Stillwater salmon fly fishing in England
Previous seasons reports and newsletters in the ARCHIVE on photos page
14/08/14 Email sent to subscribers
Well it’s goodbye to Palm Springs Salmon Fishery which has been the home of stillwater salmon fishing since 2008. Six years in which I’ve served my apprenticeship – suffered and overcome the challenges of providing top quality salmon fishing in a freshwater lake and 25 years of learning how to produce them properly!
Welcome to Stillwater Salmon Fishery, run by the same people, at the same place, in the same way. It does feel like the end of an era, even though only the name has changed, I suppose the rumour mills will have something to say.
It started out with the need to take credit/debit card payments at the lake and escalated to a complete revamp of the name and website. I’ve owned the domain names to Stillwater Salmon for a few years and Stillwater Salmon Fishery is more descriptive of what we do. The features of the old website have been retained but feel free to comment on anything which you would like to see. I’ve had to use a pre-formed website building tool and adapt it to our needs, (saving quite a bit of money that we don’t have) so it does mean it’s a bit more unwieldy than a posh bespoke design would be. I’ve tested it as much as I can, so let me know if you find anything that is misleading or doesn’t work. The biggest change is that the master booking system is on the website and not the diary in my office, so make sure you’re booked correctly. Email or ring if you would like me to double check for you.
The new website is www.stillwatersalmon.com Note, that we’re using the .com but the .co.uk screen will give a link to redirect to the new site. You’ll find a big notice on the old website to come to the new one but I’ll leave that live with all its content for a while, and transfer some across. No mermaids will be left behind!
For anglers that have booked rods for this autumn already, I have transferred those bookings onto the new system so there is nothing to do. If you would like a conformation email even so, just email firstname.lastname@example.org for one.
Will send an email update on prospects for the new season soon, kind regards, Ben
24/07/14 From the opening day this coming season, September 27th the maximum number of day ticket rods on any one day will be reduced from 7 to 6. This will give booking anglers reassurance that the fishery will not be overcrowded by later bookings and it will even out the angling pressure a bit more. The rules for booking the whole fishery will remain the same i.e. £800 for up to 8/9 rods. You can see on the bookings grid that an empty day is marked by a 6 instead of a 7.
Next season will also see the end of the option to buy more salmon to take home. There have been very few requests for this since most anglers are keeping four salmon.
Work is in progress on a new website, more about that soon.
16/06/14 I'm moving June's booking on to a more informal basis. You will still have to ring and book but I've removed the chart for June on the bookings page and will advise anglers on the best options. Usually wait until next season!
02/06/14 I think I'll give the season summary here along with May's report as no more normal tickets are being issued. The book says there are 75 salmon left in the lake which looks about right with the number seen moving and jumping. For June the price will be £60 keep 2 for anyone who wishes to have a go, then we'll move onto any method (fly, spinner or floatfished bait, great fun!) catch and kill in July & August to clear the stock. Tickets £20 + £4 per pound.
The catches in May reflected the warmer weather and declining stock in the lake. 56 anglers landed 132 salmon, an average of 2.36. This would have been ok in past seasons but not by the high standards of the current policy. 117 kept and 12 returned. Brian Bollen caught a 7 limit on the 5th; father and son Marcel and Rene Klein caught 6 each on the 19th. There were 12 blanks, so I handed out half price tickets to these anglers for next time.
Now the lake data is on an Excel spreadsheet it's much easier to collate the figures for the season. From 25th of September 2013 to present, 571 anglers landed 2169 salmon, that's an average of 3.80 (last season 2.93) per day ticket. Blanks were 49, a 91.5% catch rate (88%). 1717 salmon were taken for the pot and 452 returned. 1737 salmon were stocked for this time period and 35 were found dead (mainly bad c&r handling and transport mortalities), the discrepency is made up by an unknown number of salmon in the lake at the start of the season. These figures are very pleasing, it means the stock is being properly cared for and used efficently, while anglers can reliably look forward to a good day's sport. Although the emphasis is on catch rates rather than specimen salmon, I've put by some extra stock to grow on this year for the future, as requested by several anglers this season. I hope to improve the website this summer, so we can take card payments and book online next season, watch this space, Ben
26/05/14 Catches are down to zeros, ones and twos now so we're only booking a few selected days in June. I've been giving half price tickets to anglers that have blanked but effectively we have to await the new season in September/October to get back to normal. We will do some 'any method' from late June onwards to clear most of the remaining stock, will post about that soon.
02/05/14 April was a month with a slow start but the overall figures for the month were on a par with the rest of the season. Sixty anglers landed 241 salmon, an average of just over four, 50 returned and 191 taken for the pot. There were six blanks, four of those on one day, the third. We've past 2000 salmon caught this season since September (2037), compared with 1679 for 2011-2012 and there's more still to come.
