Two Day trip to Chew Valley and Blagdon Lake
Blagdon and Chew Valley lakes are both Fly Fisheries and you can also Fish for Pike ( https://www.bristolwaterfisheries.com/ ), they are two of our topwater in England, located in the Mendip Hills in the west country. They are somewhat distant for some of us who live in the North, consequently, when possible, I usually go for a two or three-day trip. The trips are well worth it, as the fishing is top-notch, the quality and size of the fish have just got better and better. As for the type of fishing, it covers all the different variants, I prefer to go Washing line with nymphs, buzzers or dries but if needs must I’m happy to turn to pull on a Di3 or 5.
Blagdon Lake Fly Fishing
This write up refers to a pre-Covid trip when we could go fishing, those were the days. So I pre-booked the venues vis the lodge and arrived on a sunbathing flat calm day, not ideal for Fly Fishing. I decided to go to Blagdon first, it’s always am interesting trip the drive here through the Mendip Hills and west country. I got there at 8 am, once the office opened, collected my boat number and lock and key, as you need these to unlock your boat from the jetty.
There weren’t many anglers but I chat with some who were there with social distancing in mind, I was the only long-distance traveller. Apparently, it had fished well but had toughed up over the last week due to the weather change.
As always when alone, I set up two rods, a floating line with two dries, hoppers both 5ft apart and a washing line set up. This comprised a midge tip (3ft sink tip) line with three flies, Orange fab at the point, two nymphs, Diawl Bach Sz 12 on the middle dropper and a Nemo Cruncher Sz 10 on the top dropper. I also had my Di3 and DI5 lines already if I needed to change.
As it was Blagdon and Chew Valley , leader choice had to be up a level, on the floater 8lb and on the washing line 12lb. The fish had been real monsters last year averaging close on 3lb and a good head of 4lb plus who are fighting fit. Gink at the ready, I released the boat lock and set of going towards the top end, the water was flat calm and dry flies did not really work for me. Having tried a few bays I worked my way back to Home bay, this is a bay nearest to the boathouse and can hold fish. After a slow start around 11 am, I had my first contact on the washing line set up, the rod was almost ripped out of my hand, I was convinced it was a nymph take. True enough as I played the fish into the net, the Diawl Bach had done its job, blank nullified. I had several drifts free drifts but the very little movement as there was hardly any air, I had a few more fish here on the nymphs and decided to move on after lunch.
Lunch was relaxed and chilled, enjoying the beautiful countryside, time to savour a few nice warm cups of green tea. Having refreshed myself, I set off for the other side of the lake and fished along some of the bays before arriving in Butcome Bay, one of my favourite spots. I continued with the washing line and have more fish on the nymphs, nothing on the fab. As is the Norm, I usually try different things when on a water, so on wend the DI3 with three flies, cat’s whisker booby at the point, black UV cruncher in the middle and a sunburst blob size 12 on the top dropper. The leader set was ( https://flyfishing4all.com/category/fly-fishing-for-beginners/ ) 12lb line, 7ft to the top dropper then 4ft and 4ft to the next flies.
I was searching to see if the bigger pods were deeper, so fished this method, 3-8ft down and even 10ft. After an hour, I had put two more fish in the net, all were released using barbless flies with minimal damage. This bay and other parts can weed up but early season they are ok and luckily there was no great clogs of weed.
After a time, I made my way to the dam area back on the washing line as i reckon the fish were top 3ft of the water even in this sun.
I fished an hour or so and had a few more to the boat and decided to call it a day as I was at chew the next day.
Chew Valley Fly Fishing
After a good night sleep and a good breakfast in Bath, I drove up to Chew Valley , the town is stunning and love my visits to Bath. I arrived at the lodge around 730am and once the lodge opened booked myself in and loaded my kit into the boat. Now if you haven’t been to Chew, watch out the hill and gradient to the jetty is a real aerobic tester, going down is ok the trip back can be a killer.
Again as with Blagdon, there weren’t boats out so I intended to fish some of my favourite areas, drifts through the middle, Herons bay, Stratford, island, along wally bank and up to North car park area.
So similar sets ups( https://flyfishing4all.com/category/fly-fishing-for-beginners/ )as Blagdon, except the midge tip, was replaced by an Airflo Fast Glass Line, one of my other go to lines. Also started on the same flies on the washing line set up, Sunburst Blob, Black UV Cruncher and A woofter booby this time replacing the Cats Whisker. I set up the drogue but it looked like a free-drifting day, I started my drifts along the cages on the fast glass and got lucky, first long drift I hooked a nice fish and released it. Another drift just outside the cages up to herons produced another fish on the same setup. It remained the same all day as I had fish on most drifts and all the flies on the fast glass too. They were about the same depth as Blagdons, 1-3 ft and quality fish all above 3lb mark.
Id had a good morning so broke off for lunch to chill and take it all in and by now had a slight ripple, DRIES DRIES was the cry heard in my head. First time to enjoy a well-earned lunch as the drive back was going to be a long hurdle.
After lunch, I changed to the floating line and two hoppers Claret and Fiery Brown. Drifting from Herons to Stratford and also Herons, had some classic Dry Fly fishing, not prolific but enough to keep your eyes on the flies. When Dry fly fishing you cannot take your eyes off the flies, momentary lapse will cost you a fish.
The fish seemed fairly spread out so I went up to Dam area and Denny island, again picking the odd fish per drift, just enough to keep you focused. Still missed a few of those gentle sips as I was not concentrating but hey I wasn’t going to complain. My dries needed replacing as they got ripped to shreds a few times, some of these fish had big teeth. I had some really good fish up to about 4 or 41/2lbs, tricky on the 8lb line.
Got broken once on dries and couple of times on the fast glass. The takes were just awesome and the fish quality just mind-boggling, deep, muscled and well finned.
Well, it was getting to around 4 pm, time to leave as I had a long trip back, it had been a memorable trip again at Blagdon and Chew Valley. Pity they are a distance away but worth a trip.
Although I didn’t fish the bank, this can be good too and this year or 2020 both fished well off the bank too. Driving back i reminisced on a great trip at two really good fisheries, worth the toil getting there.