I went to El Chorro yesterday afternoon not knowing if fly fishing held any real prospects and, somewhat to my surprise, I managed to catch a lovely carp. The water level has fallen since my last visit which was perhaps 6 weeks ago and the the Río Turón was little more than a shallow trickle as it spilled into the reservoir. It is possible to look into the river from an elevated vantage point and there was not a fish to be seen in the shallow water even though it is running quite clear. The river´s inhabitants have no doubt dropped into the extensive turbid shallows of the reservoir and will return when the water levels rise again. I thought of approaching the river´s “estuary” but the mud looked, at the very least, awkward and messy to move across and, potentially, a source of difficulty. In any case this arm of the reservoir is very shallow and any fish moving here would likely give themselves away by disturbing the water surface even if they could not be seen.

And so I set off on foot looking along the margins of the reservoir walking along what would, on my last visit, have been the old floor of the reservoir. It struck me as curious that the heavy rains of a couple of weeks ago appear to have done nothing to ease the sustained drying and that the edges of reservoir continue to creep inwards.

There were quite a few carp fishermen stationed beyond the shallows and who cast out into the deeper water. My scouting took me to them and I briefly exchanged pleasantries with one or two before leapfrogging the anglers and finding some undisturbed water beyond them which offered greater depths and brighter prospects. It certainly looked more promising here with water was clear enough to see any fish that were tight to the shore.

No fish were clearly visible but I was encouraged to see some clouds of mud discolouring the water which offer a pretty good indication that there are some carp actively feeding. All in all I might have seen a half a dozen such clouds. On my local river the disturbed sediment when fish feed this way is often be pushed downstream by the current and following such a trail upstream is a good way to locate a feeding fish. In the reservoir though it is difficult to know where how the fish is orientated and where the fly should be cast so that the fish has a chance of seeing it.

Sometimes the fish might do you a favour and reveal the tip of the tail. This is very obliging of them because we can assume that the head is at the opposite end! “Cloud fishing” is hit and miss and, to be honest, it is much more miss than hit. Chances are much improved if the fish reveals its orientation in some way and, if you´re lucky they might just let you see the dark line of their backs and give you a clue to where the front end is.

This happened to me a couple of times yesterday and allowed me to cast my fly beyond the cloud and draw it about a foot or so in front of where I thought the head should be. Then it was a case of drawing the fly steadily and hoping for the best. You can´t expect to see anything to know when to strike and so the fish will have to be tempted to take a moving fly. A woolly bugger would be as good a bet as any for playing this kind of game. Christ knows what the fish take the fly for. I imagine that it might seem like a damselfly nymph or a crayfish. The hope is that a carp will chase something at close quarters that it reckons might be moving away.

Yesterday when I walked the margins I had no fly tied to the leader. I figured it would be best to wait to see what the fish were up to if I was lucky enough to find some. In the end I used a fly with dumbell eyes and a fairly substantial marabou tail. It was not a million miles from being a woolly bugger. I had a good carp on this before and it seemed to have the bulk and movement that might just get the attention of the fish.

So often things don´t go according to plan that it can come as a surprise when they do! The fish revealed the top of its back briefly. I could see how it was facing and got the fly beyond it and drew it back steadily so appeared to be fleeing from the carp. And then, just when it was supposed to, everything went solid and the line started emptying from the reel.

There was a bloke nearby who got curious when he saw the rod arch over and he made his way round to see what was going on. While I was playing the fish I asked him if he could stick around and take a few photos when (hopefully!) I managed to land the fish in the margins. This guy´s name was Felix. He told me afterwards that he was from Munich. I spoke to him in Spanish initially but didn´t get too far. Thankfully his English was pretty fluent. Felix asked me if the carp could be eaten and I told him that, although it could, it was the habit of fly fishermen to return most, if not all, of the fish they catch unharmed.

And that was it. After releasing the fish I looked around and could see no more clouds. There was good fishing light left but I felt very pleased with a good fish on a tough day and ,shortly after fate had briefly united us, Felix and the fish and I went our separate ways.



Every cloud has a silver lining!


Most of the carp I catch are common carp so catching a mirror is unusual.


Sometimes a moving fly will just spook carp but there are days when you have little choice but to present the fly this way. Carp will chase down things that appear to be fleeing but I suspect that if the fly is moving towards the fish they can be scared off!


The Río Turón is really showing its bones now. The fish have little cover here and have probably dropped back into the reservoir.


The arm of the reservoir into which the river flows has extensive shallows. There were no obvious signs of fish here yesterday.