POWDERMILL RESERVOIR by Roger Standen
Powdermill Reservoir is probably the most attractive of all the trout reservoirs certainly in this area. It is unique and at 56 acres intimate with its small bays, overhanging trees and miles away from any main road. For those who havenít visited it they are missing out, it is tucked away somewhere between Brede and Sedlescombe deep in the East Sussex countryside and to approach it you must drive down tiny country lanes.
It was built in 1930 to supply pre-war Hastings with water on the site of an old powder mill that in the turn of the century had been plagued with accidents. When the water level is low an old flint road can be seen weaving its way across the lake a reminder of days gone by.
The fishery that is said to have the best Mayfly hatch in the country has always been controlled by Hastings Flyfishers Club that were on its knees just two years ago. However, now under new management the club is thriving again with fish stocks back to how they use to be. Old members have returned and the fishing is good. Only rainbows are stocked, but they do go to double figures and most anglers who fish from a boat tend to catch well. Bank fishing can be good, but with the surrounding woods it is restricted.
Brown trout havenít been stocked for years, but there are plenty of wild browns in the lake, the progeny of earlier stockings that breed up the feeder streams. All of these beautiful fish that go to at least 6lb are returned if caught.
When I fished the lake it was with Andy Lush from the Friendly Fishermen and we decided to do so from a boat. There had been many trout taken towards the top end of the lake up the left hand arm and so that is where we headed. Although the rainbows can often be taken by casting close to the trees in the margins we decided to fish the centre.
Andy fished with a team of flies, two droppers and a point fly and I one dropper and a point fly. The fish proved to be fairly shallow and often the takes were little more than gentle pulls on the line, but every now and again we would get real solid take that you just could not miss. However, there were many takes that were almost impossible to hit.
We tied the anchor rope to the centre rowlock so the boat swung around across the lake and with the wind blowing from left to right it put the perfect bow in the line swinging the flies across the lake. The takes usually came as the flies swung across and I wondered how many follows we had that we were unaware of.
Andy appeared to be getting more takes than I though they were difficult to see and at one stage he put on a sight bob just to illustrate to me just how delicate the takes were.
In the clear water the fish fought hard and many of them were weighing around 2lb and up to almost 3lb. By mid afternoon we had both caught our limits of 6 fish each, most coming on very small nymphs and buzzers. It had been a brilliant days fishing in perfect surroundings with good company.
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