I used to be a regular visitor to Draycote water and had fished the reservoir for a number of seasons before Severn Trent closed the water to anglers because of plans to carry out building works on the visitors centre and car park. However, Severn Trent
were ordered to reduce bills by the water services regulation authority (Ofwat) and the plans were cancelled.
Now, in April 2011 Draycote is open again for fishing under the management of
Ifor Jones and Craig Barr. Craig will be a familiar face to many fly fishermen. He has fished for and managed the England fly fishing team and has been a regular on all the Anglian waters over the past 30 years.
On arrival at the reservoir we met up with Craig at the temporary fishing lodge. Craig told us that around five thousand fish had been stocked just a couple of weeks earlier and the fish were gorging themselves with black buzzers. We each
purchased a 1 fish catch and release ticket and were given a security code for the gate. The new rules at Draycote allow up to 30 vehicles access to the water and fishermen must park in the anglers car parks. No bank fishing is permitted on any of the dams
or stoned banks.
After a good chat with Craig, who was very helpful, we headed round to opposite side of the water to the 'Cornfields'. This was an area we were all familiar with and had caught well from in the past. On tackling up we could see clouds of black buzzers in
the air. Draycote has always been a great buzzer water and I remember similar days in April a number of seasons ago where we had great success fishing buzzers.
Conditions were fairly bright with just a light breeze. I opted for a long leader (around 20 feet) with a couple of weighted black buzzers, a size 12 on the dropper and a 10 on the point. The water was quite low and after wading in waist high I punched out
a long line and waited for the buzzers to sink before starting a slow figure of eight retrieve. After only a few feet of line had been retrieved I felt a good tug on the line and lifted into a fish on the first cast! This was only a stock fish of about a pound
and a half but I was pleased to get one on the bank right away.
The next fish came only a few casts later and this one felt heavier. Again, the fish was hooked a long way out and it started taking line as soon as I set the hook. Yards of backing peeled off the reel and I became doubtful about landing this one, but to
my relief the fish turned and came in towards me. After a good fight a fat rainbow of about 5 pounds came into the bank. Again, only a stock fish but I hadn't caught many fish of this size from Draycote.
I expected that would be the largest fish of the day but after another few minutes I landed one of about 7 pounds, again on a deeply sunk black buzzer fished at long range. In the bright conditions the fish were a long way out and most takes came within
the first few feet of the retrieve.
Neil was fishing about a hundred yards to my right and I had noticed him catching well too so I decided to go and get a few pictures. He told me that he had caught some lovely overwintered fish, one of 6 pounds and one of 4 pounds. He had been fishing a black
buzzer suspended below a dry fly, about seven feet down. Unfortunately he hadn't taken any photos and these would be the only overwintered fish caught on the day.
We continued to catch well on buzzers before stopping for a snack and deciding to move up just past Biggin Bay for a change of scenery. By now conditions had changed and it was now overcast but still fairly calm. The trees come close to the water here restricting
your back cast so we were forced to fish a little closer to the bank. It didn't seem to matter though and Neil and Dad were both into fish immediately, Neil's was another fat rainbow of about 5 pounds, albeit a recently stocked fish.
We were shocked at how many large fish we were catching, both Neil and I caught numerous fish of between 3 and 5 pounds, with my biggest at 7 pounds and Neil's at 8. In the past we had been used to fish of about a pound and a half on average but today it
was rare to catch anything less than two pounds!
There were only a few other bank anglers out on the day but those we saw also looked to be catching well, with most of them fishing the bank close to the valve tower.
Seven o'clock fast approached and we decided to head down to Toft Shallows for the evening, in the hope of finding some of the overwintered fish. We were faced with a fairly strong headwind making casting a little difficult, so I shortened my leader to about
13 feet. Luckily the fish were very close to the bank here and all three of us were into fish in no time, still on buzzers.
At around half seven the wind died and the odd fish started to rise, but most of them were just beyond casting range and weren't rising regularly enough to encourage me to change to a dry fly so I stuck with my buzzers. I was fishing unweighted buzzers here
though as the fish had moved higher up in the water and it's much shallower in Toft in any case.
We continued to catch well here before packing up at 8:30 but none of us managed to hook into any overwintered fish here in Toft.
After a great days fishing I ended up with 30 fish, Neil had 16 and Dad 10. It was a shame not to see as many overwintered fish as we had hoped for, with Neil catching the only two, but the average size of fish caught was very impressive and in a few months
time when the condition of these fish has improved we could be in for some fantastic sport! I'm looking forward to fishing the evening rise later in the year and seeing those pin-sharp tails breaking surface like in the old days :-)
Useful Information for Draycote
Telephone: 01788 812 018
Manager: Ifor Jones Fishery Manager: Craig Barr
Opens Thursday 21st April - Close 30th November 2011
Fishery Open 7.30am Boats available from 8.30am
Bookings will be taken from Monday 18th April.
Choice of three all with a catch & release option.
6 Fish Limit + Catch & Release £24.00
6 Fish Limit + Catch & Release OAP / Disabled £22.00
3 Fish Limit + Catch & Release £20.00
3 Fish Limit + Catch & Release OAP / Disabled £18.00
1 Fish Limit + Catch & Release £16.00
1 Fish Limit + Catch & Release OAP / Disabled £15.00
Last Four Hours Ticket 1 Fish + Catch & Release £10.00
Last Four Hours Ticket 1 Fish + Catch & Release Oap / Disabled £ 9.50
Full Day Boat 2 Anglers £22
Full Day Boat 1 Angler £19
Part Day Boat Morning / Afternoon 1 or 2 Rods £15.00
Last Four Hours Boat £10.00
3 Day Pass Fishing Draycote or Foremark:
2 Anglers + Boat + 6 Fish Limit + Catch & Release £175.00
2 Anglers + Boat + 1 Fish Limit + Catch & Release £145.00
100 Fish Season Permit (Kill maximum 6 fish / Day) + Member Discounts on Boat Hire £575.00
Permitted bank areas are:
The grassed area both sides of Toft Shallows
All the bank from:- Toft Shallows, Cornfield, Biggin Bay, Dunns Bay to where the grass bank meets the stones of the Draycote Bank
No Bank Fishing Areas:
No bank fishing on any of the Dams / Stoned banks.
Bank Angler Car Access:
Perimeter road access for bank anglers is restricted to 30 vehicles at any one time. We recommend bank anglers call the lodge & book a car pass to avoid disappointment. Access to the perimeter road will be controlled via a gated system, bank anglers
will be required to ensure that gates are kept closed & they park in the parking areas provided.
General public will not be allowed to drive around the reservoir, except for blue badge holders, STW will also control number of blue badge holder who have access.
Boat anglers will have the same fishing areas as they did in the past. Boat anglers will be able to drive to the boat pontoon to unload their tackle, but will in future be required to park in the car park.
Facilities are currently very basic. A temporary lodge has been created in front of the pontoon while building works are carried out.
Due to this & problems getting a temporary secondary phone line there is no access to a credit card machine, therefore payment will need to be made by Cheque or Cash.