Fishing Dry Flies

The weather has been unpredictable but one needs to make the best of any opportunity, I noticed the weather forecast showed a break in the last week of July 2021. It was no time to hesitate, so I knew some of my  Fishing buddies wanted to fish Blithfield, and have a day on Dry Fly fishing. This venue has to be one of the best for topwater fly fishery around and has now become more visited by the match angler fraternity as word got around. Pity as some of us had enjoyed its seclusion to our advantage.

I called a friend of mine, Chris Howkins who is a dedicated and tough angler. He is one to always push himself to enjoy his fishing, I know that Chris wanted a day of dry fly fishing. We had a chat and the trip was on Tuesday 27 July 2021, the weather showed a  slight break from the heat and bright sun with cloud cover and some drizzle.

Chris enjoying himself

The Venue

Most has been said above but, Blithfield has a long history of Fly Fishing and it is a truly fantastic place to visit. It is set in the picturesque village of Abbots Bromley in farmland and countryside. The water has two connecting lakes, North and South Lake. The causeway or the Rugeley road runs over the tunnel allowing access to both areas of the water. The staff are dedicated, professional and very helpful, what I also like is the fleet of Goulam boats that are very well maintained. 

Drive There

This is one of the most accessible places for me on the Fly Fishing scene, some 50 miles about one hour and fifteen minutes.  For me coming from manchester, it’s a dash up the A56, M6 and then A50 towards Uttoxeter. I usually leave around 7 am but this time was about twenty minutes late and got some traffic on the M6 and A50 but it was flowing and this got me into Uttoxeter by about 810am. A mad dash to the Tesco to get some sandwiches before Fishing, Food is critical for a good day. I arrived around 835am, to see Chris already at the Admin office speaking with Claire. She is a great help and always willing to go the extra mile to help. We gleamed as much information as possible, although being a regular, both of us are well versed with its characteristics and Fishing spots. Having paid, It was time to get to the other side, where the boat jetty is located. 

Tactics and location

The weather was good with some cloud cover a slight gentle breeze just right for our days on Dries. We loaded up the boat, thanks to Chris giving me a hand. I got my life jacket and we got settled in the boat and rigged up after a chat. Chris was going to start with a subsurface tactic, blob and nymphs on a floating line and I was going straight onto Dries. As soon as we had got rigged up and following a nice drink of Mocca Coffee it was time to test our wits against Blithfield trout. We decided to fish the dam wall, through the middle from the causeway and some areas of the west shore-St Stephens deeper areas.


There were quite a few boats all near the causeway but we started at the Dam wall near the Tower towards the Rainbow corner. Having worked in this area, we had very little action and the others boats faired no better. So it was time to fish the deeper area near the new purifiers platform, 20yards away being the legal limit. We fished this with little success but saw countless schools or shoals of coarse fish, some huge Bream. 

It was time to move off towards St Stephens and a few stops and drifts with little success we moved nearer the mouth of the bay. We noticed the occasional trout splashing and rising amongst the hundreds of coarse fishing cruising around. These were going to be a nuisance.


A few drifts in and my shipman’s and hopper two flies set up enticed a slight subtle swirl on the hopper (black Sz 12) at the dropper. I was alert to the next move and true enough a slight very gentle sip of the fly hardly noticeable and a gentle lift of the rod and he was on. He hadn’t fooled me with his stealthy take, I landed it and dispatched as we needed to take some fish. I had a few of these subtle takes and managed to hook the trout and land them each time. It was time for Chris to change set up and join the Dry Fly fraternity. He was also into the action of hooking a beautiful local trout on his drey fly set of, crippled midge and Bits.

This action continued all morning and I had several breaks for food and drink as I need these for health reasons. We were catching fish all over the bay and some deeper areas of the channel of the reservoir. We had the occasional drizzle but it was very light and the fishing action kept us focused, Chris was doing really well and had several more to the boat.  Both of us were getting action and time flew, it was time for a lunch break. We both broke away from the action and enjoyed lunch with some healthy conversation about fishing and friends.

The Deeper Water and Flat Calm Conditions

I changed my flies to different dries, Foam Daddy, Black hopper, Bobs Bits and caught on pretty much all my flies. It was good to see Chris dries and start to get the hang of this method and enjoy himself. It’s always nice to see the other angler catch fish BUT only on social days. After Lunch, the fishing toughed up and we moved to various areas with little success, it seemed that the great Fishing God had turned the switch of and the trout were gone. I tried straight line Nymphing and washing line with no success, Chris tried a sinking set up with various flies with little success as well.

The time had flown and we had enjoyed a memorable day on dries, it was time to go as the dark storm clouds were gathering nearby. The morning session had been great but the afternoon session was tough.No sooner had we got near the jetty and the heavens opened up and drenched us.

We both cleared the boat and having loaded our cars departed with a smile, knowing that it had been a tough but memorable day with great sport on dry fishing. Blithfield had not disappointed even in these tough conditions.

Best Fly, line and Flies

The best line was the floater, best flies dry, Bobs Bits, Hopper, Crippled Midge, Shipman’s Buzzer, Foam Daddy.

Try this water and you will not be disappointed.

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