Draycote, Eyebrook, Thornton End of Season 2020

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Draycote, Eyebrook, Thornton

2020 End of Season News

That’s the 2020 season completed, boats & engines are off the water for a deep clean & maintenance, staff will be enjoying a well earned rest as in 8 short weeks we start all over again at Thornton on 1st February 2021
This was my 38th year managing trout fisheries, during those years I have dealt with a number of events from heat waves, flooding, foot & mouth etc but none of those years threw up the difficulties & challenges that the Coronavirus Pandemic presented us with.
Looking back on the year I need to thank the Angling Trust for ensuring fishing was one of the first outdoor activities allowed to reopen after the first lock down & through their continued work with Sports England & Government kept us fishing from May onwards. I also need to thank the fisheries staff who adapted to work within the new Covid working guidelines, deep cleaning and disinfecting boats, life jackets and equipment daily, keeping themselves & our customers safe, our suppliers within the tackle & fish farms industry & you our customers who followed our new fishery working procedures / guidelines & John Horsey for having the confidence in us to run a safe Anglers World Final at Draycote during August.
During the first lock down fishing was suspended from March 23rd to the end of May, unfortunately it coincided with one of the best spring weather conditions we have enjoyed for a number of years, excellent weather & good hatches saw our resident fish feed freely undisturbed for those 10 weeks, it did however provide the fisheries with superb fishing when we did reopen.

Thornton at 70 acres the smaller of the three reservoir we manage returned a seasons rod average of 2.8 similar to the previous year, however this year the fishing remained consistent especially during the summer months & into the Autumn through to our last day on November 30th providing the most consistent fishing weave enjoyed in years.

During the latter part of the season, it was good to see grown on rainbows being caught with fish that were taken & spooned found to be feeding heavily on bloodworm, snails, buzzer & fry.
With Thornton being an old shallow reservoir built in 1853, its maximum depth at the dam of 30ft & fed by two streams with restricted summer flows we trialled a different stocking policy for 2020, stocking with smaller 1lb10oz to 2lb+ trout, with 1lb8oz – 1lb12oz trout during the warmer & traditionally our most difficult fishing months late June to August. I wanted to see if smaller stocked triploid rainbows would react better to the warmer summer conditions than our traditionally stocked 1lb12oz to 2lb+ rainbows

The trial worked with better consistent fishing returns despite the heatwave, I`ll be honest I received a few negative comments regarding the 1lb8oz to 1lb12oz, but our rod average increased, visiting rods caught and our visiting rod numbers during the summer increased. We should remember the word quality should reflect the condition of the trout we catch, full finned good condition, not their size

If you believe in global warming or not, one thing is certain were seeing different weather patterns to what we experienced 20 years ago, we as fishery managers constantly need to adapt to ensure we can provide as consistent seasons sport.

For 2021 we aim to stock with trout from 1lb8oz to 2lb+ this size range should ensure consistent fishing during the year


Eyebrook at 400+ acres is a popular midland reservoir, located on the private Eyebrook estate with fly fishing been the only permitted leisure pursuit allowed.

The Eyebrook is fortunate therefore to be a 400 acre water solely for fly fishermen to enjoy

Returning a rod average of 3.9 for the season boosted by a more consistent fishing period during the warmer summer months July to August with a stocking during that periods of smaller triploid rainbows of 1lb10oz to 1lb14oz, during the other months we stocked with rainbows from 1lb12oz to 3lb+ rainbows

Were fortunate at the Eyebrook to have a body of water rich with food items, buzzer`s, olive`s, mayfly, sedges, hog louse, freshwater shrimp, corixa, the most prolific number of damsels, snails, fry & blown on from the surrounding farmland, daddy long legs.

It’s not surprising therefore we see some superb grown on rainbows & brown trout with rainbows to 9lb7oz & browns to 17lb recorded during the latter part of the season, photographs on our social media pages Facebook www.facebook.com/FlyFishStore  Instagram www.instagram.com/flyfishstore/ Twitter www.twitter.com/FlyFishStore

With much of the focus on boat fishing across the larger Stillwaters it was particularly pleasing to once again watch our regulars enjoy their bank fishing during May to the end of October along Stoke Dry, Chestnut Tree, Hawthorns, dam wall & the netted bank with “matching the hatch” buzzer, sedges & damsels been key to their success especially if they were fishing into the evening and the evening rise.

