Chew Valley Lake
Chew Valley Lake is well renowned for its scenic beauty and top quality fly fishing. The size and condition of the trout caught here is second to none and anglers find success using a wide variety of fishing methods and fly patterns making it a popular competition venue.
Opened in 1956, the Lake is a relatively shallow reservoir covering approximately 1200 acres, with an average depth of only 14 feet at top level and a maximum depth of just 37 feet around the dam. The area it covers, once rich farmland, is now fertile ground for the aquatic life necessary for sustaining quality trout fishing.
To the South the depth becomes progressively more shallow until, at Herriot’s, there are only a couple of feet of water.
As the water starts to warm in early season buzzer hatches can be prolific before giving way to a rich larder of non-hatching aquatic insects later in the season such as corixa, snail, hoglice and shrimp. With such a plethora of natural food it is easy to understand why fishing imitative dries, emergers and nymphs on floating lines proves so popular amongst the regulars. The two most popular ways to fish are with nymphs on a floating line (Diawl Bachs, Pheasant Tails and Hare’s Ears will all take fish) or dries (such as orange, red or claret emergers or hoppers).
Chew has an excellent capacity for producing grown-on fish, and the lake’s records stand at 22lb 7oz for brown trout and 14lb 9oz for rainbow trout(see the Gallery for photographs of these monsters).
Are there any fly fishermen in the world who haven’t heard of Blagdon Lake?
The name stirs emotions for thousands of anglers as the home of stillwater trout fly fishing, with catch records going back as far as the early 1900s.
Sitting at the foot of the Mendip Hills in an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), Blagdon Lake covers 440 acres and is classified as an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) by Natural England for its wildflower meadows and bird populations.
The long, narrow shape makes it ideal for both boat and bank fishing. There are deep basins and long banks to drift over, plenty of points and promontories for access to deeper areas, as well as shallow, sheltered bays of quieter water. Most of the seven-mile perimeter has easy bank access but to explore the more remote areas a boat is the answer.
The lake, covering an area of approximately 440 acres, is relatively shallow, with an average depth of 14 feet and only 38 feet at its deepest point near the dam (at the West end of the lake).
Travel along its narrow length to the East and you come to the shallowest area of the lake at Top End where the River Yeo enters.
In between there are many superb fishing areas with proven track records of producing the goods; Bell’s Bush, Peg’s Point, Rainbow Point, Ash Trees, Rugmoor and Green Lawn are all areas that successful anglers will quickly become accustomed to.
All methods work on the lake but many locals and experts stick to small flies and nymphs fished slowly on or near the surface. Early season and in the dying days of the year lures and sinking lines can be effective, but it is the patterns that imitate the naturals which command most attention.