Sean’s first Day On Rutland After Lockdown

Rutland water boat fishing one man in a boat

Sean’s first Day On Rutland After Lockdown


I always struggle to sleep the night before a fishing trip but Monday night was even worse, it was the night before the big daddy of fly-fishing reopened Rutland Water after lockdown and boy was, I excited.

With no information to go on, it was a blank canvas but I think sometimes you can get to much information that it makes you chop and change your mind constantly so it was actually quite refreshing.

As I motored out of the harbour, I had already decided I was going to go and venture up the south arm. I got to NZ point and there was an extended line of around 7 boats drifting out from hide away bay towards green bank. There was no chance of squeezing in, the boys up there were on the hunt for some of Rutland’s big over wintered browns that haven’t been fished for since last year. Toff Crowther has spent years chasing big fish at Rutland and his hard work was rewarded with a much sort after double figure Rutland brown, great angling mate, chuffed for you.

I decided I would start at cattle trough and work my way around Lax hill and into Manton bay. I had opted to fish a 12Ft Slow tip with a team of buzzers. Bright sunshine and high temperatures had me thinking the fish would be sitting 8-10ft in the water. The first 3 hours saw me go from Cattle trough and Manton bay with not even a touch. I began to question my tactics. Was I set up wrong or was I just not over fish? I tried changing the point fly to something buoyant to hold it up and still nothing. 

It was now 1100hrs and I was chasing my tail. I managed to hook into a fish off the Golf course but by no means was it pretty. Flicking the flies out the back of the boat to prepare to motor off as I was pretty much up against the bank and boom the line ripped out my had, the fish took in no more than half a foot of water. 2 more fish quickly came from as tight as I could get to the bank. In all honesty it was hard work being that tight to the bank on your own in the boat, lots of snags for the drogue to catch but you needed it to keep the boat straight so a good work out, in and out with the drogue start the engine etc.

I decided to move over to Yellow stone between K and M buoy, it’s a favourite drift of mine and it’s always good for a fish, where better to go when your struggling to find your mojo. I had changed tactics now, floater, booby on the point and 3 nymphs, my day was soon about to change, the first drift between the buoys I took 3 fish. The neighbours had asked for a fish so it was quickly dispatched and spooned, I needed to see what these fish where feeding on so I could target them better. As a pulled the spoon out it was over flowing with shrimp, spilling off the spoon and out of the fish’s mouth. They must have had a 10-course banquet of shrimp down there. That made me tinker with my set up. I added an eggstasy fab to the top dropper, kept the booby on the point and changed the nymphs for 2 hare’s ears. I wanted to control the speed that the shrimp patterns fell through the water to get the best presentation I could. This worked I was now catching fish regularly and getting lots of interest. I was back in the game! I relaxed back and eat my pack lunch. The Mrs is working from home so instead of me throwing a piece of ham between 2 bits of bread I got a 5 star lunch made by my lovely fiancée Nicola! Cheers love.

While eating my posh sarnies my mind went back to June last year when I fished an Army internal match at Rutland. It was a tricky few days, the fish at the time were hard on the pin fry and tricky to catch. I remembered doing particularly well out in the open water at L buoy which is situated in no man’s land in the middle of the south arm between yellow stone and Gibbets. The method that weekend had been a pink fab and 3 hares ears fished static on the angle and just let the wind and the movement of the boat swing them round and the fish would hang themselves. I had to go out into the middle and give it a go. 

I set up about 30yds behind L buy and the drift was taking me across the open water down towards NZ point. First cast the line was ripped out my hand, missed it, second cast the line ripped out my hands, missed it again. Five minutes later I hooked and landed a cracker around the 3/3 1/2 lb mark. I stayed out in the open water for a few hours and caught a boat load of fish, the stamp of fish was far better than the fish tight into the banks, that’s what I found anyway. The key was to cast short, this was keeping the flies in the top couple of foot and just keep up with the line, the ripple did the rest and the fish just swam off with it. I have had some good days out in the open water at Rutland, it’s one of them things you need to be confident with, eventually you will stumble across the pods swimming about. I find they get less pressure so they don’t mess about when taking your flies.

I had a look in sailing club late afternoon but it was quiet, I finished the day at P buoy into Spud bay. I managed a few more fish fishing the same method as out in the open water only difference was, I got aggressive pulls not straight lock ups. These fish had a slight bit of pressure due to the bank fishermen being in there in the morning and the fish had already been pricked. If I got a pull and it didn’t shoot off a couple off quick figure of 8’s did enough to get some aggression going in the trout and for them to come back for a second attempt. The water quality in the south was brilliant using polarized glasses a few times I was able to watch small pods of fish swim 3-4 foot under the boat.


Angling Water did a great job with the new restrictions getting everyone on and off the water safely and with little hassle. They started getting boats out bang on 0800hrs. I was 24th in line and was in the boat by 0825hrs.  Point to note though, they have a queuing system to gain entry to the pontoon, to the right of the barrier of the que they have made a fishing kit drop off at the front of the que so you don’t have to stand in the que carrying your kit. Cheers Andy for pointing it out to me as I was leaving. You could have told me while I was queuing with my box on my back.



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