Notable days were the 15th when a party led by Gerald Beers landed 28, 29th when Peter Stearne and Mark Williamson had their full bag. There are still one or two 20 pounders, Jeff Whyatt amongst others have been undone by a large salmon which has escaped capture so far. As always, have a look at the Catch Report page for some more detail on the month.
I'm keeping an eye on the bookings as there are no more salmon left to put in the lake this season. When the stock falls below four times the number of anglers booked, the fishery will be closed to any more normal day tickets.
14/04/14. Copy of email sent out recently, posted here if you aren't on the emailing list.
The last stocking of our 2013/4 season has just taken place, so the lake is fully stocked for the next couple of months. It looks like the number of anglers has perfectly balanced the number of salmon available this season, which is why I haven't been sending out routine emails or been marketing the fishery much this year. It's a bit mean to those of you who rely on emails for updates and news so I'm sending this out to give you a chance to come before we shut down for the summer, later on in June (depending on the weather). The bookings chart is up to date at this point in time. Blanks may become more frequent as the weather gets hotter but we now have a policy to mark an anglers ticket with 'half price next time' if that's the case. That works better than the more complicated 'blank twice and the second visit is free' scheme that has operated before, a bet I very rarely lost! There will be an email sent out at the end of the season reviewing all that has occurred in the last few months but the keep 'four then release three' of 5-10 pounders has been a great success and will probably be continued next year.
01/04/13 I've noticed that the spring fishing here is more variable than in the autumn and I think it may be because there is are greater swings in temperature. Certainly a cold frosty night will make going harder until lunchtime. Not that this means plenty of fish are to be caught. 66 anglers caught 220 salmon in March, an average of 3.33 with 183 of those taken home for the pot. There were 6 blanks and 5 maximums. The biggest I know of was 12lb, with numerous weighing over 10. On the 29th a party brought by Russell Clarke landed 33 salmon for that day. Have a look at the photo gallery to see a map of where our anglers come from.
08/03/14 You can catch Hywel Morgan on his Fishing Britain programme on Youtube from 7pm last night. Him and his crew dropped by to do a feature on me and the fishery on Wednesday. We'll move onto summer opening (9-5pm) from this weekend but all the action seems to be in the mornings at the moment. Phil Wilmott had his 7 by 2pm on Wednesday and Bob Buckby with Pete Hodgson landed 10 by 11am, the next day. Hywell just had the one in the afternoon, but I'll leave him to tell the story when you watch the video.
01/03/14 I was very honoured for Mike Green to bring Bob Church for a visit to our fishery. He was a household name back in the early seventies when I did all my fishing, and anglers visiting here often bring their Bob Church tackle to land a salmon. Not many people can look at the bookshelf and see 17 books with their name as the author and of course he caught a salmon!.
Looking at the figures for February we had a good month with 46 anglers landing 137 salmon an average of 2.98. There were five blanks, three of them last Thursday. Just to show how different things can be, four anglers had one on that day, but two days later this Saturday, four anglers landed no less than 17 salmon between them.
02/02/14 For January 2014 I think we could say that the catch rate overshot what I would like it to be. Like November, there were no blanks and with the lake fully stocked after a busy autumn, the fewer anglers of January averaged a record 5.13 salmon each. An interesting statistic is that the 55 anglers took home 3.90 salmon on average. No matter, there's still plenty of salmon waiting to be stocked here at the rearing unit and the fishery won't thrive unless there's a good day's fishing to be had. The trouble with this year's policy of stocking lots of 8 pounders is that there's no headline news, 18 full bags were recorded and numerous low doubles landed. Mike Byrne from Old Windsor reported hooking a large fish that he never saw, on the 30th. It took him up and down the lake before the hook gave way.
One rainbow trout was landed in the month. As you can see, they are beginning to look 'overwintered' with full tails, I wonder if this was the last one left.
13/01/13 An adjustment to the rules when there is a full fishery with eight anglers. There have recently been two full fisheries with 8 anglers where more than 30 salmon have been retained on the day. It's a measure of success, but if a couple of anglers don't want to take home their salmon, there is an unnecessary surplus of dead fish without a home. Also it means that 8 anglers get to take four salmon each for £100 which is not profitable for the business (look at the price in the supermarket!).
So where there is a a full fishery with 8 anglers, the rules will be to keep three salmon & release three only.
31/12/13 December has completed the best ever autumn we've had at the fishery. It's been quite a turnaround from the spring, when a dreadful January-March made us wonder whether running the lake was worth the effort. The catch statistics for the month are 81 anglers caught 285 salmon, an average of 3.52, 240 taken home and 45 returned. No large salmon were caught although I saw a few low doubles myself. Most significantly there was an extremely low proportion of mature salmon, I'll have to work out what I did that resulted in this, as a silver salmon fights and eats a lot better. There were five blanks and nine maximum bags.
I suppose the major piece of news this autumn is that there have been no extremes, just good fishing. It's very pleasing personally to have plenty of satisfied anglers, and hopefully it may continue in 2014.
