Fishing on Esthwaite Water

Lying at the fringe of Hawkshead village, Esthwaite water spans 280 acres in the beautiful southern Lake District. Similar in characteristics to its close neighbour Windermere, Esthwaite features a ranging contour of deep and shallow water, with numerous bays and small enclaves framed with rushes and lilies.  Having fished the Lake District my entire life, Esthwaite was the one water in which I had never wet a line. It was with excitement then, that I learned my colleague Rob and I were to fish the “Tackle Dealers Pairs Competition” on behalf of John Norris of Penrith.

[caption id="attachment_717" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Esthwaite Water"]Esthwaite Water[/caption]

Arriving at 9am, fishing conditions looked perfect, overcast and with a steady ripple. We were greeted by Dave, who runs Hawkshead Trout fishery on Esthwaite, and introduced to other competitors whilst the rules of the day were explained. The fishery offers a fantastic range of species and sport for the angler, including Brown and Rainbow trout, Pike, Perch, Rudd and Roach which can be enjoyed on a variety of methods. Today however, rainbow trout on the fly was the name of the game. The rules were simple, fish all day, take 2 fish, and the heaviest brace would win. This introduced an element of luck and judgement, but really, we were just heading out to have an enjoyable day.

At around 9.30am we silently propelled out of the landing stage in one of the spacious boats, complete with electric outboard, and decided on a sheltered bay on the far shoreline. As we approached we saw fish on the surface, and immediately we had plucks and pulls on our flies as we started our first drift. Before long the first fish fully committed, and I landed a plump rainbow of around 1lb 8 oz. repeating this drift we soon took over a dozen fish between 1-2lbs, falling to both mini lures on my rod, and a team of buzzers fished by Rob.

[caption id="attachment_718" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Our Rainbow Trout Catch"]Our Rainbow Trout Catch[/caption]

What followed was a genuinely brilliant days fishing. We caught fish on buzzer tactics, on stripped lures, and on nymph patterns. The fish were all between 1lb and 3lb, giving spirited and high speed fights. With fish stocked to over 13lb, we were unlucky not to contact anything larger; though both Rob and I lost fish that we suspected were of a large class.

At 4pm, we downed rods and guided the boat back towards base for the weigh in. Our brace had brought us a credible 2nd place, and the other competitors had also had a fantastic day, catching good numbers of fish. The biggest fish on the day had been a prime 8lb’er, taken on a tiny orange cruncher.

[caption id="attachment_719" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Time to start fishing"]Time to start fishing[/caption]

The hospitality, quality of fishing and advice provided by Dave was excellent, and the fishery is well worth a visit. With a well stocked tackle shop on site, boats for hire, and refreshments available too, Esthwaite is a great day out. With the possibility of contacting a real lunker, coupled with scenery and variety of fishing available, I will definitely be heading back as soon as possible!

Tight lines

Phil Ramsden

Editor says well done to Rob and Phil