First of all I think they are a great places for learning to fly fish. A beginner knows there are fish around. Fishing is by no means always easy, but the beginner has good premises for learning many skills faster that’ll help. Some will say it’s too easy, because you don’t need to perform 142.345 casts to catch an elusive salmon or a sea trout.
Trout are there - always. By learning from a few of the more seasoned anglers a beginner will quickly gain basic knowledge of which flies are good when, when the trout tend to hold here - and later there. When and how to fish on, near of deep under the surface. Learn to spot fish and understand rise forms.
When the Kola Peninsula opened for salmon fishing, some ven frowned upon that. I”t’s too easy!”, they argued. And that desire the fishing was truly for wild fish. But the fact is that one or two week long trips to the Kola Peninsula (at least in the earlier years) catching 20-30 salmon was possible. Thereby gaining an experience that could take 10 years in other parts of the World.
The same is true for stocked fisheries. You will catch fish fairly often. That teaches one to hook fish, fight a fish and land fish, lead a fish, present a fly to a rising fish etc. etc. Pay a little attention it’ll also teach you the limits of your tackle.
All this will help you if you move along to other types of fishing. You’ll have some experience and hopefully cool when you hook the first, wild fish that we all like.
Well - not all. There are many more occasional anglers than obsessed ones. They often choose a stocked fishery, which I think is perfectly fine, They like to take a fish or two home. They like to catch something when they go out 4-5 times a year. Another point is that wild still water trout might not be accessible for all. There are a few lakes in Denmark that hold wild browns, but no more.
It’s certainly not easy - at all. Read a few books or watch a few videos on reservoir fishing in the UK. I doubt there a more technically advanced fishery anywhere in the World. So many skills are involved if you want to catch fish regularly. Not least boating skills. It was in fact the UK reservoir fishing that provided the inspiration, tackle and skills to the early saltwater fly fishing in Denmark.
I do prefer the better quality fisheries. Clear water is fun, because you see the fish and for a beginner it might not be the easiest. But it does provide confidence that the fish can see the fly. I don’t like the fisheries that stock fish so hard that the never “grow on”, so to speak. I prefer it when the fish get a chance to begin acting wild and those fish are often prettier as well.
Most fisheries are stocked with rainbow, which is good, because they are stronger than browns. Some don’t allow catch and release, but who can help it if you keep losing the fish on the rim of the net (always bring a net, by the way).
This won’t turn into a sponsored FP, because most readers will never visit it, but the (by far) best stocked fishery I’ve ever visited is Hökensås in Sweden. They manage many lakes (I can’t remember hoe many, but many). Most lakes have clear water, lots of insect life and it’s set in beautiful surroundings (I’ve written about this place before).mPlaces like these give a beginner a proper head start in fly fishing.
Go there - never mind what others think!
Have a great week!
PoD: Note the long, extendable handle on my net. I love nets with a long handle.