01/12/13 November was the month when the fishery owner's holy grail of NO BLANKS! was reached at Palm Springs. 106 anglers landed 495 salmon an average of 4.67. There were too many full bags to mention but an interesting statistic is that only three anglers caught just one salmon. 387 were kept for the pot and 85 returned. There weren't any large fish that stick in my mind and the feedback I'm getting is that most anglers are delighted to take say, three quality 7 pounders than fish all day in the hope of a big one.
When we had several 30 pounder caught a few years back I thought that we would be fully booked with the stampede, but it didn't happen.
What anglers want from a day's fishing, is a fishery with lots of fish jumping about, following the fly in, maybe lose a few, not too easy, and take home a nice bag of quality, hard fighting salmon. I think we could say that was acheived in November, and it's taken five years to work out how to do it! The next challenge on my books is to keep this going over the very cold months ahead.
17/11/13 Apologies for delays with the updates, the website provider has had problems.
31/10/13 Here is the report for October, including the last six days of September, when we reopened after the summer. I was a bit wary of October because last year the salmon were a bit suicidal, so I staggered the stocking during September to even things out. Well they weren't suicidal so it was a bit of a slow start, possibly due to the mild, muggy weather, although Bob Buckby landed six on the opening day. Iain Barr had his limit on the fifth and by the tenth the figures show we were in full swing. Arthur Sykes, John Eaton & Mike Smith landed seven salmon each on the 14th. The biggest catch on any one day was on the 20th when a party led by John Shepherd landed 36 between them. The biggest salmon reported was one of 20lb but the biggest I saw myself was around 14lb. Quite a few doubles were caught and I would say the average was about 8lb.
The totals were :- 101 anglers caught 297 salmon, an average of 2.94, in line with the long term average. 15 anglers blanked, which is higher than normal, mostly early on in the month. Only thirty of the 297 were returned, which is how we like it, we don't want lots of hook shy salmon left in the lake. I've completed a large stocking this week so I would expect November to improve on these figures.
23/09/13 I've just summarised last seasons figures. Compared with the season before, the catch rate rose from 2.64 to 2.93 per day ticket and the proportion of catchers to blanks was the same at 88%.
10/07/13 The catches are holding up very well this summer, so I'm taking bookings until the end of August or until the stock runs out. No more trout will be stocked, they just don't compare to the salmon. There is some any method fishing, phone for details.
The new season will commence on Wednesday 25th September. There are plenty of salmon to stock into the lake, so the policy will be - catch and kill the first four, then catch and release a further three, then stop fishing, a total of seven altogether.
The price will go back to £120 which is better value for four salmon than this season's £100 for two. Please note this is the new price for vouchers, old vouchers will be honoured with no extra charge.
16/06/13 We had the honour to welcome the Trout Fisherman magazine for a visit last Friday. Robbie Winram was the featured angler and he did not let us down, catching the required salmon and blue trout in one day, the first angler to achieve the feat to my knowledge. For me personally and I would say this anyway but I do think the salmon is the ultimate fish to catch.
03/06/13 With the trout arriving soon this may be the last salmon report until the autumn, I'll collect the seasons figures soon. In May 66 anglers recorded 127 salmon, an average of 1.92 per angler, 32 returned and 95 taken home. This was up on April with the same average size of 10lb+ and a more even spread of numbers over the rods. Jeff Wyhatt was the only angler to record a maximum, on the 15th; George Barrett (14th) and Eric Barlow (18th) had one less at 6 each. One salmon of 20lb was reported (although I didn't see it myself) and there were several nice fish between 15 and 20lb which can be seen on the anglers report page.
20/05/13 The lake will be stocked with blue trout next month (from the 15th June) as an experiment to boost the summer angling when the salmon get harder to catch. The blue trout will average over 5lb in a range 3-7lb so it will be interesting to compare them with the salmon. The rules will be kill the first 3 trout then catch and release a further 3 with catch and kill all salmon caught. Tickets will be £99 for June and £80 for July. There is over 2000 salmon here at the rearing unit ready for our next season, starting in September, so there are no plans to continue this beyond the summer.
15/05/13 I've had to remove a lot of the content from the archives as this website had reached it's data usage limit. If anyone wants to refer back to the 'early days' let me know and I will send the pages, Ben
02/05/13 I was surprised looking at the figures of April, 80 anglers landed 110 salmon and 20 blanks, that they were no better than
they were. I think it was because the average weight was larger than in the autumn, certainly over 10lb and although there was a high number of blanks there were quite a lot of fish of a lifetime for the anglers lucky enough to be successful. There were 2 over 20lb, 10 between 15 and 20, many more in the 12-15lb range and they fought like nothing else, but these bigger salmon are harder to catch compared with the smaller ones of the autumn. Most of the remarkable catches are on the anglers report page. Eric Barlow had a 7 fish limit on the 2nd. A white and green lure was good for the first half of the month changing to black and green colours later on. Stocking of these larger salmon is continuing in May.
