Latest News and Top Tips

Hints & Tips - November

Date Added: 19/10/2018

Fly fishing for Grayling in the Peak District & South Yorkshire has been good so far this year despite the weather. Thankfully we are now getting some badly needed rain although it can disrupt the fishing I know!

October has seen some excellent days on the river, some of which have resulted in double figure catches. If the weather behaves then there is no reason why November should be any different.

River Anglers – don’t be in a rush to put the tackle away just yet. If you have access to Grayling fishing then make the most of it.

If you don’t have access to any Grayling Fishing and fancy a Grayling Day at Chatsworth please get in touch with me - and experience what can sometimes be the finest fly fishing of the year.
Fishing tiny flies amongst the fallen leaves can produce amazing sport.
Yes the days are shorter and it can be a little cool but to fish for the truly wild and beautiful Grayling somehow encapsulates what fly fishing is all about. “Not big but stunningly beautiful and tricky to catch, especially on the dry fly!”

Fly patterns such as the Red Tag, Treacle Parkin, Griffiths Gnat, Pheasant Tail Nymph, GRHE Nymph, to mention a few, should be in your fly box. Remember the Grayling is at her best at this time of the year and yet few Fly fishers spare her the time of day after the end of the Trout Season.

Still Water Anglers - have also enjoyed some good fishing this year.
Still waters can offer some great autumn and winter fishing. It’s quieter on the banks, and you sometimes have to get well down to the fish but a sunny, frosty day with a hot mug of soup sure beats shopping!
Fly choice should include GRHE & Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Diawl Bach, Cats Whisker, Daddy Long Legs & other terrestrial patterns. Make sure to ask the bailiff or other anglers which patterns they recommend as they will perhaps know the water better than you.

Whatever your plans are for the coming months I hope you have had as good a season as I have and that next season proves to be a another good one for us all!

Tight Lines! Peter

For further information on Fly Fishing Tuition/Lessons & Guiding - Contact Peter Lax GAIC/L2CCA at

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Hints & Tips - October

Date Added: 21/09/2018

Fly fishing in the Derbyshire Peak District & South Yorkshire for River Trout is now almost at an end for another season. Overall it has been a very good season although fly hatches haven’t been as predictable as in previous years and water levels have been desperately low. The Mayfly, however, did us proud with some amazing sport on the rivers.

Still Water Fly fishers will continue to fish for stocked Rainbow Trout on many fisheries. If the weather allows it can be a good time to find a little peace and quiet as many anglers store their tackle away for next season. Hatches of flies will be spasmodic but will still occur in the warmer parts of the day. Don’t forget your Terrestrial Patterns as flies will fall victim to the colder weather and some will end up as trout food.

River Fly fishing for Trout will be at an end until next April. Grayling, however, offer the Fly fisher some excellent autumn & winter sport. The difficulty is that most fisheries do not offer Day Tickets in the winter & so it tends to be available only to club members. NOTE: Winter Grayling Fishing is available through me ( - call to get your day booked!

If you can get access to Grayling fishing then take your thermals, a flask, and ensure you have some Grayling Flies to hand. Double Badger, Red Tag, Klinkhammer, Treacle Parkin for the dries (I know the Klinkhammer is an emerger – but let’s not split hairs) and Czech Nymphs, Killer Bug, and Gold Ribbed Hares Ear for the sub surface offering are just some examples.

For those who don’t intend to do any winter fishing then don’t just put the rod away and forget it. Remember those rising fish you couldn’t quite get a cast to last season? Well now is a good time to get some practice in. A piece of wool on the leader and a dinner plate on the lawn as a target, or casting the wool under a bench in the local park will all help make next season more successful.

If you are struggling then get some help with a casting lesson while you have plenty of time to practice how to do it right. Remember “practice makes permanent” not “perfect”, unless you are practicing the correct way of doing it of course!

