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

No. 58 Orvis Blog

January 2015
Written by: Paul Procter


2010 was our last hard winter when an Arctic blast saw icebergs from across the Leven estuary, part of Morecambe Bay in Cumbria.

What Happened to our Harsh Winters?
Tradition has it we usually suffer several weeks of Arctic weather here in the UK during winter.  Yet again, at the turn of a New Year, I’m able to count on one hand the number of frosty mornings so far.  Admittedly, winter sometimes has a sting in her tail, which frustratingly tends to rear its ugly head about March time, just for the start of a new trout season!  That said, scientists tell us this mild-winter trend looks set to continue, which I’m sure those chasing grayling will welcome with open arms.  For one thing, fly life remains largely unaffected. Case in point, we’re currently experiencing reasonable flurries of large dark olives on the Eden that have grayling looking up come the afternoons.

Pink Shrimp
Stuck Shuck
Bright, loud, and in your face—the Pink Shrimp might be like nothing that swims in our rivers, but grayling love ‘em!

Partridge K4A/S, Size 10-14

Wapsi 70 denier, Shell Pink
Flat lead wire

3-lb mono

Pale grey Thin Skin

UV pink Ice Dub & pink Sow Scud Dubbing 40/60

Teased-out dubbing fibres

Tahiti Tagging:
Mid-January is set to see the next chapter in a long-term study of giant trevally and bonefish in Tahiti.  In conjunction with the University of Hawaii, Costa sunglasses, and the Tetiaroa Society (Tahiti), Fly Odyssey have set up an acoustic tagging program in a bid to understand the movements of these important species.  Initially the team focused on giant trevally, yet, following this success, an exploratory trip for bonefish has been organized to an outlying atoll off Tahiti in a few weeks’ time.  Orvis pro guide and photographer Toby Coe and myself are set to join this groundbreaking work with a view to documenting the progress.

Recycle your Christmas Tree:
Christmas trees might well take pride of place in our living rooms throughout the festive period.  Yet once the New Year comes in, they’re cast out!  However, rather than recycling them in the normal manner, the Environment Agency in Cumbria are using donated Christmas trees to bolster river banks.  Fixed firmly in place along the more exposed margins, these discarded trees massively reduce erosion.  Furthermore, all those pine needles and maze of fine twigs helps filter silt to prevent this becoming deposited in water courses.  The best bit, though, is that infant fish can find refuge amidst the noble spruce or fir trees.  Let’s hope other regions follow this lead.

Fly to Try this Month:
It’s well documented that grayling possess a fondness for flies sporting a splash of red, orange, or pink.  We as fly fishers are more than happy to include such conspicuous hotspots on our patterns, too, especially when searching more turbid water that occurs after heavy rain. Yet, is it a step too far dressing a bug entirely of a gaudy colour? After all, we’re a conservative bunch at best. That said, there’s something about the colour pink that attracts grayling from far and wide.  Obviously, you’d expect this to work like magic in coloured water, but surely something so “loud” would send fish scurrying for cover in gin-clear streams.  However, even on the clearest chalkstream, the ladies more than have an eye for this shocking fly.   

2015 Schools and Courses:
In 2015, Orvis look to extend their already comprehensive range of schools and courses.  Aside from the usual chalkstream days and stillwater schools, they are offering beginners courses and remain committed to ladies days, following lots of interest and consequent success during 2014.  Free beginners days are also scheduled at participating Orvis stores, which take place at the weekend. Click here for details on all of these exciting and informative days.

Earlier Reports