07/04/13 February and March were pretty dire for angling with the unprecedented weather conditions so the number of rods was well down, which might have been a good thing as returns were as low as the temperatures. The anglers that got their fly deep down amongst the salmon near the bottom did best, 76 anglers caught 139, an average of 1.82. While there were 15 blanks (that's 19.7%), the biting easterly gales caused quite a few of those to quit early. The good news now is that things are very much on the up with temperatures getting more above freezing and the sun is getting some strength. The larger stocking size since the middle of March means that a 15-20 pounder is landed nearly every day (see anglers catch report page). Jim Tucker had his limit, including a 16 pounder, on a minke booby on the 20th March. Jeff Whyatt 18lb and Warren Langridge 16.5lb were other notable salmon caught towards the end of the month.
30/03/13 I'll combine 2 months reports here shortly busy with a hatchery full of fry and battling the weather! Somebodies happier by the fire!
03/02/13 There's not much to write about for January as two weeks were lost to fishing, the one to frost and another to snow. Catches were excellent to middling. Nine anglers from the Sheffield area landed 33 salmon on the fourth and 5 had 15 on the fifth making 48 salmon landed over those 2 days. After that it was mainly braces. 26 anglers finished the month with 77 an average of 2.96, taking home 45 and returning 22. 4 blanks and 2 maximums by Norman Addy and Stephen Ashton, both on the 4th. With all the rain and snowmelt the water visibility is down to 4-5 feet and I don't think the salmon are quite so happy as in the autumn and this seems to be reflected in that the bigger salmon are hunkered down for the meantime. Fast and deep was the method yesterday (see anglers report), let's hope February will be a bit kinder. PS I've ordered some 3-7lb blue trout to keep the interest going for the summer salmon angling quiet period.
01/01/13 December's weather was marked by a cold first half and a mild rainy second half and this was also reflected in the catches in so much as they became a little slower towards the end. With all the rain and the swan, the water went more cloudy and the larger flashier lures seemed to do better later but the lake is only ever unfishable because of ice. There was still only one blank amongst 44 anglers who landed 164 of which they released 65 and took home 79, an average of 3.72. Eric Barlow had a large lean fish on the 29th which went unweighed but there are more doubles being caught now as the season progresses. December is the time that some of the salmon are fully mature and hence are at their most vulnerable to fungus which can infect them where they have lost their protective mucus. I have noticed some anglers have been able to unhook a fish to release without the use of a net which would greatly reduce this problem. They would have to be played right out but that would be less stress in the cold water than thrashing about in a net so I'll request anglers give it a try this month. Next year I will greatly reduce the stocked number of salmon likely to mature, there's always something new to learn.
14/12/12 Only 2 days angling have been lost to ice so far, today and yesterday but it was minus 10C the night before, it takes that sort of temperature to freeze the lake over to make fishing impossible. It doesn't seem to affect the fishing, George Barrett and Bryce Hanlon had 11 salmon after we broke up a thin covering on the 6th of this month. Below is a picture of a salmon which has succumbed to an attack of fungus, I've posted it to remind everyone (including me!) that salmon need to be handled carefully if they are not to suffer as this one did. Just shaking the hook off in the net to let it swim away and not taking the salmon out on to the bank is all that is needed, this will apply to wild fish as well. This has been an unusual occurance, I've found only 8 salmon out of over 500 returned in the last 10 weeks that have perished in this way so we're doing something right.
01/12/12 The bad news in November was that 2 anglers blanked. All the rest was good news as the season continues from the large catches of October. For November, 105 anglers (a new record for one month) caught 421 salmon, returning 192 and taking home 229, an average of 4.01 per rod, which is what I hope this fishery will be all about. That is, for £99 an an angler can expect to keep two 8 pounders and return a couple more. Seeing as salmon fight harder and taste better than trout, this should be as good a value angling as can be found anywhere. The size will increase with time (touch wood) so an interesting 2013 is in prospect. Gary Owen landed the largest at 21lb on the 10th, followed by Gary Rees with a 19 on the 23rd and Tony Nash, an 18 pounder on the 5th. 1024 salmon have been landed since in the first 2 months of this season, lets hope the winter weather will be a little kinder this year so that this may continue.
22/11/12 The angling catch rate seems to be nicely balanced now with nearly all anglers having a good days sport and I would guess the catch rate is around 4 salmon per angler. The price of extra fish has been £3 per pound ever since we opened over 4 years ago which is less than the most inferior salmon to be found in the supermarkets and is similar to my cost of production. So to redress the balance now that the tickets are reduced to £99, extra salmon will cost £5 per pound from 1st of January next year. I will still operate the policy of letting the angler count the 2 biggest salmon as his 2 in the ticket and also allowing a free third if one of the first 2 (which always must be killed) is too mature or thin.
