Monday, 9 August 2010

An Afternoon at Errwood Reservoir

Errwood Reservoir in the stunning Goyt Valley

I was delighted to have the opportunity to fish at Errwood Reservoir yesterday, just a couple of miles outside Buxton amidst the beautiful scenery of Derbyshire's Goyt Valley. I'd arranged to meet up with Commo and Mick (aka Bonehead) at around 10am in Leek from where we'd make our way, in our dodgy vans to the picturesque venue.

A few months ago I was contacted by Ian Gould, secretary of the Errwood Fly Fishing Club. He asked me if I would be interested in selling day tickets for the 85 acre reservoir, through The Wine Shop in Leek. I agreed straight away. Not only would I get new faces through the door of our shop in Leek, it would also give me extra opportunities to blether about fishing.

Other than the lochs of Islay, it's rare that I get to enjoy a little still water fishing as I've been keen to explore the rivers on my DRAC and LADFFA tickets, and so, I had a job to decide what to pack in terms of tackle for the outing. On Islay, I enjoy fishing the lochs with my 8ft 6" 4wt Hardy Demon, much to the amusement of David Morris who always gives me grief about my choice of light tackle. It's great catching the wild brownies of up to 1.5lb and there's usually a stiff breeze to aid the casting. And so I thought that I'd get away with it on Errwood too....

King Commo of the Reservoirs into his first Errwood Rainbow

Earlier in the morning the weather was quite dreach and we'd driven over the roaches in a blanket of cloud and drizzle, but as we arrived at Errwood, conditions were much drier, warmer and overcast, all in all looking good for the fishing ahead, and there were plenty of rises too. There was an angler coming off as we arrived and he advised that the fish were near the surface and he'd been taking them on red diawl bachs.

I was able to do a little preparation before I attempted to fish at Errwood. The fishing club has an excellent website containing an array of useful information for the angler, whether a member of the club or the occasional visitor on a day ticket. There's all the information you need for a good days fishing from how to get there, to where to park, what methods to use and a map (see below) that's linked to specific information about all the various locations on the reservoir.

The club also hosts it's very own forum, and I'd used this to get information from members about how and where to fish and I found this to be very helpful. Without this info, we could well have spent an hour wondering about where to start. I'd also arranged to meet up with Ian and he found us later on at Duffer's Bank...the perfect spot for Commo, Bonehead and I!

Please click on the map below to expand.

Initially, I thought I'd be clever and set up like I would at a loch with a team of 3 flies. An LTD sedge on the first dropper, then a black bibio with a red flash, followed by a weighted pink tailed hare's ear nymph on the point. I had little success on this, although I did have a couple of large rainbow's chasing the nymph right into the bank and creating huge boils and bow waves as they did so. Commo was enjoying most success, he gave up quite early on nymphs and the like preferring a huge bushy daddy, which did the trick almost immediately. Well done Commo!

I pinched his idea early on and did have a couple of takes but it wasn't until I tried a static cdc emerger that I had any real success in the form of a rainbow trout. We'd noticed that the fish did seem to patrol the banks, appearing in our swims at regular intervals. Most fish were topping and tailing but I took my first fish when there wasn't any visible surface activity and the 2 1/2 lb fish came from the depths like a missile, battering my small cdc fly, and actually hitting it that hard that it will never be used again.

Commo does it again on the daddy

Commo stuck to his daddy patterns and quickly took another great looking rainbow on a black daddy, basically the biggest in his fly box. By this time, Bonehead was following suit with his fly selection and he too was beginning to land fish.

Before long we were joined by Ian Gould who offered me some great advice. He was a little perplexed by my choice of rod and particularly the length of my leader, which was about 5ft. I asked him how long my leader should be and he said he never fishes with a leader if less than 16ft! He kindly gave me a couple of the biggest flies I have ever seen...big hairy green things with huge black eyes, this would do the trick he assured me, as I couldn't help imagining the flies squaring up with the rainbows their enormity being so vast.

Anyway, he was of course correct, and I'd managed to "match the minnow" and it wasn't long before I was into a good sized fish that bent the rod right over as I'd quickly retrieved my aesthetically challenged imitation through the murky depths of Errwood Reservoir.

By 4pm, Commo and Bonehead had 3 decent trout each in their tackle bags, each destined for the dinner table. I'd had a nice brace of rainbows and it was decided that we should each point our dodgy vans towards Stoke and to head back home over the rugged roaches.

EFFC offers day tickets at £15 each that can be purchased at various local outlets including The Wine Shop, 22 Russell Street, Leek, SY13 5JF. 01538 382 408. The club also offers an annual membership that is set at an incredibly reasonable price...more info on the club website. The fishing season takes place between the 3rd Saturday in March until 31st October. As well as the stocked rainbow trout their is also a population of native wild brown trout.

To sum up, we had a really enjoyable afternoon at Errwood. The Goyt Valley is an absolutely stunning part of the Peak District National Park and an area that I'm very much looking to exploring with the kids of the remainder of the summer holidays. The fishing is cracking with an abundance of good sized fish that are more than willing to take the dry fly, even huge ones, and at close quarter. The parking is great, and the company is good too, fishing for normal folk with a complete lack of pretence, something that we could do with more of on the river bank.


Ian with a good sized rainbow caught on a previous occasion


  1. Woody, I totally endorse your comments. A great day and bargain fishing for the stillwater trout angler! Ny advice for anyone planning a trip is to take a break from the fishing, eat your packed lunch and have a look at the amazing scenery around you. Stunning! I confess this was something I didn't do. Next time I will not be so eager to take my limit so will make a chilled day of it. Camera and binos a must!

  2. ...big hairy green things with huge black eyes...

    Dave, that sound like a tricky proposition. It would have been handy to have Lord Rocher with you to advise whether to attach it to your leader or shag it.
    Cheers, Dave.