28 October 2002

Ullswater: Lake Fishing.

As a boy we often fished in Ullswater. We usually caught trout or perch. There were 2 species of trout, brown trout or salmon trout (also called sea trout). The fish most easily caught were perch, brown trout and salmon trout were harder. Salmon trout were strong fighting fish.
Sometimes we fished for the pot. With Dad we would go to the Corlett's at Sharrow Cottages, Mr Corlett had access to a net at the place he worked. We would go down to the lake row out and set the net, leave and come back 2-3 hours later. There were always fish in the net. We threw the perch back and kept the trout. The salmon trout had pink flesh and very good eating, so were the brown trout---no muddy taste from bottom feeding, the lake had a clean pebble bottom.
When we fished ourselves we normally caught perch. These had a sweet delicate flavour but were hard to prepare, they had spines on their backs and could cause a nasty wound. We used to clip them off before skinning them. One time we caught 34 perch and ran out of bait so we used the red coloured fins from the caught ones and continued fishing. The place we were fishing from was a cliff face which dropped straight into the deep water. When the water was still and the suns rays at the right angle we could look down into the deep, the water was crystal clear and we could see the big fellows deep down. We would use a hand line weighted and drop the bait down but even when we put the bait under their nose they ignored it. The old fellows had been around for a long time and knew the ropes. We occasionally used a pup tent and stayed over night and made an open fire to cook with. No fire regulations here in those days, no tourists, not even fishing licenses! The place we fished by the cliffs was on the track from Howtown to Glenridding and the cliffs were at the Howtown end. We used to see no one all weekend. We were warned by our parents not to go near the deep water but we did'nt listen, we boys were bullet proof.
As the 1940s progressed WW2 came to an end and slowly one or two fishermen turned up, as the years progressed we would see bus loads of fishermen sometimes from industrial Lancashire and Yorkshire. It did'nt worry us, they did'nt know the good fishing spots, but we did. What did worry us later was these same bus loads of fishermen used to come with more than one rod and one day we watched one man with 4 rods. Then came talk of fishing licenses and regulations. Our fishing paradise was being invaded. What price greed?
A short follow up later.

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