Wellsfield Trout fishery
Wellsfield Farm offers much more than fishing, it also has Holiday Cottages, Health Club, Equestrian Centre and Coffee Shop. On arrival you pass through the stabling area, drivers should slow down and take care not to spook the horses. The fishery car park has ample parking and is a 30sec walk from the fishery cabin. On arrival at the fishing cabin I done my usual and made a beeline for the flies as I only have about 350 or so in my various boxes and as we all know the killer fly is not there, well it is now, permit purchased, flies purchased, advice taken from the fishery manager, bladder emptied its time to fish.
A 2 minute walk takes me to the top fly pond. There is only one angler fishing here and he is on the left hand bank. Standing at the bottom bank I spot a hatch of brown and yellow may flies, frantically searching my fly box for a yellow owl and guess what? the killer fly’s still not there, so I opt for a long shank pheasant tail nymph on the point and a size 14 claret hopper on the dropper, another tip is don’t forget to de grease your leader.
There’s a gentle breeze, an overcast sky and a fish rising 20 yards or so away, its all looking good. If a fish is rising in the same area, it means it is feeding confidently, and any fish that is feeding confidently is a fish that can be caught. Rather than try a full length cast I steel a few extra yards by carefully moving along the bank towards the fish, unfortunately the fish had other ideas and had moved nearer to me .
I find with rainbows you are better to aim 5-10 feet away from the rise, so I take a few steps back from the waters edge and wait on it rising again, fortunately I don’t have long to wait, a gentle cast to the left of it and a few tweaks of the line, nothing. Rainbows generally feed within a 20 foot or so radius if there is a hatch on, so I continue to cover the area and the fish moves another couple of times but shows no interest, I change flies this time trying a Cul-de-Canard on the dropper and a Hares Ear on the point, still no joy, well so much for that theory.
I move further up the bank and give the flies another half hour or so, still no joy. While scanning the water I notice the guy on the other bank is into a fish, once he has landed it I ask him what it took, time to change flies again. So it’s on with a small green damsel on the point, as it’s just proved itself, and a red diawl bach variant on the dropper, and a hole new batch of confidence. Within 10 minutes I feel my line go solid and the fish begins to take line, this feels like a good fish but there’s something strange about the way its fighting, when I eventually get the fish under control and near the bank I discover my first ever double hook up with Rainbows, I have had this plenty of times with the small wild brown trout on the Isle of Jura and even a brace of sea trout on the river Laggen on Islay, but never with Rainbows. I play them for a few more minutes to make sure there tired out and net the one on the dropper. I quickly dispatch it in the net and unhook it while gently holding a strain on the nylon, during the time it takes to take care of the first fish, the second fish has recovered enough to try and make a run for it, so I let go the nylon and grab my rod again and after another short fight I manage to get the second fish to the net. Within 20 minuets I am into another rainbow of about 2.5 lb.
The temperature has dropped a few degrees and the wind has picked up, there is now only the very odd fish showing now. As Wellsfield varies in depth from 3 feet to 18 feet I am going to change to my intermediate line, and put a pink lure given to me by a fisherman I spoke to in the car park, on the point, and the small Green Damsel on the dropper. An hour has passed with no offers but at least its started raining and I have left my waterproofs in the van. The temperature is beginning to rise again and the wind is dropping, the rain is showing no signs of stopping so I am off down to the lodge for a coffee an a hot pie. There’s a few fish beginning to show and the rains just about stopped, so it’s back on with the floating line and the Red Diawl Bach and the Wee Green Damsel as these worked earlier.
Time to try the bottom pond, there’s a few fish moving and only one other angler is fishing , all the rest have moved up to the top pond, the fish are rising out with my casting distance so I ignore them for now and concentrate on the margins and the weed bed in the top right corner, suddenly a fish hits me hard but fails to hook, it never fails to amaze me just how aggressively a fish can take a fly and still avoid getting hooked. There’s a few more fish rising now and they are within casting distance, if you watch the rise carefully you can sometimes get an indication as to the direction the fish is travelling in but more often than not it just ends in a guess. Another trick that sometimes works, in to put a gold head on the point cast it within 4 or 5 feet of the rise, count to 5 then pull the line about a foot and count to 5 again. The gold head lands with a plop and this sometimes gets the trout attention, as you count to 5 the flies begin to sink and when you draw the line in this makes your flies shoot up towards the surface in a very natural manner.
After covering about a dozen rises a fish takes and this time it stays on, it thrashes the surface and rips line of the reel, I tighten the drag on the reel and manage to slow the fish down and recover some line but this is short lived as the fish takes of again and digs deep, I believe in playing fish hard and occasionally they do come of, but for me it’s the feeling of the fish trying to tear the rod out of my hand, I eventually manage to slip the net under the fish. The bottom pond has definitely saved the best until last. This fish was in prime condition and weighed 3.4 lb and took the red Diawl Bach Variant.
Wellsfield stopped catch and release a year and a half ago as to many fish were being damaged due to anglers not releasing them while still in the water and have found this has reduced the amount of dead or damaged fish by nearly 100%. Well with my limit reached it’s time to go but before I do, I pass the Diawl Bach on to the other angler on the bottom pond, as I am weighing in my catch I hear a shout of fish on so I nip back and net it for him, another fine example of the fish Wellsfield have to offer the visiting angler.