As always I wish you “Tight Lines” - Peter

Fly Fishing Lessons & Tuition from:

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Hints & Tips - September

Date Added: 20/08/2018

Fly Fishing Tuition in the Peak District & South Yorkshire has seen another very busy season for me and in particular with people booking River Days. From the beginning of April I have been constantly busy with clients wanting both Instruction & Guided Days. People completely new to the sport booking Introduction Days and many existing clients coming back to me for further Instruction or Guided Days. It has been a very enjoyable season!

It’s hard to believe that September is upon us already and hopefully the weather will get back to our more normal pleasantly warm days with some rain to rejuvenate our rivers & streams. The Brown Trout Season will soon be at an end for another year. No time to be heavy hearted though as September can be a cracking month. Brown Trout should be feeding well in order to put on some weight before their breeding season and Grayling & Still Water Rainbows will be in peak condition. All we need is some favourable weather and the opportunity to get on the water, be it still water or river.

Still Water Fly fishing can be very good at this time of year and you should make sure you have patterns with orange in them, to simulate water snails. Fry Patterns should prove useful as the bigger fish target the fry. Terrestrials such as Daddy Long Legs are likely to be on the menu, especially on breezy days.

River Fly fishing will require Sedge Patterns, Dry, Emerger, Pupa & Larvae, together with Daddy Long Legs & Beetle Patterns. Take along the usual Nymphs and if you want some seriously delicate fishing a few North Country Spider Patterns may just pay dividends. Keep an eye on any leaves floating by and if the fish appear to be rising to them then get out the Greenfly Patterns & Griffiths Gnat. Cast them near to the leaves and see if you get a reaction from the fish. Make sure the flies you are using are very small!

Remember you need the right pattern and you need to then offer it in such a way that the fish think it is the real thing. Fly fishing is the art of deception and the fish will be the ones who have the final say on just how good we are.

Tight lines!
Peter Lax GAIC/L2CCA
Professional Fly fishing Instructor, Licensed Coach & Experienced Guide.

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Hints & Tips - August

Date Added: 24/07/2018

Learning to Fly fish in the Peak District, Derbyshire & South Yorkshire in August can involve a lot of patience & cunning.
It isn’t just about learning to cast or having a vast choice of flies. It’s about being able to put the right imitation fly in the right place doing the right thing at the right time.
If the hot and bright weather continues then look for the fish in shady places. They don’t have eyelids so being out of bright sunlight is more comfortable for them.
If it stays very hot then they will seek out the well oxygenated places. Perhaps where a river or stream enters a lake, or near the aerators in still waters, or at the head of pools in flowing water. All good places to try during hot and dry periods.
Fly choice can be made easier by asking the owner of the fishery or the water bailiff what they would recommend. Look around and see what is about both in the water & in the air. Check the spider’s webs as they can be very revealing.
There will be times when you really struggle to find what they want. I don’t think the fish always know what they want at this time of year, so don’t be afraid to change fly pattern often.
Daddy Long Legs will probably feature along with other terrestrials. Sedges will be about especially in the evenings and large numbers of fry, so fry patterns can be useful on still waters. Quite often the fish will be smutting and so very small flies may be required to prompt them to take your offering.
If the fish appear to be taking at the surface but aren’t interested in your dry fly then try a nymph or spider pattern fished just subsurface – this requires a lot of skill and quick reactions but it is a fantastic and delicate way to fish!
August can and often is a tricky month but make the most of it as the rewards are magical. A good Fly fisher will make the most of what takes he or she gets and these can be few and far between or all in a very brief period of time.
Remember Fly fishing isn’t about catching loads of fish; if it was then we would just use a worm and have done with it!

As always Tight lines! Peter

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Hints & Tips - July

Date Added: 16/06/2018

Fly fishing in the Peak District, Derbyshire & South Yorkshire has been very good during June, Rivers & Still Waters have fished well despite the very low water levels and the May fly have treated us to some really exceptional sport.

