Trout on lures and buzzers

To prepare for a fly fishing lesson the next day, I fished Millennium Lake to see what mood the trout might be in. It was a grey day with a light NE breeze:

Grey day at Rib Valley

The first couple of hours were slow. Odd fish were showing at the surface – probably taking midge pupae. The only response I got to midge patterns fished shallow was one fish hooked which came adrift. I changed to a goldhead Cat’s Whisker which would fish deeper:

Cat's Whisker trout fly

(The original version of this lure featured actual cat’s whiskers to stop the fluffy marabou catching round the bend of the hook. I don’t use them myself, so my local moggies can come and say hello without being pinned down and trimmed.)

Still nothing, but when I saw a fish boil a few yards out I covered it, raised the rod to make the fly swim and got an immediate take. A rainbow trout:

Rainbow trout

After that I worked my way along the bank towards the downwind end of the lake. Two more fish came to the Cat’s Whisker, plus one on a midge pupa imitation (aka buzzer). I moved to the other side of the lake where fish were moving some way out:

Rising trout

I changed the Cat’s Whisker for a buoyant pattern but kept the buzzer on the dropper. This setup would present the flies close to the surface. First cast and the line pulled tight as a fish took the buzzer. A few minutes later the same thing happened again.

Rainbow trout

It is difficult to say if I would have caught the last two fish if I had stuck with the Cat’s Whisker. The rise to buzzers seemed to intensify in the late afternoon, perhaps giving the relevant imitative patterns the edge. Who knows?


Next day I met Kevin at the lake. He had already done an initial casting lesson but had not been able to practice since due to work pressures (helping people get set up to work from home during the coronavirus).

It was sunnier than the previous day with an annoying swirling breeze. Kevin’s casting was inconsistent, but he was getting the fly out a few yards:

Fly casting
Fly fishing

After a blank 30 minutes or so we changed the Cat’s Whisker for a black goldhead (another non-imitative lure). Shortly after I was rigging up another rod when Kevin shouted that he had a fish on. He did a good job keeping the line tight but letting it run when it wanted to:

Playing a trout

It was a three pound rainbow trout, his first fish on fly:

Kevin's first trout

With odd fish rising (but not as many as yesterday) we changed to a shallow rig. This quickly produced another hard fighting trout, which we unhooked in the net and released.

We kept the first fish so I showed Kevin how to gut and clean it for the table. He went off planning to cook it tandoori style. I might try that with the next one I catch.