fish, the trout went mad, they were rising all around me. I hooked and lost two fish and then it all went quiet. I had scared the shoal and they had moved away into the centre of the lake. It was time to leave. I had trout for supper, it was yummy.