A Day at Carsington Water-Fly Fishing

The weather lately has been inconsistent for some time, this week has been more middle eastern than British. We have had some 5-6 days of glorious sunshine something we don’t get very often. Whilst this is great for the sun seeker, the fishing has suffered due to the consistently high temperatures. Most reports bar a few fisheries have posted very challenging reports on the catch returns and rod averages. Nevertheless, have been restricted and Covid and Heat matters, I felt ok and it was time to venture out even if meant sun lounging on a boat and getting a heavy dose of UV rays and vitamin D. The high water temperatures affect the trout adversely, they like temp of 15-17c but some waters have been in the 20-degree mark. 

I joined a group of fellow anglers who are very dedicated and consistent in their Fly Fishing. The venue was the beautiful peak’s reservoir set in the beautiful Derbyshire dales near the picturesque village of Brassington near Ashbourne. We were to meet at 930 am and fish till around 530pm.

The weather sets in and it was time to go

I booked online via Carsington home page,like most fisheries offer online booking to minimise contact in the Covid era. Whilst I was booking online, I couldn’t appear to get the booking done as a concessionary Derby County Angling Club that has access to club rods at this water. When I eventually managed to book this, I had to include a boat within the booking, this was not required as my colleagues already had a boat for me to share with another co-angler. So I called the Carsington phone line and a very helpful staff member assured me it would be sorted soon and I would be refunded accordingly. True to their words, the next day it was and this was confirmed by email, very helpful staff.

I made some enquiries as did my boat partner of the day Richard Hood, and we both discovered that the rod average was around one, not surprising also most fish were in the deep channel or basin area. So that was the groundwork done, it’s always worth speaking to the fishery staff and other anglers who frequent the waters to get a heads up about the fishing conditions.

Be warned as good and helpful as the staff are, Carsington water does not allow Boat seats that clamp onto the boards on their Goulam boats, you have to use the other boats that are not as good.

Also, check out the fishing reports on this link: Carsington Home page and then Fishing and then Fishing Reports.

The Drive 

Well, what can you say, as usual with the heat and excitement, it was difficult to sleep and I had a restless night getting up around 530 am to have breakfast and start the journey early around 730am? It’s about an hour fifteen minutes to the venue. Having checked the car and kit, I set off at 750am  and soon found some morning traffic. The drive is through stunning areas of the peak district and the views are just breathtaking. I managed to get to Buxton later than anticipated as there was some early traffic on the roads and some bad drivers to avoid as usual. I reached the venue at around 9 am and most of the gang were there soon to be joined by Richard.

Tactics and location

We had a discussion and realised it was going to be tough with the odd fish being caught, the water was flat calm with little is any breeze.  So we decided I would go in a DI5 line with two flies a cruncher or wet fly and a Humongous Booiby lure at the point. I had a DI5 sweep, perfect to cover the different depths. Richard went with a sink tip line and a washing set up of nymphs and a booby or fab at the point. This was we could cover different depths and methods. This is a good tactic as it will help you find the fish quicker or that was the plan. We were both under no illusions that this was going to be a hard day.  

We were going to target the deep basin area of the water along with the dam and some known hot spots like Fishtail creek, Millfield as we were told this was holding fish.


The water as always was gin clear and it was a hot, sunny and flat calm day, not very good for Fly Fishing.

We got all the kit into the boat, Richard was on the engine to save me energy due to my health issues. We rigged up and set off with the others heading in the same general direction. As we motoring up, we saw the odd fish move, encouraging early signs. We decided to fish the basin first and set our drift almost in the middle, I say drift more a hover as there was little breeze.

The anticipation picked up, the water was cool and gin clear, we could see our flies up to around 12-ft coming through the water. About 20mins in, I was working my DI5 set up to around 15ft, when I had a slight tap. I carried on with a very slow figure eight retrieve and had a further knock and I hung the flies with no further action. This got us excited and about 4 or 5 casts later, similar slow retrieve, I had another little tap and then nothing, I carried on slow retrieve and hung the flies 15ft from the boat, a little tap and then the rod arched over and chaos ruled. I was in contact with a peaks trout and when I eventually saw it, it was a nice specimen to about 31/2 or 4lbs. I landed it with a sigh of relief, blank avoided thank god.

Beautiful Finned Rainbow from the depths

We fished in this area and about 20minutes after my action, Richard had a wacking take and landed stubborn trout of around 2 or 21/2 lbs. We were both happy as we hadn’t seen any of the others catch, they were within sight of us. 

We fished this area of the dep basin near the dam pretty much till about noon and had some action, I had follows and two takes on the hang but somehow the fish came off when well hooked. The other takes were very cautious and delicate.

We decided to move to other areas that we planned to fish but had no takes or follows till about 4 pm. The fishing was cut short by the arrival and thunder and lightning in the hills around Brassington and it was a sign of what was come. It was time to make a hasty retreat to the jetty, and this was a good call. No sooner had we got off the boat and got to the car park, the storm and rain had arrived on the water.  It was time to go home m tough days fishing but a real challenge in getting any action. 

Best Flies and Lines

The best line for me was a Di5, the fish had been deep around the 15ft mark. It was a day of dark flies, we had no interest in any coloured flies. The black humongous booby, non-competition size had proved its worth.

The retrieve had been a slow figure of eight or almost static, pulling, roly-poly had no interest. The trout were lethargic and the weather affected them.

This place is well worth a visit even if it is challenging, the scenery and drive alone will invigorate you. Like all waters it can be temperamental, I have had many days when it fishes its head off. It will be worth a visit when the weather breaks and makes it more conducive for fishing. It was a truly enjoyable day, thanks Richard and the Cheshire Crew.

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One Comment

  1. Philip Mack says:

    Hopefully calm overcast day for the match later in August. That said it’s never calm at Carsington

    Phil Mack

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