14/11/12 Today Jim Tucker from Biggleswade became the 1000th angler on our database, that is the 1000th separate fisherman to visit, not the number of visits, as returning anglers make that number much higher. Here he is, centre, with Paul Tucker on the left and Martin Gray with three of the 14 salmon they caught between them on a mild still November day.
01/11/12 Phew, what a month October was! There were NO BLANKS! On the last day, 2 anglers had each blanked on their previous 2 visits but they did not let the side down, so there were no zeros in the book. 98 rods landed a whopping 603 salmon, returning 231 and retaining 272, an average of 6.15. Needless to say all these returns are records for a month, and caused a hasty change of the rules half way through, see below, 19/10. There were only 2 larger salmon, Nick Avery had a 17 pounder on the 21st and a 16 was returned, I would say the average size has been 7 pounds. Some anglers have said they would like to see more larger salmon available but a balance has to be struck between blanks and monsters. Everyone landing three 25 pounders every time or every angler blanking leads to the same result for the business! Feel free to give your views when you visit. Some important lessons have been learnt in the past 4 weeks, which will lead to an improved fishing experience going forward.
19/10/12 With every angler taking home 3 salmon so far this month we might get short of fish next summer if we continue to get through them at this rate. Also a lot of anglers are catching their limit by the end of the morning and not getting a full days fishing, so with immediate effect the new rule will be to kill the first two and return the next five. The ticket price will still be £99 for a total catch of 7 salmon and we'll see how this works going forward.
28/09/12 Here is a picture of one of four new benches situated around the lake. I've noticed that some of the anglers were fishing from some of the original benches installed last year, so for those of us that can't leap around all day there are places to have a sit down and keep the fly in the water at the same time. I've bravely cut the rear legs shorter to keep them level on the sloping banks.
11/09/12 Marc Ponsot has been good enough to send me this magazine called the Duck Fishing Predators, I think that's right, my french is not so good. On page 56 you will find an article written by him about this fishery so if you live in France rush out and buy a copy, edition 165, merci Marc.
01/09/12 The any method fishing in August brought no monsters on to the bank but 29 anglers had some good fun catching 97 salmon, keeping 93. That's an average of 3.44 which is in the target range. There were 3 blanks by anglers who preferred to fly fish only. I would guess 4 salmon were caught on spinners, 10 on worms, 10 on fly and the rest on prawns which is interesting as the salmon had never seen prawns before, it must be their scent. There is something about watching a float bob then move off when a fish tows it along, I suppose that's how most of us started fishing in the first place, but float-fishing does not provide the huge spectrum of challenges that fly-fishing does.
I won't write a season report as it's all below in the monthly's but I have summed up the figures. 642 anglers landed 1679 salmon, retaining 1168 and returning 511 that's an average of 2.64 per day ticket. A lot has been learnt in the past year so I believe that all of these figures will improve in the season to come.
22/08/12 Much thought has been given to next season's strategy. This last season the rod average has been over 3 most months and I have seen many anglers with delighted faces at the end of each day, due to better management of the lake and a different stocking policy which placed more 5-10 pounders in the lake at the expense of fewer monster salmon. So this theme will be continued. The economies from not producing so many expensive big salmon will be channeled into the stock average being larger, (hopefully 8-12lb) and more numbers to keep up the rod catches to over 3 per visit. Also the ticket price will be reduced to £99, allowing the first 3 salmon to be killed and retained and a further 3 to be released, which competes very well with similar priced trout fisheries. We shall see, if we don't try different policies we won't find the best one but I'm looking forward to the new season in October a bit more than usual this year.
06/08/12 July Report. As expected, things got harder in July especially when the weather got blisteringly hot at the end of the month. 67 anglers landed 68 salmon, returning 8 and keeping 59. The average is just over one but there were as many blanks as returns so maybe we could have some big brownies or rainbows to take us through the summer, something which is under condsideration. The ticket price was halved for July too, some anglers have asked for the £60 ticket in August and keep 2 salmon which is ok but all fish must still be killed.
04/08/12 Yesterday I gave a presentation/slideshow to the members of the Leics Fly Fishing Association. I enjoyed it immensely, the words 'should get out more' can be applied to me when I am stuck in the hatchery on my own, so I am available to any other clubs/associations within a reasonable distance if you would like to learn all about our operation. Here they are sporting their latest trophy, the Midlands County Cup, won at Dracote two weeks ago with a catch weight of 131lbs.
22/07/12 The weather looks like hotting up so 'Any method fishing' will be allowed in August. That means rod and line, minimum 15lb breaking strain, bait (prawn best), fly or spinner. Tickets will cost £20 plus any fish caught at £3 per pound, ALL fish caught must be killed and purchased, fishing must stop when required salmon have been caught. Groundbaiting not allowed. Bookings in the normal way. Some mature/poor condition salmon will not be chargeable. Please phone for up to minute advice.
