Fly Fishing Chew Reservoir

It isn’t often enough that my fishing comrade, Jason and myself can both coordinate our diaries and grab a day’s fishing together. This weekend was one of those times that the stars aligned and we managed to meet up. We had decided to try our luck out in the boats at Chew Reservoir and had got lucky enough in the preceding week to book the last free boat. Chew Reservoir is rightly famous for it’s trout but also it’s pike, and this is what really grabbed my attention. The opportunity to fish in a water that is known to hold a good population of very big fish! You only need to get lucky once after all…

Traditional pike fishing is only allowed at Chew on a limited number of days through out the year, and getting hold of a boat on those days is not easy to say the least. Bristol Water who run Chew, do however allow fly fishing for pike outside of those specific days. This seemed ideal to us, as Jason intended to target trout whilst I would target the pike on the fly. Having never fished Chew, myself I had no idea what to expect, but my hopes were high all the same.

We met at Woodford Lodge to collect our boat and were greeted by the sight of waves on the reservoir. A fresh wind was going to make things difficult for us but with the hope of being able to find some shelter around the lakeshore somewhere or other we weren’t too dispirited. Following the safety briefing and the opportunity to pick the staff’s brains on best location and flies to try we headed out into the wind.

2017-05-14 Chew 6989

We found some shelter in Vellice Bay before trying Herons Green Bay. Both locations offered some shelter from the wind and seemed to be where most of the other boats had decided to head to as well. We did see the occasional sunny interval, but overall the day stayed pretty grey and miserable. Jason and I, tried everything we could think of but to no success. I have to say I saw no-one else catch anything either which offered some conciliation and proved that it wasn’t just us being complete failures..

2017-05-14 Chew 6994

Later in the evening the wind did die down a little and we tried around off of Moreton Bank but again to no avail. By this time my efforts at casting a pike fly in the wind were growing tiresome but despite this there still seemed a faint hope that any moment I could connect with a surprise last minute fish which helped keep the excitement alive.

As time drew to a close we headed back towards the jetties and were pretty much the last boat back. I felt we’d given Chew a good shot and really enjoyed fishing from the boat even if it wasn’t successful fish wise. I’d love to revisit Chew in better weather and would fancy my chances at the trout in calmer conditions. At the same time, it would be rude not to have a few casts for the monster pike that lurk in there somewhere..

 

 

 

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Plan B – The River Chew

In a perfect world, everything would go to plan and we’d always catch loads of big fish etc etc. Today’s fishing trip was a good example of how things don’t need to be perfect or to even go to plan in order to be classed as an enjoyable day out.

Jason & I had planned to pike fish the River Avon near Keynesham, Bristol, but a match on that stretch of water put pay to that idea. I’d travelled up to Bristol to meet Jason with only my pike fishing tackle in the car which as it turned out, proved to be a bit of a school boy error. Not being able to fish the Avon we scratched our heads and came up with a plan B. Fish the River Chew! Hopefully we’d pick up some grayling and chub. Thankfully Jason was able to lend me a rod and the requisite gear plus provide maggots and worms to make plan B viable.

We met at day break, and proceeded to try various swims along our chosen stretch of water. It was a cold start with no wind at all, although the temperature did begin to rise as the morning wore on.

My first trot downstream resulted in a nice (but out of season) brown trout on single maggot under a waggler, set pretty shallow. Jason also swiftly had another, before things went quiet and we moved on. Things didn’t get any easier and after this we moved frequently to scratch out a few gudgeon and numerous minnows. Jason did bring in a couple of small chub, but the chub just didn’t seem to be feeding in any numbers today. We had hoped for a grayling or two as well on the upper sections of the Chew but these also eluded us. Whilst it turned out to be a day of small fish, at least it was a lovely morning weather wise. What was particularly educational was getting to explore the river without the mass of summer undergrowth hampering access to the bankside. This allowed us to explore and fish swims that just weren’t accessible during the height of summer. It also helped give me at least, a slightly better understanding and knowledge of the river which should all help for next time I return.

 

Fly Fishing River Chew

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been hearing some good reports from my mate Jason, on his recent exploratory sessions on the River Chew at Keynsham near Bristol. He’d caught a good variety of species, including, chub, roach, gudgeon, brown trout, grayling and barbel amongst others. Neither of us had previously caught grayling or barbel before so this was definitely one venue I needed to visit!

Annual licenses for substantial sections of the River Chew are available from Keynsham Angling Association for a modest sum of £20 which is a bargain in anybody’s book, especially when considering the variety of species present in what is a wonderfully picturesque and unspoilt little river. Even more surprising to me considering it’s proximity to such a large urban centre as Bristol.

River Chew Somerset

I met Jason up at Keynsham early afternoon with a view to fishing the “Mill Ground” section of the Chew. The weather was pretty hot and muggy with rain showers forecast for later in the evening, but when we met it was gloriously sunny, which whilst lovely conditions to fish in, weren’t necessarily perfect for tempting trout in.

We started off both fly fishing and explored the length of the Mill Ground stretch, Considering what a lovely section of river it is I was amazed to see only one other angler tucked away in a secluded swim float fishing in amongst the trees. It is a great section of water that is perfectly fishable without the need to wade and open enough to make fly fishing a relatively simple matter with an unimpeded back cast in most places.

A few fish were rising and I had quite a bit of interest (and missed a lot of takes) in one or two swims from what I think were small chub or dace. We had a couple of small fish on the dry fly between us and a thoroughly chilled out few hours, but results weren’t exactly mind blowing. Not really surprising considering the sultry weather.

Fly Fishing River Chew

In the end, after fishing our way down the river and with the afternoon wearing on, we decided to switch to coarse gear. Walking back up to the car to swap rods, a light smattering of rain confirmed the decision as the right one. Coarse gear on hand, we set up in a swim that Jason had caught barbel from previously. A heavy rain shower saw us sheltering under our umbrellas and we started off legering. Bites were instant and resulted in a non-stop stream of minnows and the occasional gudgeon all on double maggot. It wasn’t long at all until a rattly bite pulled down decisively and I connected with a very spirited little barbel. Barbel have been one of my long time targets and to say I was delighted would be an understatement. 2 more barbel and countless minnows followed before we switched swims once the weather perked up again.

River Chew Barbel

The new swim was more open, with some really fishy over hanging trees and some inviting looking reeds on the opposite side. With the improvement in weather, we both switched to float rods. Jason trotted is float in under some overhanging trees on the near bank whilst I targeted the far bank reeds. I had 3 more small barbel either on double maggot or worm and maggot, along with numerous chub and a coupe of small roach. Jason on the other hand seemed to have found a great spot for the trout, and proceeded to pull out 4 or 5 nice brown trout, most of which fell to worm and maggot trotted in under the overhanging trees. The trout really put up a phenomenal scrap for their size!

River Chew - Brown Trout

The onset of dusk put pay to our fun but the walk back to the car was accompanied with that warm glow that follows a successful days fishing! The River Chew certainly lived up to all I could have hoped for, led to the capture of a new species and has so much potential for future exploration. My next target will be the Grayling, and visiting some of the other stretches of water further upstream. oh… and actually catching a barbel on the fly! just need to find a few free weekends…