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Lakes – Season Summary

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19 March – Little Bognor

Spring – The season opened on 17 March. The winter maintenance work had been completed, the rain in February had filled the lakes and the trout had been stocked. However, for most members, the snow and ice delayed fishing until the end of the month. The catch and release trial at Little Bognor was very popular during March and April, particularly with members who normally fish the river. Of the 99 fish caught at Little Bognor in the first 9 days of the season, 88 were returned.

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15 April – Little Springs

The stocking of Great Springs was delayed a month to allow the water to settle. Spring finally arrived in mid April, the rainbow lakes became more productive and some good size trout were caught. The first Mayfly was seen on 3 May at Little Springs. The spring Barbeque was well attended and several good fish were caught from Upper and Lower Figgs.

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3 May – Mayfly at Little Springs

During May olives and mayfly continued to hatch in good numbers around the lakes. The most popular lakes were Great Springs and Little Springs, members continued to catch and release good numbers of fish at Little Bognor.

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14 June – 4lb 8ozs from Little Bognor

Summer – The cold and wet weather at the end of May brought the main Mayfly hatch to an end but small numbers continued to appear throughout June. The Orvis Day at Great Springs on 9 June was well attended. The cool, spring fed lakes at Little Bognor became more popular as the water temperature rose in the other lakes.

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30 July – Great Springs

During June the south east of England had less than 10% of the normal summer rainfall and temperatures reached 30 degrees. The fish in the rainbow lakes became lethargic and fed only at dawn and dusk.

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30 July – Little Bognor

By late July the daytime temperatures exceeded 35 degrees and the high water temperatures meant that trout could only be caught at Little Bognor and along the river where the water was cooler. By early August the water temperature at Great Springs was 24 degrees. Later in August occasional rain showers, chilly nights and overcast days reduced the water temperature and trout could once more, be caught at dawn and dusk.

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17 September – Little Springs

Autumn – In early September the water temperature had dropped to 19 degrees and it continued to fall throughout the month. The lakes were restocked and by the end of September, the numbers of trout caught had returned to normal. Lower Figgs was drained and left fallow to kill the invasive Canadian Pondweed. During October the lakes were stocked and some exceptionally large trout were released.

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15 October – Great Springs

In the last week of October trout over 6lbs were caught from Luffs and Great Springs and members continued to catch and release good numbers of fish from Little Bognor.

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19 November – Little Springs

The November weather reduced the number of visits to the lakes but some beautiful fish were caught including trout of 7lb 2ozs and 9lb 12ozs.

Despite the ‘Beast from the East’ and the extreme summer temperatures, the lakes were popular throughout the season and over 1,000 trout were caught.

Maintenance work to improve the lakes is planned for the winter. Members are encouraged to attend the Annual General Meeting to discuss next seasons fishing.

3 December

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9lb 12oz caught at Great Springs by Mark Knight

The gales and heavy rain during the week meant that only the keenest members visited the lakes for one last attempt to catch a monster trout before the end of the season.

Two excellent fish were caught, both from Great Springs, weighing 7lb 2ozs and 9lb12ozs.

Members visited the lakes on 23 occasions and caught a total of 17 trout, 4 of which were over 2lbs. Twelve of the fish were from Little Bognor and they were all returned to the lakes to overwinter.

The provisional total of trout caught from the lakes this season is 1004.

There will be regular updates to the website during the winter to keep members informed about maintenance work, the AGM, news and preparations for the new season.

26 November

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The hard frost on Wednesday morning froze the water troughs and sent the trout to the deep, warmer water. Wet and windy weather later in the week continued to discourage members from visiting the lakes.

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Members visited the lakes on 21 occasions and caught 8 trout, including 4 fish over 2lbs.

Trout of 7lb 2ozs and 9lb 12ozs were caught at Great Springs. Both fish were caught on sinking lines and large flies fished deep. The big Trout are feeding on coarse fish fry and if members brave the poor weather conditions forecast for the next few days, deep fished fry imitations may result in even bigger trout.

The season ends on Friday 30 November.

19 November

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The changes in the weather didn’t discourage members from visiting the lakes but the trout had moved out of the shallow water and were difficult to find. The water at Little Springs and Lower Bognor was slightly coloured but the strong winds blew the autumn leaves into the margins clearing the surface of the lakes.

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Members visited the lakes on 29 occasions and caught 14 trout, 5 of which were over 2lbs, including a fish of 3lb 2ozs from Luffs.

The cold east winds have driven the fish into deep water and a sinking line with a bright fly will produce the best results.

12 November

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Lakes – members visited the lakes on 33 occasions and caught 47 trout, 19 of which were over 2lbs. Thirty five of the fish were caught at Little Bognor including 6 wild fish.