01/07/12 June Report. As expected, the fishing in June was more variable, mainly due to the weather which had left the lake very warm at the start of the month and later, on with all the damp muggy conditions. The rod average dropped to 1.99, 70 anglers landed 139 returning 51 and taking home 88. The larger salmon kept their heads down, only 3 salmon of more than 20lb were caught. Blanks were way up at 24 but there were 8 maximums of 8 so it was possible to do well given the right technique and I think June's strategy has been a success. Looking forward, it could be that July fishes better than June. It's a really bright fresh day with a good breeze today, the sort of weather that seems to get the salmon on the take, and of course tickets are only £60 for July. As one of my anglers said the other day, it's all about value for money.
24/06/12 After much deliberation I've decided to keep the lake on fly fishing for July but at a reduced £60 ticket which still allows the first 2 salmon to be killed and a reduced maximum of 5 in total. I'll write the full June report next week but a quick glance at the returns shows the catches getting more unreliable as we go into the summer, so if this trend continues good value for money should be maintained. There's noone who's done this before to let us know how it will turn out anyway, but if you fish a river, the price varies with catch potential. I can say the lake is fully stocked, another 80 went in last week so there's plenty of salmon to go at. Since last September just under 1400 salmon have been put in the lake for this season (a sizeable run!), it will be interesting to look at the catch statistics when we finally give them a rest. I'm looking towards doing our any method catch and kill in August at this point, but that's by no means certain.
02/06/12 May Report. The month of May had 3 cool weeks to start and one blistering hot week to end and although the rod average was 3.03, there was a greater variation in salmon caught to make up this average. 59 anglers landed 179, returning 48 and killing 131. This variation was demonstrated by a high number of maximums (of 8 caught) at 11 and 9 blanks. The first 7 anglers of May all caught 8 each, 56 between them in the first week! It couldn't go on like that, but interestingly in the last week the fewer fish were interspersed by a lot more large salmon, four 20 pounders were captured but a good few were lost as well. I can't understand why April's report did not mention Arthur Laughton's 30 pounder but most notable salmon make it onto the Anglers Report page anyway where it can be found, along with 15 year old Tom Hradecky's 25 pounder landed on the 27th of May amongst others. I'm hoping to extend the season a bit more this summer and it could work well as the fishing seemed to be ok in that very hot week and there are still some more salmon waitng to be stocked into the lake.
28/05/12 Day tickets to cost £95 in June! To reflect the warmer weather and as an opening email offer, any angler fishing in June will pay £95 for a standard day ticket. This will include catching a limit of 8 salmon, retaining the first two, catch and release the rest. The lake was fully stocked just before the hot weather arrived and catches are doing well - see anglers report page.
24/05/12 I've set up an email communication to contact anglers with news of offers, changes to rules and updates to the website, to save you checking needlessly. If you wish not to be included send the word stop to email@example.com and the word join if you would like to go on the list. Normally they will just contain a few words of information and be sent 3-4 times a month
I’ve tried to prevent duplication and other problems and to keep all emails private, if you see anything that’s not right please let me know. There’s a chance the emails will go into your spam box so put me on your safe senders list if you wish. Ben
01/05/12 The contrast between April and the month before could not have been greater weather wise and I'm sure every angler who has been out there in the cold driving rain trying to tempt a fish onto the end of the line does not need reminding. I suppose we need the rain and the conditions are instantly forgotten when the rod is alive with a fighting fish. The salmon do not take as well in the rain at Palm Springs but the catches have done very well in April even so. The total salmon landed was 226 by 70 anglers, an average per day ticket of 3.22. They took home 168 and put back 58 to fight another day. Six limits of 8 caught were recorded and 8 anglers blanked although strangely 5 of these were on one day. Six salmon of 20lb or more were taken, the biggest was 26lb which fell to Barry Porter on the 12th. Gerald Beers had a 23 and a 18 on the 24th. I watched Gerald take 20 minutes playing the larger one to the bank. A salmon of this size is so strong it's not surprising that more escape the net once hooked than are ever captured. The average size stocked has increased this month so I'm expecting more anglers to have a real scrap on their hands during May.
04/04/12 March 2012 has been a very dry and warm month but although it has been unusual weather wise it did not affect the fishing. The lake is low in a valley and sits in clay so no amount of dry weather will lower the water level. In fact one could guess that the weather was good for catching the salmon. 48 anglers caught 205, kept 147, returned 58, an average of 4.27 per day ticket (which is the highest I've seen in the past couple of years) and if one calculates the average cost per salmon for an angler it comes out at £28 each. Four limits of 8 were recorded, Bob Buckby 6th, Mark Anderson 10th, Lewis White 15th and Ian Vickers on the 20th of March. and 3 blanks, that's only 1 in 16 rods. Large salmon were stocked in February but only 2 had been caught by the end of March, Roger Gooding 22lb and Graham Hofmann 21lb, see anglers report page, more will be caught in April I'm sure. It's pleasing to see anglers taking large bags of salmon and it looks like this will contiue through the spring.
