Tips on Fishing Carlisle AA Waters
Carlisle Angling Association waters offer great fishing for salmon, sea trout, wild brown trout and course fish. We have set out below some advice on our waters for new members and visiting anglers.
2015 was probably the best spring fishing for over 10 years, not just for number of fish, but size also, with many of the fish caught in to the high teens and some over the 20lb mark. CAA was probably the most productive beat on the Eden for the 2015 season. The Salmon season is open from the 15th of January until the 14th October inclusive. Given favourable conditions salmon will enter the river every month throughout the season with numbers increasing as the season goes on. We do get a run of spring fish, admittedly not as good as the great runs of the past that the Eden was once famed for but the hardy souls that brave the cold northern springs can be rewarded with one of these early beauties.
Salmon can be caught throughout the CAA waters and no area should be ignored for another. Water levels usually dictate where you fish and members are usually very helpful with information on where to fish at any given height of water. Although fly fishing is practiced by most nowadays, other methods such as worming (after May 1st, see Rule 14b in CAA Rules), prawn, shrimping and spinning are allowed and practiced very skillfully by many members.
Most summers see good numbers of grilse in the system before we see our main run of fish - the autumn run - these final two to three months of the season are normally the most productive on the association waters.
Environment Agency Regulations
Please be aware of current national and local byelaws aimed at protecting spring fish as issued by the Environment Agency. These state: Any angler who catches a salmon before the 16th June in any calendar year, must return the fish immediately to the water with the least possible injury. Any angler fishing for salmon may only use artificial fly or artificial lure before 16th June in any calendar year. More information is available on the Environment Agency website.
The Environment Agency also reminds anglers on the rivers Eden and Border Esk that from 10 September to the end of the fishing season all female salmon and sea trout must be returned. Individual anglers may only kill a maximum of two male salmon and two sea trout per day to the end of the season. The Committee advise members and visitors to aquaint themselves with current EA byelaws and the difference between male and female salmon as the EA do regular checks after the 10th September and they will prosecute any angler found taking hen fish after this date.
Catch and Release
Catch and release is vital to help protect and restore salmon stocks in our rivers. Give your salmon the best opportunity of reaching the spawning redds.
Visitors to the lower reaches of Carlisle Angling Association waters should be aware that the river downstream of the North British Railway bridge can be affected by incoming tides therefore it is adviseable to check Tide tables for Silloth and the Solway before you visit.
2014 and 2105 saw increased numbers of sea trout once again entering the Eden system. Sport can be had both night fishing and if conditions dictate through the day time also. Sea trout were once the mainstay of summer angling on CAA waters with fantastic sport available to the angler from dusk until dawn. But alas the sea trout has also declined in numbers on the Eden. However, the Solway rivers including the Border Esk, Annan and Nith still produce quality sea trout angling. The population that returns to the Eden is very fickle. In some years there are significant numbers and in others they are hardly ever caught but there does seem to have been a steady improvement in numbers caught on the association water since 2009.
A smaller form of sea trout also occurs in the Eden known locally as the Herling. These can be between a quarter pound to over a pound in weight. They are characterised by being quite thin with smooth scales.
Like the migratory salmon the sea trout can be caught anywhere as the runs pass through the CAA waters, so anglers should be prepared to look for them. Again local knowledge and asking questions should yield some answers.
Sea trout can be caught through the day but it is at night when this type of fishing is most productive and the nocturnal fly fishers are the ones who have most success. At dusk and during the first hour of darkness a floating or intermediate line is often favoured and then some replace these with a sinking line to see them through until dawn. Flies vary from standard sea trout patterns such as teal and silver and butcher to larger flies tied on Wilson low water hooks such as the medicine and elver type patterns.
A large single handed fly rod of approximately 10 - 11 feet for a 7 -8 weight line is the favourite of many. Sea trout can be caught on both quill minnows in summer water conditions and spinners such as Mepps size 0 – 2 during spates, they can also be caught using trotted worm tactics in both clear water and flood conditions.
The Brown Trout season is open from the 15th of March until the 30th of September inclusive. No spinning is allowed for brown trout but worm fishing is allowed on waters controlled by the association. Maggot is not allowed between 15th March and the 15th of June inclusive.
Early season sport can be very weather dependant. Given a mild winter the river will fish from day one (15th March) but if the winter is severe and water temperatures are low then sport can be slow as the fish are quite lethargic and tend to stay in the deeper slower stretches until the water warms a touch and insect activity increases.
For the fly fisherman, the prefered early season methods involve searching the water with a team of north country spiders, wet flies or nymphs and if we do get a decent hatch of Large Dark Olives (Baetis Rhodani) the fish will come to the surface and a change to dry fly can be productive whilst the hatch and rise lasts.
April brings the Grannom in their thousands and the river begins to come to life. May brings more regular hatches of various species of fly and more consistent daytime sport. Late May, June and early July gives longer periods of fishing, apart from daytimes rises we get evening rises to Blue winged Olives, Small Dark Olives, Pale Wateries and various species of Sedge.
By late July and into August the river temperature rises and daytime sport slows but if you concentrate your efforts on the faster, more oxygeanated water you may still have the chance of a fish during the day. Alternatively, we are now into the cream of our evening fishing with some very good falls of egg laying spinners. Once these spinners have layed their eggs they die and become easy pickings for the trout to gorge on. We also get some very good late evening hatches of sedge at this time. September can again provide better daytime sport with the Large dark olive starting to make a comeback.
The Carlisle Angling Association coarse ticket gives fishermen the chance to fish for chub, grayling and dace. The Eden of the late 1960s, 1970s and early 80s was nationally famous for the quality of its dace fishing before they started to decline then virtually disappear but they seem to be making a bit of a comeback with good numbers now being caught upstream of Carlisle. Chub are still present on Association waters with fish up to 5lbs reported.
Grayling are not indigenous to the Eden. They became established after a secret introduction of fry over the churchyard wall at Musgrave at dusk one evening in the 1880’s. They were then present in the system up until the 1960s when their numbers fell following the effects of U.D.N., the dreadful fungal disease that not only affected our salmon. Then in the late 1990's we had a sudden increase in the grayling population and they are now a popular quarry for the bait and fly fishermen, especially during the winter months.
Rules to follow when coarse fishing
- The use of keep nets, ground baiting and swim feeding are not allowed during the period when it is lawful to fish for salmon with rod and line, i.e. 15 January to 14 October inclusive.
- No spinning is allowed for coarse fish.
- Worm fishing will not be permitted from 15 October until 1 May, with the exception of juveniles who will be permitted to use worm for coarse fish.
- Fishing with maggots between 15 March and 15 June is not allowed. There is no specific time to fish, however when fishing time is limited, it often pays to fish an hour either side of dusk when changing light values will often make the difference between a blank day and a day to remember.
Live Fishing Conditions
There are live webcams on the Eden that enable anglers to check the condition of the water before they travel.
Eden Weather Forecasts
Reliable Carlisle regional weather forecasts.
Eden River Levels
The Environment Agency monitors river levels on the Eden catchment.
Visitors to the lower reaches of Carlisle Angling Association waters should be aware that the river downstream of the North British Railway bridge can be affected by incoming tides. Therefore it is adviseable to check tide times before you visit the river.