The odd May fly is still emerging but the fish aren’t paying much attention. It is normal to get a bit of a lull after the Mayfly period. The fish are usually full to bursting and starting to get a little more choosey about what they will eat. But they will eat if we offer them the right pattern doing the right thing. Small offerings can often be the answer. Check out the spiders webs to see what fly are about!

Sedge Flies will be about in great numbers during the day & in the evenings. So make sure you have some sedge patterns and be prepared to offer them in all sizes. It is the one time that the Dry Fly Fisherman will purposely let his Dry Fly “Drag” to simulate the “Skittering” of the natural Sedges over the water. The takes can be savage!

For the river angler the Grayling is now back in season and it would seem rude not to offer “The Lady of the Steam” something to take her fancy. Perhaps a Sturdy’s Fancy or a Treacle Parkin might do the trick!

The Terrestrial Flies are about in numbers now and we should be looking out for them particularly on breezy days. Flying Ant, Daddy Long Legs, & Beatle Patterns are a must. Don’t forget Griffiths gnat & Double Badger which can be well worth trying when the fish are taking small stuff at the surface. Fish them on the downwind end of still waters and around tree lined banks on rivers.

Always keep a close eye on what appear to be surface rises as they aren’t always what they seem. Quite often the fish will cause a disturbance at the surface when they are taking sub surface items of food. Look at what’s happening and fish accordingly. A spider pattern fished just under the surface perhaps?

When giving Fly fishing Lessons I always try to get my clients to look at what is happening around them. What are the Flies doing? What are the Fish doing as a result of it? And what should We be doing to take advantage of it?

As always I wish you – Tight Lines! Peter

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Hints & Tips - June

Date Added: 24/05/2018

Fly fishing in Derbyshire, the Peak District, South Yorkshire or anywhere for that matter is about deceiving fish with an artificial fly.
There is much confusion about what is meant by “Fly”. Just look in a Fly fishing Shop and you will be amazed at what passes as a so called fly.

River & Lake Flies are creatures that live for almost all of their lives underwater as Nymphs or Larvae. When we use imitations of these we are “Wet Fly or Nymph” fishing.
To complete their life cycle they must change to Air Breathing Flying Insects to find a mate. It is one of nature’s true wonders. When we imitate these we are “Dry Fly” fishing.
We can even imitate the creature as it is in the process of changing & this is called “Emerger Fishing”. This can be a very successful approach but to be effective it has to be done when the natural creatures are “emerging”.

That is the trick to it all really. The fish react to what the Fly are doing and as Fly fishers we should be doing the same thing. That is, reacting to what the Fly are doing & offering the fish the correct imitation doing the correct thing.

I always teach people to understand these basic rules as it is fundamental to what Fly fishing is all about. You don’t have to know the name of every fly on the water – the fish don’t. You do, however, have to know or be able to make a good assumption of what the Fly are doing. This will determine what the Fish are doing & consequently what You need to do about it!

It can take a lifetime to become a truly skilled Fly fisher. That’s part of the charm of it as there is something about a pass-time that continually tests you and at which you are always learning. It can be frustrating though when you first start out and that is where time spent with an Instructor or Coach can get you off to a good start and begin to help you make sense of what for many is a complete conundrum . Do beware though of those who tell you they know everything there is to know about Fly fishing. I know quite a few excellent Fly fishers and the one thing they all have in common is that they openly admit that they learn something every time they go to the water. That is why they are so skilled!

The Derbyshire Peak District has some stunning Fly fishing venues, both River & Stillwater, so why not have a day Fly fishing and really get to know the Rivers that have made places like Ashford, Bakewell, Chatsworth & Haddon Hall such idyllic locations.

