So, it’s March 1st and the trout season has officially opened! A roads, B roads, and motorways are full of anglers making their first trek of the year to their favourite reservoir, or river.
I chose Thornton Reservoir, which is set in the heart of the National Forest in rural Leicestershire. It sits in a valley between the village of Thornton, and Markfield, within easy reach of the M1. It has a surface area of around 75 acres but, because of its kidney shape, this Reservoir feels much more intimate to fish in.
Thornton’s facilities are very good, with a well-stocked tackle shop, and clean large washrooms. Hot drinks are available to warm you up when the weather is cool at this time of year. There is a lovely decked area outside the shop overlooking the water where the family are able to feed the ducks, geese and other water birds.
There are 20 rowing boats available for use, and Ifor Jones, the owner of the fishery, allows you to bring and attach your own electric motor for those who prefer to not use their own steam using manual exertion to get to fishing grounds.
So, on to the fishing. It’s a picturesque walk past a mini waterfall where the brook flows into the waterfall, to where you can start to fish through pine trees. My equipment today was a 9’6” 8 weight Redington Vice, matched with the Redington Behmomoth 7/8, filled with Rio Gold floating line. On the business end I was using 6lb fluro with one of the new UKFlyFisher Scruffy Cats.
There were no fish showing when I reached the water so I started off by letting the fly sink for around 10 seconds and a slow figure of 8 retrieve... no takers ! The water was crystal clear and, even though we have had 2 unusually warm days, still felt chilly to the touch. Then I had a brainwave! After watching a few Youtube videos in the morning - “fish like cold” - so I sped the retrieve up to a jerky 3 inch pull at a time. There was the first tap….but no connection, have I found the method ??
3 casts later it happens, my first fish of the season. Not a monster, but a much welcomed 1 ½ lb fully finned, and perfectly marked, Rainbow that fell to the Scruffy Cat.
I thanked the fish, slipped out the barbless hook, and let it swim away to be caught when it’s put on a pound or two!
No more fish landed but lots of follows and pulls. I don’t mind that, you can get as much enjoyment from just being in those beautiful surroundings and seeing the fish reacting to your flies.
I would like to thank Thornton Reservoir for the hard fighting perfectly conditioned rainbow they have stocked, and also UKFlyfisher for the fly which enabled me to catch that elusive 1st fish of the reservoir season.
Hope to see you with tight lines.