Fly fishing in sunny May

May was a very dry, and sunny, month in Eden. Strong westerly winds blasted through the area at the start of the month. Olive Uprights and Iron Blue Duns were still hatching in decent numbers at the start of the month and some good sport was had on dry imitations.

This 3lbs 8ozs beauty was feasting on midgeThis 3lbs 8ozs beauty was feasting on midge

Fish also fed on midge and one very good fish fell to a suitable imitation on an early May foray. A few had been on Olive Uprights and had fallen to emerger imitations, before all went quiet. I was just about to leave the water when, what was obviously a good fish, began to work the margins. With nothing obvious on the water I surmised that it had to be on midge. After quietly moving into position I managed to tempt the 3lbs 8oz beauty to a size 18 CDC midge imitation.

Robert shows off his biggest fish of the dayRobert shows off his biggest fish of the day

By the middle of the month, conditions were more akin to mid-summer than mid-May. Brilliant sunshine welcomed Austrian anglers; Robert, Tony and Wolfgang to Eden. We moved around and I introduced them to different stretches of the Rivers Eden and Eamont during their week in the area. All three fished very well – despite challenging conditions – and managed to get action at every venue.

One on the nymph for WolfgangOne on the nymph for Wolfgang

Robert brings another fish to the netRobert brings another fish to the net

The third week of the month saw the yearly hatch of our true Mayfly (Ephermera Danica). Our largest upwing appear to be showing up in greater numbers on our local rivers and fish are taking a liking to them and suitable imitations.

A Mayfly with crumpled wingA Mayfly with crumpled wing

Alder were hatching in force on some daysAlder were hatching in force on some days

Willie with his first British Brown TroutWillie with his first British Brown Trout

Willie and friends were on their first fishing trip to the UK during the third week of the month and they too were greeted by brilliant sunshine and a low river. But the conditions did nothing to dampen their enthusiasm. Working hard, with appropriate techniques, ensured that they got some reward for their efforts. The modern angler has so many different techniques at their disposal and there is normally something that will suit most conditions…..

Rising in a shaded area on a sunny dayRising in a shaded area on a sunny day

The final week of the month saw me with a few days off from guiding and tuition, so I was determined to make the best of it. Daytime hatches were virtually non-existent in the bright conditions, but fish still fed . You can always rely on a few midge to hatch and keeping an eye out for fish taking advantage of any shade paid dividends. So did searching likely areas with the nymph. I even managed to tempt my largest fish of the season so far. A 4lbs 3oz nymph feeder was my only fish of an outing on one very bright day in Eden, but I certainly wasn’t complaining!

Best of the season so far at 4lbs 3ozsBest of the season so far at 4lbs 3ozs

Tony was visiting from the America and joined me on the penultimate day of the month for his first taste of fly-fishing the UK. Fish were rising as soon as we hit the water, so we were straight at them with the dry fly. They were midging and hard to tempt initially. A few changes of fly soon hit the mark and Tony was into his first UK brown trout. Other fish were caught, lost and missed to the midge before all went quiet. Ringing the changes throughout the day ensured that Tony had more action and a positive UK fly-fishing debut.

Anthony caught his first British brown Trout on a midge imitationAnthony caught his first British brown Trout on a midge imitation

With the jet stream far to the North it looks like we could be set for a long spell of hot weather and low rivers. So June fishing could be challenging, but certainly not impossible!