The air was thick with mayfly. Some landed on the lake’s surface, sending out enticing concentric rings. I tied on a Mayfly Silhouette , and began casting…

Reports of a good mayfly hatch had drawn me down to Surrey. I was trying out the Vale End Fishery – the third venue in my trial of the Albury Estate’s four fisheries open to day ticket.  I started with an inspection of the River Tillingbourne. This small stream of clear water – only a rod’s width across – flows along the lake and is the source of the Albury Estate’s lakes’ water. My clumsy approach to the water spooked a decent size trout. It circled on the spot a few times, then disappeared. Careful inspection of the rest of the stream didn’t reveal any other fish, so I concentrated on the main Belmount Lake.

Vale End Fishery’s Belmount Lake

The lake was quite coloured. Especially when compared to the gin-clear water I’d experienced on the last visit to Weston Fishery.

Despite the abundance of the hatch, the trout seemed not to have learned to appreciate the bounty of Ephemeroptera on the lake’s surface. I didn’t witness much surface feeding activity, other than a few rainbows launching themselves clear of the water. My dry mayfly pattern couldn’t provoke any interest from the trout, so I switched to a Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear and flogged the water fruitlessly for another half-hour.

Blue Flash Damsel Size 10

Moving onto the opposite bank and tying on the ever-reliable Blue Flash Damsel proved more rewarding. Amongst a burst of feeding activity, I cast the fly , and hooked into a lively rainbow. The fish launched itself clear of the water three times, but the trout was well hooked, and a couple of minutes later the two-pounder was in the net.

Rainbow Trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss

I used my marrow spoon to try to determine what the fish were feeding on, but the result wasn’t conclusive.

On the stream behind me a couple of anglers – with lighter weight rods, and a higher level of skill than me – were trying their luck with dry flies. One claimed to have caught a few ‘tiddlers’ the other ‘had seen a few rises’. They didn’t have much success that I could see and either gave up or turned their attention to the main lake.

After a break for a late lunch, I tried a few more patterns and locations around the venue without troubling the trout any further. On the adjacent Mill Lake, one angler was having success on a variety of dry flies. A few last casts with the mayfly still didn’t produce, so at 8:30 pm with the real-life mayfly still flying around my ears, I called it a day.

Total Catch:

  • 1 Rainbow Trout (Blue Flash Damsel)