Rutland and Eyebrook

The midlands reservoirs offer some of the best still water trout angling in Europe, let alone the UK. The rich, fertile waters support a vast array of wildlife, and the trout are at the top of the food chain - assuming you discount the anglers and ospreys. Looking over the side of the boat in the shallows is like peering into a giant aquarium, with shoals of countless coarse fry, which are themselves well-fed on the abundant subsurface insect life. In contrast to their upland reservoir counterparts, upon stocking, trout begin piling on the weight and gaining condition.

The superb example on the right was sweeping through shoals of pin fry within inches of the surface on a warm June day - the trout hunt in packs and drive the fry up to the surface, leaving no escape as they crash into the tightly packed shoals - it's no fun being a small fry in these parts. Catching these fish entails casting an imitation fry pattern into the path of a feeding fish and hanging on to your rod, although an equally good tactic is to cast your flies into any visible shoal of fry and wait for the action, since once fry are on the menu the trout are never far away. This fish shows all the hallmarks of a well-mended, naturalised trout. They often become predominantly silver, with a slate blue back - in many ways they resemble fresh run sea trout. The other features are the clearly defined edges of the fins, and the metallic pigmenation that extends into the rays of the tail fin. Simply stunning.

Pin fry feeder rainbow trout from boat Rutland reservoir


At 3,200 acres, Rutland is the largest man made reservoir in Northern Europe, Rutland was the first reservoir to be stocked with rainbows shortly after its opening in the 1970s. The first few sessions left the unwitting anglers shell-shocked as their conventional trout tackle failed to tame these unruly beasts - local tackle shops did a roaring trade as folk flocked to buy stronger equipment designed for migratory sea trout and grilse.

Since those early days, the equipment may have changed, but the trout haven't and you can be sure that your skills will be well tested landing a Rutland rainbow. Rutland is a large reservoir and can be an intimidating place for the fledgling boat angler; the weather can change quickly and you can suddenly find yourself in very choppy conditions. The fish are also more spread out and you will often need to use sinking lines to present your flies at the correct depth from the boat.

Through my contacts with local anglers I am kept up to date with the current favoured areas and tactics, and can speed up the learning process for you in taming this large water. I will supply you with a boat seat for the day to keep you comfortable and give you a good vantage point to spot any surface feeding fish, and we will get the opportunity to use several different tactics throughout the day, including the washing line, free-lined nymphs/buzzers and sunk line work/pulling tactics.

Eyebrook Reservoir with fields of yellow rapeseed flowers in background


Eyebrook is smaller than Rutland and has a slightly higher density, making it better suited to less experienced boat anglers. Buzzers, diawl bachs and dries are all taken with gusto. Eyebrook is also said to be one of the most picturesque of UK reservoirs - I'll let the picture do the talking.