For 2021 our planned stocking of 25,000 trout is a reflection of the increased number of day rods & the 2 & 3 day fishing breaks, competitions & angling club visits that will return during 2021.
20,000 of these trout will be in the 1lb10oz to 2lb4oz+ range but to ensure the Eyebrook fishes during the warm summer months 5,000 trout in the 1lb8oz to 1lb12oz range will be stocked during late June, July and early August.

We also allow limited fly fishing for the Pike & Perch at Eyebrook, this is strictly fly fishing only from boat or float tube & is limited to a maximum of 5 boats per day, for the past few years we have had pike of 30lb+ caught with 3lb+ perch

Draycote at 600+ acres the larger of our three reservoirs is a popular midland reservoir returning a rod average of 4.5 for the season

With most of our competitions, fishing break packages, group & club events cancelled due to Covid this year we were thankful once allowed to welcome back our members, day rods at the end of May, during that first month back they enjoyed a rod average of 7.0

We were especially proud to successfully & importantly safely host 100 anglers at the John Horsey Anglers World Competition Final, thanks to Kay Pittaway & her team at the Draycote Waterside Restaurant for providing takeaway pies & chips for the competitors. We also hosted a heat of the  Scierra Pairs & the TEFF / AT fundraiser arranged by Ian Coclough & Andy Taylor fished to a successful catch & release format.

With Draycote rich buzzer hatches, shrimp, snails & fry providing valuable food source for our resident trout we every year see our stock fish put on weight during the season with an increasing number of 3lb, 4lb, 5lb+ trout caught, photographs on our social media pages Facebook www.facebook.com/FlyFishStore  Instagram www.instagram.com/flyfishstore/ Twitter www.twitter.com/FlyFishStore

The bank fishing at Draycote is always better once the water level drops by a couple of feet, it took a bit longer this year for STW to begin drawing down, once they did the bank rods enjoyed good sport with the last 6 to 8 weeks seen the larger fish move in after the shrimp & fry.
For the boat anglers taking long drifts across open water & along the edge of the shoals with long leaders & sparsely tied nymph, buzzer & emerger patterns picked out the better trout throughout the season with fry patterns during the last month of the season off the edges of the shoals picking up 5lb+ trout

With Draycote depth of 65ft at the valve tower & its 90 to 100 yard long aerator pipe which helps to keep the water temperature for most of the summer below 20c we will be stocking Draycote with trout between 1lb14oz to 2lb8oz+

Looking forward to 2021
The news of the vaccines gives us hope that during 2021 we will slowly start to see a level of normality start to return to our fishing lives.

2021 will see our Eyebrook Tackle Shop become fully open with a range of demo fly lines, rods & float tubes for you to try.

Online Shop & Sales
We also have an online shop www.flyfishstore.co.uk during the next few weeks we will be adding items to or sales page keep checking to make sure you don’t miss out on a bargain!  https://www.flyfishstore.co.uk/shop/category/sale-items/
With the upturn in angling reported by the EA we have a number of tuition days & casting lessons which can be purchased as a Christmas gift voucher https://www.flyfishstore.co.uk/s=christmas+voucher&s_cs=true last posting date for Christmas vouchers 21st December

We also offer membership for individual fishery & our increasingly popular All water Membership for details, members receive discounted boat rates & 20% reduction on the RRP of any item of fishing tackle we stock
Draycote http://www.flyfishdraycote.co.uk/prices/season-permits/  

Call Draycote 01788 812018 email shop@flyfishstore.co.uk

Eyebrook http://www.flyfisheyebrook.co.uk/prices/season-permits/

Call Eyebrook 01536 770264 email shop@flyfishstore.co.uk

Thornton http://www.flyfishthornton.co.uk/season-permits/

Call Thornton 01530 230807 email shop@flyfishstore.co.uk

Christmas Shopping the Draycote & Eyebrook Lodges will be open on Saturday 19th December & Sunday 20th December from 10.00am – 2pm for you to call & pick up your Christmas vouchers, pick up a last minute gift or discuss our membership options

We look forward to welcoming you back in 2021
Thornton 1st February, Draycote 1st March & the Eyebrook 5th March

Wishing you all a safe Christmas & Happy New Year
Ifor & the fisheries team