The Orvis Fly Fishing Report: Paul Procter reports on current fly fishing conditions in UK and abroad.

No. 53 Orvis Blog

July 2014
Written by: Paul Procter


John displays a fit summer chalkstream pike taken on a Fulling Mill roach pattern.

Dog Days of Summer:
It’s a well-known fact that any self-respecting trout are reluctant to feed during those Dog Days of Summer. In such blistering heat they wait until last knockings before venturing out, when sport might span all of twenty minutes! All well and dandy if your local water is only minutes from home, but not so good where a long drive is concerned. So rather than chase trout, why not change tact and, instead, target coarse fish? This is exactly what Orvis head ghillie John Slader has been doing recently. Naturally, species like pike require a stepped-up outfit, but if you’re after the likes of chub, roach and rudd then a standard 5-weight outfit will suffice. Other equipment includes a handful of dries, nymphs and spool of tippet material. Best of all, these fish remain receptive to a carefully presented fly even on the hottest of days.

Scottish Guides out in force:
Scottish Orvis Guides Peter McCallum, Kevin Muir and Hamish Young recently assisted in the fly-fishing section of the Sandpiper Challenge, a series of events based on country sports organized on the Dunecht estate by the Sandpiper Trust. The Trust's aim is to help save lives in Scotland by improving immediate care, especially in remote and rural areas, through the provision of appropriate standardized and uniform medical equipment. Known as Sandpiper Bags, these kits are used by specially trained GPs, community nurses, paramedics and A&E Consultants, operating on a voluntary basis. Following their usual briefing on safety, Peter, Kevin and Hamish soon had the group casting to a proficient level. On going afloat, most of the party tangled with some good-sized brown and rainbow trout. Raising over £140,000 the Challenge was deemed a great success, and thanks go to our Scottish Guides for providing a top-flight service.
Find Peter at
Find Hamish at

Black Gnat

Using a size 20 PTN and sight fishing for big roach is exciting stuff. No wonder John is all smiles with this specimen of over 2 lb.

A Final Fling produces the goods:
Orvis Guide Mike Bilson joined a small party traveling to Iceland recently. With the weather remaining kind, the group enjoyed success chasing salmon on the Haukadalsa system, situated in the northwest. Despite an apparent slow start to Iceland’s season, the whole group managed to connect with fresh fish between 9 lb. and 12 lb. Top tactics included the riffle hitch and, when this failed, a sunray shadow would usually turn their heads. 

From here, they headed to Iceland’s northern shores in search of trout on the Reykjadalsa close to Lauger. This intimate wee stream spills into the mighty Laxa a mere 10 miles from Skjalfandi Bay, so a chance of a salmon is in the cards too! With midge hatching everywhere and trout coming thick and fast, Mike switched to a salmon fly during their final morning. In fact, it was his last cast when the line halted as a huge salmon snaffled Mike’s fly. Following some serious fireworks, he eventually beached a cracking fish measuring 98 cm and estimated at some 20 lb. Best of all, Mike’s trusty 5-weight Helios2 was clearly up to the job!

Busy Elk Hair Caddis
Stuck Shuck
The busy elk hair caddis in all its glory, a cracking sedge pattern come those warm summer evenings.
Partridge Supreme Dry size 10-14
Orange 14/0 Sheer
Tying thread
Orvis olive ice-dub
Cream cock-palmered
Elk hair over CdC fibres

Fly of the Month - Busy Elk Hair Caddis:
There are several variations of Al Troth’s elk hair caddis, but this interpretation takes some beating. In fact, when you study the dressing, it pretty much has everything. Ice dubbing adds a degree of sparkle, with buoyancy coming from a palmered hackle and the elk hair wing. This also creates a fair bit of disturbance when working the fly back on dark. If that’s not enough, a mobile underwing of CdC possesses untold movement.  The pattern is at its best fished up and across when trout are seen crashing about.  Though, as darkness falls, it’s worth presenting the fly across and down on a more tensioned line, so takes are felt in the gathering gloom. 

Encounter Boots

Orvis guide Peter McCallum expertly positions the boat for a beginner to line up a cast on a moving trout during the Sandpiper Challenge.

Dales Delight:
Summer levels generally reach an all-time low during July and, true to form, this July remained dry.  Usually, such conditions restrict our activities to either end of the day.  However, Yorkshire’s resident Orvis guide Steve Rhodes has kept his clients amongst fish when the chips were down.  Naturally, with fly hatches absent under a cloudless sky, nymphs came to the fore. Popular patterns included a black bead head PTN and small, buggy looking hare’s ear.  Steve has reported some spanking fish, too, with the best of them going some 21 inches in length and well over 3 lb.  A dour Yorkshireman, though, this hasn’t stopped him from bleating about a lack of rain, despite what many would term good sport!  Find Steve @

2014 Schools and Courses
Orvis have a great range of Schools and Courses lined up for 2014 which cover all aspects of fly fishing and this year look to include the Tenkara style of fishing. So whether you’re a beginner or more seasoned rod, chances are there’ll be something for you. As well as appearing in their catalogue, dates and venues can be found on the website here.

Orvis Courses
For further information and bookings contact Sporting Adventures at Orvis.
Tel: 01264-349515

Earlier Reports