The Causeway Fly Fishers' lake

Our fly fishing lake is situated in a private, peaceful and attractive area of unspoilt countryside in north-west Essex, perfectly situated for fly fishers from Essex, Hertfordshire, South Cambridgeshire and East Anglia.

Covering an area of four acres and home to a fascinating assortment of wildlife and plants, the lake and surroundings are carefully managed by the landowner. The water, which is up to eighteen feet deep, is clear and of excellent quality. Weed growth is kept to a minimum and the grass banks are well maintained.

Access to the lake is by a short walk alongside a stream. In summer it is possible to drive right up to the lake.

A row boat, available to members, is moored by the jetty and a small hut by the lake holds buoyancy aids and other equipment. Also in the hut is the all-important returns book, listing fish taken and successful tactics.

Fish species/seasons

The lake holds rainbow, blue, brown and tiger trout. Although stocked as required with fish around two to three pounds, fish of five pounds plus are not unusual.

The fish are triploids and therefore always stay in condition.

Fly fishing is available all year round, with the exception of Christmas day. However, browns have a season and are not to be taken between 31st October and 1st April.

There are no coarse fish in the lake, but an abundance of sticklebacks add to the trouts' diet.

Tackle

Obviously fly fishing only. It is not necessary to cast long distances and an 8 to 9 foot rod with a 6 to 8 weight floating line are most popular.

An intermediate or sinking line is useful when the fish go deep. Tippets of at least 5lb breaking strain are required because of the size and strength of the trout.

A selection of flies, a landing net and a bit of luck complete all the basic equipment for a perfect day.

Fly fishing throughout the seasons

The lake fishes well all year round, but tactics should be varied to suit the season.

During the winter there is good fishing, even on frosty days. The fish are generally deep, and a large lure (with a gold head or tadpole-like) allowed to sink into the depths will usually take fish. Occasionally, they will take on the drop, but mostly when retrieved in short jerks. If the temperature rises a little, larger fish move into the shallow margins to feed and it is not necessary to cast out far. Fishing just in front of the rushes can have fish following for quite some distance before taking, sometimes close to the end of the retrieve. It pays to keep a low profile in these instances and nymphs or various lures are most successful.

In the spring the fish become very active and feed voraciously. The choice of wet fly or lure is not critical and, if you are catching fish, now is the time to change the fly and experiment. Buzzers can be very effective. This is the time that most of the brown trout are caught and there doesn’t seem to be a favourite spot as they are taken all around the lake.

Summertime is more challenging, but does present some fantastic opportunities for dry fly - especially in the evening, an hour or so before sunset. Using the boat to get into the middle of the lake and casting at rising fish is well worthwhile. A little ripple on the water definitely helps, as the fish have less opportunity to examine the fly before taking. Fishing like this can give rise to spectacular takes, with the fish launching themselves at the fly. However, be prepared for plenty of misses. Fish will also take a retrieved dry fly. Slowly brought back, it bobs below the surface and then back to the top. Flies made with deer’s hair have great buoyancy and work well, as do cul-de-canard. It’s a good idea to have the sun behind you.

Autumn is an ideal time to fish from boat or bank, and whilst wet flies present the majority of opportunities, an occasional warm evening will still bring fish to surface flies.

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Sunset over the lake