Latest News and Top Tips

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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Hints & Tips – March

Date Added: 26/02/2018

Fly fishing in the Peak District & South Yorkshire is only a few weeks away from the new season now. It’s an exciting time as we all wonder what the season will have in store. Hopefully the weather will be kind and it will be a good season for us all. Last year was certainly a good season for my clients & I with some wonderful days on River & Still Water and plenty of fish brought to the net. There were very few blank days and a great deal of laughter and enjoyment as some really lovely people came to terms with the eccentricities of our wonderful sport.
It’s now a good time to go through your check list in readiness for the first day out in 2018:
Renew your E.A. License at the Post Office, on line or over the phone.
Check your Waders have no obvious holes in them.
Check your lines for cracks & general wear & tear. They should have been cleaned after your last trip but will still benefit from a polish.
Are the Rod & Reel still in good working order? A little TLC will extend their useful life a great deal and you don’t want them to let you down when you get into that big trout!
Check your Net to ensure there are no additional holes.
Flies, Leaders & General Accessories are all vitally important so check you have them all & you have sufficient quantities of the right ones.
How’s your Casting? Have you kept up your practice or do you need a bit of a refresher session? – Now is the time to get one booked because things get very busy come April and most Instructors & Coaches will be out with clients who have made their booking in good time!
Do you fancy treating yourself to something a little different this season? Perhaps a day on a Beautiful Trout Stream stalking wild fish or a Grayling Day (16th June onwards) might appeal? Don’t leave it too long to decide as days get booked quickly.
If you are new to Fly fishing and intend to book some tuition then do it now as Instructors get very busy once the season has started. My diary is already looking busy in the peak weeks!

Whatever you do this season I hope it turns out to be a good one for you and, as always, I wish you “Tight Lines!”


Peter Lax GAIC/L2CCA

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Hints & Tips – February

Date Added: 21/01/2018

Fly fishing tuition & guiding on Chatsworth Fly fishery, Haddon Hall Fly fishery, & Cressbrook & Litton Fly fishery. I offer Instruction, Coaching & Guiding on all of these stunning Peak District trout stream fisheries as well as some beautiful local still water fisheries.
The 2018 Season starts on the 1st April and I have already taken a lot of bookings for early to mid season.
If you are thinking about having a Fly fishing Lesson or booking a guided day with me or with anyone for that matter then here are a few things to consider:

Book early to ensure you aren’t disappointed. Remember the river fisheries only allow so many rods on the water each day and Instructors usually have a very busy diary too. Trying to fix a date that suits you, the instructor, & the fishery isn’t always simple at short notice.
If you are new to Fly fishing then don’t be tempted to buy tackle before your lesson. The instructor will be able to advise you on a suitable outfit based on where you intend to do your future fishing and you will have a much better idea of what you are looking for after the session. The Instructor will also be able to arrange the loan/rental of tackle in the meantime.
If you already have tackle then take it along and if it is suitable for the place where you are to fish it will enable you to learn with the tackle you are familiar with.
Be prepared to be flexible as spate rivers are at the mercy of the weather and your instructor may have to rearrange your fishing day if the river conditions are too dangerous. All river days have an element of risk but a good instructor should try to minimise the risks where possible.
Make a list of things you would like to ask and be clear about what you want from the day. If you are paying an instructor it is better to learn about such things as casting, river craft, fishing techniques, entomology (bugs) etc. rather than just to “catch a fish”. There is a saying “give a man a fish and his family will eat for a day – teach him to fish and he will feed his family forever. Well do you want to catch a fish on the day or learn how to catch them for the rest of your life. Only you can make that choice.
Finally Fly fishing is the most difficult way of catching a fish with rod & line. It’s about having fun & enjoying yourself trying to outsmart a supreme predator in its own environment. So don’t be apprehensive about doing things wrong or showing yourself up. Go and enjoy yourself – I always do!

As always I wish you “Tight Lines!”
Peter Lax
(GAIC/L2CCA) Professional Fly fishing Instructor, Licensed Coach & Experienced Guide.

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