It’s been a few years since I’ve visited the Albury Estate‘s fisheries in the Surrey Hills. My membership card no longer works on the access gate, but a timely intervention from the bailiff smooths the way. He hands over a new card and four ‘fish-tokens’ (£12.50 each). The fishery is very quiet this early in the season, just one or two other anglers are trying their luck.

I much prefer river fishing for wild brown trout, but this is an easy way of dusting off those fly-fishing cobwebs for a new season. Another reason, is that my father is visiting me for his birthday, and this is an easy-ish way of (almost) guaranteeing him a fish.

The recent rainfall and a brown algae bloom are making the lakes look a little murkier than usual. I don’t see any surface activity on Mill Lake – the small of this venue’s two lakes – so I tie on a gold-ribbed hare’s ear and make a few casts into the pool of the river Tillingbourne. The water here is perhaps even muddier, so I quickly abandon this and set up on Belmont Lake.

I leave the GRHE on my line to see how the rainbows like that. Not much it turns out. Frustratingly, I can see several rainbow trout swimming barely a rod’s length away uninterested in my offering. I switch to a blue-flash damsel. I get a few takes but nothing connects for more than a few seconds. A chap, who introduces himself as John, wanders over. He’s had some luck on a fly which closely resembles the gold-beaded pheasant tail, which I have in my box. It can’t do any worse, so I try with that fly. I get a take immediately, it pulls for a second, and it’s off.

I take a break from the lake and return to the river, ignoring the hissing canada geese protecting their young. I explore some of the faster water, hoping for a wild brown trout. In the pool under a small weir, I hook into a feisty fish. This river-trained fish gave a good bend in the rod, as i struggled to get it into my scoop net. For a second I thought it might have been a brown, but no, it’s a standard 2lb stocked rainbow.

The fish is on the bank and unceremoniously banged on the head (there’s no catch-and-release in the Estate’s waters).

I see my father hook into a trout for himself using the same pheasant tail nymph. I help with the netting duties, and land a fish a bit larger than my own.

I return to my original spot on the lake. I fancied my chances with a black buzzer with a large red bead for a head. The trout liked it too. In less than a minute I’d hooked into another rainbow, and with a little struggle, had it on the bank.

Total Catch:

  • 2 Rainbow Trout (Pheasant Tail (Gold Nugget) x 1, Nugget Buzzer Black & Red x 1)