21/02/12 Ron Fullelove came diving in the lake last week but I had just stocked, making the lake murky and he didn't get to see much. He has promised to come back when he has a waterproof housing for his camera and get some underwater photos of the salmon. Can't wait! He did get this photo of a newt however that had managed to escape the attentions of the salmon.
01/03/12 The first half of February's report is dead easy to write because nothing happened! courtesy of our arctic climate when the wind blows in from Siberia. The spread of air temperature was 34C from -17C to +17C during the month but no real damage was done and fishing resumed on the 14th. Alistair Macnaughton was the lucky angler to first fish the rested fishery and easily caught his 8 limit, 17 in total on a well timed 3 day holiday here. His son, Andrew had 6 on the 16th, Bob Buckby 8 on the 17th, Dave Parkes 8 on the 27th, but they were the only big catches, everyone else had 4 or less. So for the last 2 weeks of February 34 anglers landed 86 salmon, 25 returned, 61 taken and 4 blanks; a rod average of 2.93. The lake was topped up back up to fully stocked on the 19th and a programme of introducing a regular trickle of 15-30lb salmon was started today. So hopefully we can keep the high returns going and get some large specimens on the bank as well.
21/02/12 Ron Fullelove from Rise Park Notts also sent me this picture of a tranquil winter's day at the lake. Now that the bad weather has gone (hopefully!) and the temperatures are less icy, restocking has begun in earnest to get ready for the spring fishing.
01/02/12 January is a very cold month to go fishing and most anglers are warming themselves by the fire at home, but if you can't wait for the spring to get some action there are pleny of salmon to be caught here. Those that did visit Palm Springs had a slow first week followed by big catches for the rest of the month. Only one a day was banked for the first 6 days then nearly everyone had 3 or more. 34 anglers landed 108 salmon, 67 retained and 41 released. The average was up to 3.17 per day ticket and although the number of blanks matched December's, at 7 (5 in the first week) , the proportion rose accordingly. No large salmon were recorded, they seem to be biding their time and apart from a smattering of doubles, the vast majority were in the 5-10lb range. This size distribution has been intentional as this seasons project is to get as many fish in the net for each fisherman as possible, eveyone would like to catch a 30 pounder but it's no good blanking a few times to get it, although I can think of a few fanatics who would!
26/01/11 I don't think this should be in the Anglers Catch Report section even though it concerns the catching of a salmon so this is a good a page as any. The reason is that the salmon in question was caught by me yesterday by accident. I was casting out my grappling array of treble hooks to make sure the bed of the lake was free of any dead fish and I had a take right at the end of the retrieve! I can report that it was the first (ever?) stillwater salmon to be caught from a boat and they do indeed have the power to tow a boat about while being played. We had some of it for dinner last night and very good it was too. Carol has been asking me for a nice clean tasting salmon from the lake for a while, we usually have to put up with earthy salmon from the rearing unit, a flavour which disappears once they've been in the lake a few days. It was a bit weird playing a fish I didn't want to catch but it was damaged so had to be killed. I will never be troubled with any angler who kills a fish which is thin, poorly or damaged and actively encourage the practice, it's just good lake management and often it is not kind to (any!) salmon to release it in the hope it won't die slowly. It doesn't count on the catch total and nine times out of ten I allow the angler to take it as an extra fish anyway.
20/01/12 Just a quick note to say that the the fishery is the subject of an article in Februarys Total Fly Fisher magazine.
01/01/12 Yesterday was the last day of the year and it certainly went out with a bang. See Nick Elliots 34.5 pounder on the anglers report page. That was the only monster salmon caught though, but the steady catches of the autumn continued into winter. December was divided by the cold snap two thirds of the way through, catches moderated when the mild weather returned, something to do with the salmons metabolism and the gyrating temperatures I would guess. By the end of the month things were going well with Ian Barr catching 7 on the 30th, Gareth Jones 6 on the 31st and Nick Elliott's near record the same day. Earlier Bob Buckby had an 8 limit on the 6th, followed by limits for Arthur Sykes and John Eaton the next day. All in all 75 anglers netted 202 salmon, 127 killed and 75 returned, a rod average of 2.69, 0.17 less than November. Blanks were down to 7, 15 anglers caught one each; and 2 or more for the rest. 571 salmon have been landed in the three months since the season began on the 7th of October. It has been very pleasing that the year should end so upbeat after the depressing time we had 12 months ago. I remember some football manager saying that it's easy when things are going well but it's how you respond to adversity that counts.
