Getting my Group On

A mate pointed out a Groupon Deal recently for Green Frog Fishery in Moffat- follow this link for my review of the fishery. £9 for a day’s fly fishing, you were allowed to take one fish if you wanted, ( I wasn’t bothered for taking a fish) and were also offered a Tea or coffee and a hot roll ( Roll with a hot filling). Is it possible to go wrong with that? Green Frog is a fishery I have heard of several times over the last few years and have always intended to visit as a Plan B while intending to fish the River Annan or just as a different day out, as it is a bit of a run from here in Stirling. At £9 though it basically became a free day out with the cost being in the fuel to get there and back. How could you say no?

With the long Bank Holiday weekend ( for us working for English based firms I guess) I had the chance to take the Friday off and make it a long weekend and the weather forecast ( in comparison to recent Fridays anyway) was not at all bad. On the day it did turn out a bit grey and showery at times but nothing to spoil the day. I hit the road fairly sharp and was down at Moffat for just before 9am. Once I have reported in with my voucher and got tackled up, I found I was the only angler on site so had time to get my bearings and see what was happening.

The first thing that strikes you ( after the friendly welcome- the ladies in the shop were very helpful) is the clarity of the water. This is a gin clear water, and you can see the fish, and doubtless, they can see you. If you have never tried stalking fish before ( and let’s face it, it is not such a common pursuit up here in Scotland with our often peat stained waters) this is the place to come. A pair of Polaroids is essential. Being clear the water has a lot of weed but I never found it a problem. You can see the keepers do a lot of work to remove as much of the loose dead stuff as possible and the wee slick of weed that was when I arrived up the North end of the fly pond, actually moves with the wind so it’s just a case of working around it. That same slick was cover for fish and anglers were trying their luck in here during the day.

A fish just under the surface at Green frog

The fish were often quite visible, but they can see you too, so stealth was important.

I got through a ridiculous number of flies on my day. You could see what the fish were interested in or not. I initially started with a long three fly cast of Cormorant, olive buzzer and a small wet fly on top dropper but the fish totally ignored this. Then went on to a CDC Yellow Owl. The fish would come and look but turn away without looking like a take was ever on the cards. I tried a number of other dry patterns with much the same result. Then feeling like I had probably exhausted the fish I seemed to spend ages casting to, I went on the move. I then tried a heavy nymph and this got lots of attention of the fish, in fact, this or a stalking bug had the fish in an excited frenzy, and despite a wee twitch now and then I couldn’t get them to actually take it, even when there were three or four fish at the fly.

By late morning I had been joined by 4 or 5 other anglers. No one had touched a fish by the break for lunch. This was hard going. I went off to the cafe for my free cup of tea and a roll and sausage- delicious by the way, and a slice of Malteaser cake that I couldn’t resist!

Green Frog fishery

Swans showing the love at Green Frog 🙂

In the afternoon I started at the South end and noted the ponds were stocked with some new fish. Maybe it would liven things up. While there were plenty fish around, there wasn’t a lot of surface activity. you would get a few fish rise over a one minute period in one spot then nothing for ages. One method, not one I favour had been relayed to me as successful, fishing a wotsit under a bung. For half an hour I even gave this a go but it too never got a look. I wasn’t enjoying flinging a big bung around and went back onto more conventional methods. With a beaded damsel on the point, I started getting lots of follows and this paired with a hares ear I thought was going to get me my first fish down the south end, and some of the other anglers were laughing as they could see the fish swirling at my flies but not take. I moved out on to the point of the island and you could cover a lot of water from here, though it was not so easy to spot the fish from the higher vantage point. The added height though gave you a slight advantage in reaching out and I was able to cast my entire line to fish right out in the middle. On one retrieve I finally had a pull, then another and finally a take at extreme range. I knew the hook set was not great but the wee rainbow came right in and one of the regular anglers who was fishing nearby came over to see what had been successful. As we talked and I played the fish, I got my net and started to try get down the steep bank so I could net and release the fish. Maybe I dropped the rod tip or maybe it was the hookset, but just at this point the fish got free and was away. I wasn’t bothered as I was on catch and release and it saved me netting it. It’s my blog and I am counting that one 🙂 .

Brown Trout from Green frog

A tremendous Brown on a dry. A full tail and loads of fight- it took me under the rope twice but I was able to bully it out.

The takes didn’t continue and the guy who had been by me, went off and fished right around with a stalking bug under a bung, by the time he had completed a circuit, he had I think, had three or four fish, mostly small browns he said but he had one big one opposite me.

I didn’t fancy the bung fishing so went for a big visible Klinkhamer with two small buzzers. After about 20 minutes on this finally, a fish took the dry fly. After a great fight, I was able to net a lovely full tailed Brown Trout of about 2lb or so. A real belter, and I released it safe and sound without touching it.

A final lap of the fishery and taking some time to fish the North end that was a bit weedy earlier on I tried loads more patterns. Gold beaded flies or lures like Cats Whiskers were getting loads of attention, black was ignored. But actual takes were tough to come by. I saw very few fish caught on the day but it was a great fun day and a real challenge. I will be back.