Rivals in shade

Grassholme, where I started this year with a blank in the middle of a snow storm, is hitting top form as the water temperature falls, tempting me to bookend my season and put in my final day of the season at the reservoir in search of one of the larger fish stocked in recent weeks.

Grassholme, where I started this year with a blank in the middle of a snow storm, is hitting top form as the water temperature falls, tempting me to bookend my season and put in my final day of the season at the reservoir in search of one of the larger fish stocked in recent weeks.

Bait anglers chasing one of these larger fish should make sure that they have the appropriate strength line - nothing below - and have the drag on their reels set properly as a number of fishermen have had their lines snapped by hard-fighting stockies over the last week or so.

Regular angler Sonny Dodds, fishing a claret Bumble, had the heaviest bag that included the week's heaviest fish at 6lb and others of 3lb and 4lb.

Youngster Tom Hayes and a friend had eight for 18lb 8oz, including fish of 4lb 8oz and 3lb 8oz.

The unseasonably mild weather has brought the fish at Scaling Dam on to the feed, with all areas of the reservoir producing good catches.

Ledgering has been the most productive method for bait anglers, while fly fishers have had good results, wind permitting, with sunken flies and lures.

Phil Stewart, fishing a Deer Hair Bug on floating line at the dog leg at the west end of the dam wall, has 12 rainbows, keeping eight for 14lb 4oz.

Scaling regular Neil Benjamin, slowly fishing a sunken daddy on a floating line, had the week's heaviest fish - a fin-perfect rainbow of 5lb 11oz.

As the season at Blackton nears its end, some of the year's best fishing is now to be had with fish feeding hard in preparation for winter.

The fish are close in to the banks and many have been taken by anglers casting a floating or intermediate line at an angle along the bank rather than straight out.

The favoured set-up of fly anglers is a Goldhead red Fritz on point with Kate McLaren and Bibio on droppers.

The dam wall and north shore at Fontburn continued to fish well this week with several catches of 17lbs-plus being taken.

Gareth Jones from Stirling, fishing a Goldhead Consett Budgie on a floating line, safely returned 12 rainbows.

With the weather beginning to change, fly anglers fishing intermediate or floating lines with long leaders and weighted flies have had the best of the sport.

Ian Armstrong, fishing worm at Kielder, had a bag of 19lb 3oz including the heaviest fish - a fine 4lb 4oz rainbow - at Little Whickhope.

Boat anglers have recorded good catches off the north shore at the Belling and below Gowanburn Farm, while Tower Knowe visitor centre and the south abutment have been the best areas for bank anglers.

Fishing boat hire times are from 9am to 3.30pm for the rest of the month. Anglers can book boats at Leaplish Waterside Park on (01434) 250294.

Blackton: Red Fritz, Bibio, Kate McLaren, White Fritz.

Derwent: Usual lures such as Black/Orange/Red Fritz.

Fontburn: Consett Budgie, Cat's Whisker, Viva.

Grassholme: Muddlers, Olive Fritz, small Black Pennell.

Kielder: Goldhead Jack Frost, Black and Peacock Green Tag.

Scaling: Sunken Daddies, Deer Hair Bug, various Fritz patterns.

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