Tight Lines!
Peter Lax GAIC/L2CCA
Professional Fly fishing Instructor, Licensed Coach & Experienced Guide

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Hints & Tips - May

Date Added: 23/04/2018

Fly fishing on Chatsworth and around the Peak District & South Yorkshire has been slow to get started this season due to the rain causing problems with river levels. Thank goodness for still waters at times like these. We may have had to work for our fish but with effort they have been forthcoming. We should now see things getting better during May as it starts warming up.

Fly hatches have been brief but the Nymph, Larvae & Pupa Patterns have paid dividends & terrestrial patterns have occasionally worked on the surface. We should now start seeing better hatches of Upwings and Caddis but don’t forget to take a few Hawthorne's, as they appeared late last year, and maybe a Double Badger, just for good measures.

Always keep an eye out for the odd Dunn floating by and watch its progress. If it is greeted by a fish then it will be worth putting a dry fly on and having a few casts. Remember to choose something similar in size & shape and if in doubt check out the waterside spiders webs for ideas. At this time of year the odd Dunn can sometimes be joined by a host of others and when this happens the sport can be truly amazing!

Nymph patterns should always be in your fly box. Both Beaded and Non Beaded versions so that you can present them wherever you wish in the water column. If the river has a bit of colour try a slightly larger than usual version so that it gives them something to see easily & something worth moving their bum for.

With luck May should herald some good hatches on both Still Waters & Rivers and we can then start to have some traditional Dry fly action. If that isn’t the case though we will just have to keep an open mind, a keen eye, and a variation of patterns to tempt the little darlings.

Remember the correct fly choice is important but presentation is everything. The right fly in the right place doing the right thing usually gives the right result - a nice fish!

As always I wish you tight lines and hope that you have an enjoyable season!

Kind Regards

Peter Lax
Professional Game Angling Instructor & Licensed Coach

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Hints & Tips - April

Date Added: 23/03/2018

Fly fishing in the Peak District & South Yorkshire during April can be good sport if the weather will behave itself. A lot of insects should be about but most of these will be subsurface for at least the early part of the month. We have had a wet but reasonably mild winter with some very cold snaps and I know for a fact that the Nymphs and Larvae are quite active in the rivers. Dig out your PTN (Pheasant Tail Nymph), GRHE (Gold Ribbed Hares Ear) and Caddis Larva, cased & case-less patterns and try them in all sizes.

On one of the fisheries I use the E.A. River Sampling found plenty of subsurface invertebrates but a lack of Cased Caddis - could this be due to predation by Signal Crayfish in the previous season as the Cased Caddis would be easy pickings due to its lack of agility? I hope that isn’t the case as we rely heavily on Sedges and the Cased Caddis Larvae belongs in our fisheries, unlike the Signal Crayfish. I remember racing them when I was a kid - they weren’t very fast!

As well as a few Upwing Flies, in brief hatches, look out for the Black Gnat Hatches and give the fish a plausible imitation. Most fish are hungry after the winter and tend not to be too choosey if you present it well.

Still Water Anglers should try Buzzer fishing in sheltered bays with a gentle ripple. It can provide excellent sport if the fish are moving. It’s also a top coat warmer for the angler than the exposed sections of water. If you are lucky enough to get a sunny warm day then all the better.

April the 25th is St Marks Day and the St Mark’s Fly should start to put in an appearance around that date. We know it better as the Hawthorne Fly and an imitation of it fished around Alder & Hawthorne Tree lined areas of water can provide amazing trout fishing. Out of season Grayling will also have a go, so get them returned to the water quickly & gently. Last year the Hawthorne appeared late, by a couple of weeks, but this is nature and we should be prepared to adapt. Keep your eyes open and offer them the Fly Pattern when the natural is out and about.

My diary is looking very busy this year, mainly for river days, and a lot of people are taking advantage of the chance to Fly fish Chatsworth, and why not, it is spectacular in every way.

Whatever you have planned I hope you have a great start to the season and, as always I wish you Tight Lines!

Peter Lax (GAIC/L2CCA)
Professional Fly fishing Instructor, Licensed Coach & Experienced Guide

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