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Members visited Great Springs on 12 occasions in search of the exceptionally large trout. Several trout over 2lbs were caught but the larger fish evaded capture. Searching the deeper water with a fry imitation such as a Cats Whisker or Appetizer will increase the chances of a personal best trout to finish the season.

 

5 November

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The last three fishing days of the river season were very productive and members took advantage of the good weather to catch their last fish. The lakes looked beautiful with the trees showing off their autumn colours in the bright sunshine.

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Lakes – Fish were rising at Little Bognor this morning and the fish in Great Springs were very active, taking buzzers in the shallows at the top of the lake. Members visited the lakes on 39 occasions and caught 30 trout, 10 of which were over 2lbs. Most of the fish were caught from Great Springs and Little Bognor.

River – In the last three days of the season members visited the river on 19 occasions and caught 17 fish. Fifteen of the fish were returned to the river and will hopefully be caught again next season. Nine of the fish were over 2lbs and one trout weighed 3lbs. Two sea trout were caught at Rotherbridge weighing 3lb and 2lb 8ozs. The exceptional sport therefore continued until the very end of the season.

Lost property – A dark green fleece was left at Keeper’s Bridge on the last day of the season and is now in the fishing hut at Great Springs for the owner to collect.

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River Season Summary

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5 April – Above Keeper’s Bridge

Spring – the river season opened on Tuesday 3 April but high and coloured water prevented most members from fishing. No fish were caught from the river until the third week of April when two overwintered fish were caught at Rotherbridge. During the high water members who usually fish the river visited Little Bognor to take advantage of the catch and release trial. The bad weather continued into May and although there were good hatches of mayfly at the lakes, consistent sport on the river did not start until the second week of May.

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28 May – The New Riffle

There were good hatches of mayfly during the warm humid weather. In late May the first sea trout was caught and there was a regular evening rise to mayfly spinners. By early June the river had dropped to the normal summer level but occasional rain encouraged more sea trout to run up the river.

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2 June – Mayfly Spinner

Summer – The rain and cold winds in early June ended the main hatch of mayfly but they continued to appear sporadically until the end of the month. During the middle of June sea trout were seen in the fish pass. Members were consistently catching both wild and stocked fish in the evenings around Keeper’s Bridge. By mid June the bright sunshine and high water temperatures were starting to impact the fish and most of the trout were caught late in the evening. The majority of the stock fish caught were returned to the river.

By the end of the month the long hot summer had started. The South of England had less than 10% of the normal June rainfall. In early July the temperatures were over 30 degrees, the extreme heat and intense sunlight made fishing during the day very difficult. Only the cool spring fed lakes at Little Bognor and the river were productive. Dawn and dusk were the best times to fish the river. At those times there were good hatches of olives and midges. The hot weather continued through mid July to the end of the month when the temperature exceeded 35 degrees. After a brief spate a good sea trout of about 4lbs was caught and a bigger fish lost.

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6 August at Keeper’s Bridge

During the first two weeks of August showers of rain caused the river to rise and fall but it remained fishable and members continued to catch trout on both nymphs and dry flies. By late August the night time temperatures had dropped and the fishing improved. A trout of 4lb 4ozs was caught and the most productive Beats were around Keeper’s Bridge. The Rother is known to be a ‘late’ river and we were all anticipating good sport during the Autumn.

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29 September – Above Keeper’s Bridge

Autumn – clear skies and chilly nights at the start of September and occasional showers, refreshed the river. The streamer weed started to die back. Fishing was no longer confined to dawn and dusk. In the first week of September 41 fish were caught including 5 over 2lbs and 3 sea trout, the biggest of which was 6lbs.

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8 September – Above the Fish Pass

Sea trout continued to be caught throughout the Autumn and the average size was 3 to 4lbs. The Autumn equinox was accompanied by storm force winds and heavy rain, several days fishing were lost. During October the fishing continued to improve, fish were taking deep sunk nymphs during bright days and occasionally rising for olives and midges when the weather was overcast. The penultimate week of the season produced 66 fish during perfect fishing weather. The river had lived up to its reputation for excellent sport late in the season.

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15 October – Caught below Keeper’s Bridge

Catch and Release – the vast majority of the stock fish that were caught were returned to the river. Towards the end of the season the released fish became sensitive to shadows, drag and familiar flies. All of the wild trout and sea trout were released.

The Numbers – provisional figures for the season are as follows; 590 trout were caught plus 43 wild trout and 18 sea trout. The biggest sea trout was estimated at 6lbs. The total catch is a record for the river. On average the stocked fish were bigger and of excellent quality.