I decided to spend an evening session down at Albury to see if I could catch a wild brown trout from two of the estate’s fisheries. A fixed target like this is seldom achieved in fishing– which is of course what keeps it interesting – but I find it is always good to work towards some arbitrary goal. However, I did get a surprise catch today…


I read the book of the day’s catches. Seeing a number of wild brown trout already caught I wondered if this was good news or bad. Good – the fish are there and biting; Bad – a caught fish will be wary and will flee any gold-beaded nymph. One look at the pea-green soup of the main 4-acre lake, meant that I was destined to concentrate on the River section regardless.

Nearing midsummer, the bank-side foliage was luxuriant, making for trickier casting. The river was milk chocolate coloured and higher than before, but with seemingly less flow.

Gunnera Mantica

On my previous trip, pulls on a Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear were plentiful; netted fish, not so much. This time, same nymph (size #14) got very little attention. Eventually I felt the weight of a small fish. Not the trout I expected. A palm-sized silver fish broke the surface. A roach was my initial thought, but the arched back and high dorsal fin indicated a young Common Bream. It was my first capture of this species. To be honest, it was my first ever sighting of this species, as I am  relative stranger to coarse fishing. This was a fish I wasn’t aware was even in the River Tillingbourne. I guess that bream were the cause of the bubble trails I’d seen in the deeper pools.

Common Bream, Abramis brama
Common Bream, Abramis brama

I could see several trout under a bush on the opposite bank. Their dark shapes rising to intercept insects presumably falling from the foliage above. Time for a dry fly? The overhanging branches made for a very tricky spot to put a fly. The flow of the river bypassed that area too meaning I couldn’t use the flow to bring the fly into the killing zone. I snapped off a couple of tippets by overcasting into the bush, but occasionally I managed to put the #14 Parachute Adams in just the right place. No interest from the fish though.

One good pull on a nymph was the only non-bream action all day, so after a couple of hours I moved on and made the short drive to Vale End…

Vale End

At seven in the evening, I arrived to find the lakes deserted. I would have my pick of fishing spots. I chose to fish the large river pool at the exit of the Mill Lake where I had previously caught a small brown trout on my first cast. One good pull on the GRHE was all I got here today. Fish were rising but my Parachute Adams was similarly ignored.

I had a perfunctory look at the large Belmont Lake. Several fish were jumping clear with loud splashes. Maybe taking the mayfly which were all around? In the clear water at the top end of the lake, I spotted an aggregation of rainbow trout.  They swam nose to tail in a tight circle almost breaking the surface. I wondered if I could get them to rise to a mayfly pattern. Despite me casting the fly right amongst them, the trout were not inclined to take it. On my retrieve of the drowned mayfly, a couple of fish give chase. I wasn’t having that. It was going to be dry fly or nothing today for rainbows. I whisked the fly away. It would have been all too easy to land a bagful of fish by pulling a lure through this school, but that wasn’t what I was after today. (If I hadn’t caught a fish at all today, I would have bagged one just to avoid the blank).

I returned to the river until my polarized sunglasses made it too dark to see. No wild brown trout today, but a new species, so I’m happy to add it to the list of coarse fish I’ve caught on the fly. (Perch, Roach, Barbel, Common Bream).


Total Catch:

  • 1 Common Bream (Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear (Gold Nugget))