30/11/11 I've got right on to November's monthly report so here goes. Most of the month was dull and still but mild so fishing could continue apace. After a slow first couple of days the catches were fairly consistent right up to the last few days when the weather broke into a more unstettled pattern with a frost and gales. The maximum catch allowed is 8 and this was achieved six times in the month. On the other side of the coin 8 anglers blanked but with 85 day rods fished this represented only 9.4% so any one rod had a less than 1 in 10 chance of going home empty handed. This years batch of largest salmon were stocked in the middle of the month but only one has since been caught, a 26 pounder caught by Lee Gapper on the 20th. I'm beginning to get reports of them seen at the surface so maybe the fishery record will be broken soon. There has been a smattering of larger fish ( see catch report page) but the vast majority have been stockies of 6-12lb. The 85 rods landed 243 salmon, a rod average of 2.85, 86 returned and 157 taken for the pot. We had a visit from Steve Cullen and team from The Total Flyfisher magazine on the 14th, so keep an eye out for the article, probably coming out in the January issue. The fishery is fully stocked and looking good, so long as the weather holds I expect similar returns to be made. Try to come on a bright breezy fresh day and you should have a day to remember.
14/11/11 There are two items to add here today. Firstly we were honoured by a visit today from Steve Cullen and crew, Total Fly Fisher magazine. Keep an eye out for the article which will be out soon. Sue Shaw showed me the magazine on her iPad , have a look at viewing it online, it was most impressive. They had 8 salmon for the day. It would have been 9 but Steve hooked a salmon, handed me his rod while he went for his camera and I promptly lost it! This was picture was taken just before, maybe he knew what was to happen judging by his expression!
Secondly I'm sorting the bigs for broodstock and hope to get some eggs for the next generation although there are only a few hens this time. Some other fisheries make a big song and dance about needing a wheelbarrow to carry their trout about, well, we'll be needing something bigger than a wheelbarrow soon. These two salmon, 37lb on top and 44lb below, only just fitted in.
31/10/11Here is the first of the monthly summary reports I hope to be making this season, more detail can be found in the Anglers Catch Report section.
The last week of September was very hot but did not delay the opening date of 7th October as I saw it coming and managed to get most of the stock in beforehand. Even so the high water temperatures slowed the catches down until the 13th when 14 salmon were banked. It was pretty steady from then on with more of the new stock coming on to the take. For the 3 weeks up to the 31st of October 71 anglers caught 126 salmon, 56 returned and 70 taken home, an average of 1.77 fish per day ticket. Nothing extra large was landed, Warren Langridge had two 20s on the 16th. To improve catches further I've decided to allow 2 salmon to be kept per day ticket, the first and one other. The large fish will be stocked next month so it is possible some lucky angler could take home two 30 pounders! There is plenty of salmon to go into the lake so it should help to keep the stock moving, I would like to see the average climb above 2.5. We shall see, there are salmon approaching 50lb back at base here, look up Carol with one in the photo gallery so there is plenty to look forward to in November.
20/10/11 You anglers get up to lots of things but the only thing that truly upsets me is when a fish is badly handled before being returned. I know what happens, you've caught a 20 pounder and kept it. Then you catch a bigger one and don't want to take home two, but you want a picture and find out how big it is, so the poor thing is flapped around the bank, weighed and photographed. It's already given it's all fighting the rod and even if staggers off the chances are that it's enough to kill it anyway. I really cringe when I see photos of wild salmon that are going to be returned, I work with salmon all the time and know how bad this is for them, keep them in the water and let them go! I recovered this fully finned 20+lb cock fish from the lake today.
06/10/11 On the eve of the new season all the scheduled work is done. Improvements include upgraded CCTV, and amazingly, toilet door lock and LOO SEAT THAT STAYS UP!!!! I've invented this machine for adding chalk to the lake, all automatic so I can sit down and have a cup of tea. It's no coincidence that a lot of the better trout fisheries are part of chalk streams so our lake can have it's own bit of 'chalk stream'. I seem to do a lot of finding out how to do things on purpose and not by luck or accident
30/09/11 The lake has been stocked for the new season just before this really hot weather has set in. As an experiment/improvement I corraled off a small section of the lake to retain the stocked salmon so I could monitor any mortality. Out of 131 salmon in, 24 hours later there was only one dead, but interestingly another four were floundering on their sides. I would have thought that after a couiple of hours, they would be either dead or recovered ok. Caught in the net by accident was this rudd and a cock salmon who, once he had impaled his kype in the mesh, could not extracate it again.
27/09/11 Picnic area has been tided up, final weed cut done, paving slabs bedded in.
21/09/11 Work is progressing well, I've got these new rubber mats to go on the fishing stages (no more fly line caught in the chicken wire!), and a couple of benches so that you can have a sit down without having to go back to the lodge.
12/09/11 I'm still cutting weed but there's not much more to do to get the fishery tip top for the new season. Here's a nice picture of the lake being blown over by ex-hurricane Katia.
30/08/11 Work is going on apace making improvments to the fishery. Over 2 van loads of vegitation have been removed from the banksides alone. Will give full report later. I've removed some of last seasons updates to the archive (but left anglers reports for now) and added a new section just for the mermaids and they also have their own archive. The photo gallery will be for any other interesting photos and I'm going to try to get photos of other catches by any anglers especially, so send them in! firstname.lastname@example.org
18/08/11 Opening day for new season is 7th October! Booking charts have been updated.