Rutland Water is situated in the Gwash Valley in the UK’s smallest historic county, Rutland, in the East Midlands. The reservoir itself sits between four counties: Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, and Northamptonshire. Because of its geography Rutland’s is accessible to anglers from all parts of the country.
Situated only a two hour drive from East London, Leeds from the North, Oxford from the South West and Norwich from the East.
One of the most iconic images of Rutland Water is one of the most picturesque churches in the UK, Normanton Church. If you happen to be fishing from a boats you can get some great views of this amazing building perched on the causeway.
By surface area Rutland Water is the largest reservoir in England. Filled by the River Nene and Welland, this 3842 acre reservoir is one of Europe’s premier trout waters. The water is so vast that it even has a 37km track around the perimeter for walkers and cyclists. Don’t worry they are nowhere near the bank.
The trout fishing season at Rutland Water runs from 13th March to 31st January and fly fishing can take place from either the bank and boat. I like to fish from a boat as there is so much water to explore. Anglian Water also allow predator fishing for Zander and Pike between October 1st and January 31st but only from a boat.
There are lots boats available for hire from the fishing lodge and a well stocked shop where you can buy your permits. There are a whole host of tickets available but to give you an idea, an 8 fish ticket will set you back around £29 and boat hire for the day £27. The link here will take you to the website where you can see all the options available.
Rutland is renown for its quality stock of large Rainbow and Brown trout. The fish are fighting fit with big powerful tails and can break you off if you’re using anything less than an 10lb leader. Because of the strength of these fish I like to use 12lb fluorocarbon leader.
As with most reservoirs nowadays there is a large resident population of Cormorants. Some estimating as many as 250. I have caught several fish with beak scars on their backs, but the trout are so strong, that a lot of fish manage to get away.
The birds stay well clear of fisherman and will not come within 200 meters of you.
Rutland is renown for being a versatile venue when it come to methods. You can fish dry flies when the weather is right, buzzers and nymphs and lures.
The most successful methods for me over the last decade have been;
BUZZERS ON THE BUNG
This exciting method was taught to me by Mr Rutland himself: Al Owen. Al is a living legend on Rutland and knows every trick in the book. The basic method is a floating line with a string of three buzzers suspended under a bung. The bung is basically a strike indicator and is a great starting method for beginners and intermediates. The easiest way to explain the set up is in the diagram. If you are fishing over 14 feet of water, your point fly, (that’s the fly at the end of the line) should be around 2-3 feet off the bottom. The flies above should them be spaced 2-3 feet above that, all the way to the bung.
Even though the bung is just a small float with a hook in it, the trout will still attack it so beware. Make sure you use a minimum of 10lb Fluorocarbon. I have found 12lb is perfect. To fish “The Bung” as it is commonly known, simply cast out, keep a direct line and watch the bung. Once the bung vanishes just lift the rod into the fish. Avoid striking as you won’t need to. You can occasionally pull back to allow the buzzers to lift up in the water. This is very effective when the fish a wary. Quite regularly more than one fish can take a fly so keep your wits about you.
TUBES & SNAKES
When the conditions are too windy for the bung my favourite method is “On The Rudder” with tube and snake “flies”. The principle is simple. Fish a fast sinking line with 12 feet of 12lb Fluorocarbon and a tube or snake fly with a double hook. Let all the fly line out plus a little backing and hold the rod to the side. The boat will be towed along by the wind and the fly dragged behind. Get ready for some ferocious bites and don’t be surprised if you get a pike of two.
There are plenty of lovely bed and breakfasts around Rutland and some superb restaurants. If you want to stay on site you can stay at the Normanton Park Hotel. With grounds that extend pretty much to the waters edge, it is an ideal place to stay if you visit for a couple of days. Normanton Park Hotel
Have you ever thought about cold smoking your trout? If so take a look at how I do it. Cold Smoked Trout Made Easy
If you fancy getting involved in fly fishing Rutland Water then why not take a look at The Rutland Water Fly Fishers website click here https://rwff.org.uk/