Carsington Reservoir Review – July 2012

It was Friday the 13th. The forecasters had predicted torrential rain combined with a strong north easterly wind, but even with all these negatives, there was no way I was going to miss an opportunity to fish this beautiful water.

Carsington reservoir is situated in the heart of the Derbyshire Peak District. With stunning views, this 750 acre reservoir is a truly a fly fisherman’s dream. On our arrival we could see it was going to be a hard day; the rain was coming down with an ever present north easterly wind. Let's just say it was a bit on the choppy side!

On arrival we went over to the lodge and Sarah Barratt, the fishery manager, was there to greet us. She explained that the poor fishing conditions of late had brought the rod average down to 2.8, but with a well structured stocking program there is always a good head of both recently stocked and grown on resident fish to be caught. Now, having bought our permits, we loaded up the boat and set off.

Rainbow Trout
A well mended Carsington Rainbow Trout

We fished for three hours in the pouring rain without a fish between us then it was as if the fishing gods had taken pity on us and there was a welcome break in the weather. We knew the fish were almost certainly going to be deeper down than normal for the time of year, what with the recent weather and especially with no buzzers and such like hatching off, so it was the Cat's Whisker on a DI7 that started the procession of fit fighting rainbows into our boat. From having caught nothing all morning, the fish just switched on and the sport was fantastic. The majority of our fish were caught at the Dam wall, which made sense as the wind had been hammering down there all week. We continued to catch during these overcast and relatively calm conditions on both Cat's Whisker and gold-headed Hare's Ear Nymph, which I think is also taken as a pin fry by predatory fish. Some of the rainbows also had leeches on, suggesting they had been laid up on the bottom for some time during the bad weather of late.

Rainbow Trout
A typical brace of fully fined rainbows from Carsington reservoir

Having struggled all morning with a sideways rain into our faces, whilst also having to bail out the boat every 15mins and the only thing I had actually managed to hook was a previously lost anchor and rope, our fortunes had deservedly changed. Within two hours, I had now caught my six fish limit with my boat partner, Graham, landing four fish. From being down beat a few hours ago, we were having a great day! It is amazing what catching a few fish can do to your enthusiasm, but as the wind picked up and dark clouds descended the heavens opened once more, we called it a day and headed back to the jetty. We were both wet through, but content, having had a challenging but very rewarding day's fishing.

Rainbow Trout
Shane Calton with a combined 10 fish haul for 21.8lb

This is a great place to enjoy your fly fishing. All the staff are both professional and friendly. The sixteen boats available are of the highest calibre. We had not one problem with the outboard motor (which becomes even more important on days with wet and wind conditions). Your boat out and return times are very generous, currently commencing at 8.30am to 9.30pm, giving you every chance of catching that evening rise, given the right conditions of course. All this, combined with high quality rainbows and browns, makes this a fantastic venue.

There are a multitude of day ticket options to suit everyone, at reasonable prices, and you can book your boat with Sylvia or Sarah Barratt, the fishery manager, on 01629 540478. For the latest catch reports and information, just check on their website

Shane Calton, July 2012