Sunday, 24 March 2019


With the trout season still closed in Yorkshire I had to head a little further afield in search of a trout.

 I had formulated a plan in my head.

I had made a new weight forward furled leader the other night especially to start of the season, coupled with another few which were taken to the AGM yesterday where all donations for them were given to the Macmillan Nurses this year.

Yesterday whilst on the work party I had seen several fish rise to a small hatch of olives so I had a rough time of day when to set out, so after a bit of a lie in bed and a nice breakfast I headed to a stretch of river I've never fished before, to be honest I hadn't even clapped eyes on it before today but I have heard a lot of reports about it and I wanted to start off on dry fly so I hedged my bets that this was the place to do it after speaking to a couple of guys.

Arrival at the river I found I certainly was not going to be alone with over 15 cars parked in the lane but I suspected these would be dog walkers, as I had been warned it was a place where there was lots of activity, I was just hoping they would keep their dogs out of the river...who was I kidding!!

After tackling up and heading out to explore the new stretch I found it as I had been briefed, and Im just sorry I haven't fished this stretch before as it contains some lovely water, perfect for Grayling & Trout, only downside is its popular with dog walkers and you barely get time to chill before another dog bounces up behind you into the water.

After finding my footing I decided to head further away from the bank to get out the way of both owners & dogs who were constantly around me, and the constant excuse from the owners of not seeing me before they let their dog run straight past me into the water!

Not my idea of good manners & I had to bite my tongue on several occasions.

Starting at the bottom of the glides I started casting the small olive pattern I had tied the other night upstream searching out likely lies and it wasnt long until I seen the real life olives hatching out.

I had timed it spot on and soon a small rise started and soon the first fish rose & took my artificial, The first fish on dry fly of the day and it's a Grayling but I wasnt complaining as it proves my artificial works.

20 minutes and 8 Grayling later all on the dry fly, I had a very large smile on my face but its just a shame that the Grayling are now out of season, so very carefully without taking them out the water, they were slipped back. The largest just over a pound in weight.

The hatch died off as a cold wind blew across the river so I took time out to just chill and I was now in the ideal place as the footpath was at this point high above me up the bank and set back from the river so finally I had some peace & quiet.

As I say a lovely part of the river but I think if I had to fish it again it would not be on a weekend where everyone is out walking their dogs, I can just imagine this place on a warm night when a hatch is on.

The blossom on the trees behind me was stunning in the short few minutes that the sun shone.

About 20 minutes passed, before the wind changed direction and was off the water and within 5 minutes a hatch came on again so I was back out waist deep casting across the the rising fish in the thin water. It was definitely a mixture of small Trout & Grayling, the next 6 fish which took my fly was all Grayling then finally I got a break & a small trout took the fly as it passed over its head & my account for 2019 Trout had opened, a lovely small wild trout.

With the cold wind returning to the water the hatch died again & I decided to call a halt to the proceedings and head home, a worthy few hours exploring new water and getting amongst the fish on dry fly.

A lovely part of the river and I will definitely be back but will time it so not to bump into as many dog walkers next time.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Almost There!

Well it's that time of year again, when anticipation of the new brown trout season only a mere 24 hours away got the club members out onto the banks but not with a rod, plenty of work to be done before that happens!

Today we had members out on the banks but instead of rods & reels it was saws, loppers & trimmers which were the tools of the day at the annual work party.

I have to say the floods of last week saved us a lot of work by scouring most of the lying debris far downstream or high up the banks where it doesn't effect the fishing. Making our way downstream in teams is certainly has changed the river in some places beyond recognition, where there was shallow glides there now exists a 2ft gouge where the flood has ripped all the shingle away and scoured the riverbed.

It was pretty easy going and in the few short hours before the AGM a lot of work was achieved.

The flowers are out in abundance with these miniature daffodils catching my eye, totally in the wild growing.

The AGM confirmed all our expectations and the committee elected for another year, well done lads a great job, but one thing that is profoundly evident is the lack of younger members!

Being a mere spritely 52 years young I am by far the youngest member and it's my fear that when Im the age of most of the members in the club, the club will be a mere shadow of what it is now.

I'd love to hear from readers if its the same in their clubs, are we all a dying breed? will there be any fly fisherman left around in 30 - 40 years to carry on the mantle of the small Dale's clubs. Who Knows.

Talking of things of the past, It was really a nice change to come home during the week to a handwritten letter all the way from the USA, thanking me & giving me feedback on the weight forward  furled leaders I formulated & sent across to the USA for a Yellowstone expedition last year.

Jack I have emailled you in the short term thanking you & I sincerely hope you got my email but I will reply in the same manner that you did for me, Thank you my friend you are a true gent.

It's these touches that makes it worth while for me, the money side of things is irrelevant & covers the cost of the materials to make them, my time and the feedback that Im helping guys to improve their casting that gives me the greatest buzz, and for a guy who Ive never met to send letters like above thats what makes it for me, thank you again Jack.

May I wish everyone all the best for the forthcoming trout season, Im hoping to be back on the river tomorrow albeit a little further away from where I would like as its still closed season in Yorkshire so must travel. Tight lines all.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Still Here

Hi bloggers,

I've had a couple of prompts from regular blog readers saying they are missing the blog entries, truth be told I have not been fishing since my last entry, not for the want of trying that I can assure you but the rivers are thundering through at present and am afraid my 3# is nowhere a match for rivers that are 2.5m high and doing a few miles an hour past me, when normally I would be fishing levels of 0.40m and below.

It has given me time to get out with the camera but am afraid it's mostly non fishing topics apart from the very first dry fly I tied up last night in preparation for the new season, better late than never I suppose but with such low levels last year I still have more than enough flies to last me into the new season.

As I said I've been out with the camera and as you can see from this shot from the bridge at West tanfield across to the church the Ure is big, but with the new storms it's even bigger this week with localised flooding.

Whilst in West Tanfield I paid another visit to a famous Grayling angler of yesteryear, none other than Francis Walbran's Grave.

Who drowned whilst fishing in the river Ure at Tanfield.

The devil's bridge am sure in its time has seen many a flood.

& finally the first dry fly tied up this year, an olive pattern on a #18

Apart from that folks there isn't really much to report on.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Out n About

I was delighted when I seen the water had risen midweek although we had no significant rain so to speak of I was just hoping that it would not all disappear before I could get a chance to get out with the rod.

This weekend was split between a walk around Swinton Estate with the camera and fishing today, the sun on both days was out & it felt more like an early summers day than the last week in February.

Yesterday seen me drive the 11 miles from my home to Swinton after a friend had visited recently & recommended it as an ok place to take the camera for a walk, so thats exactly what I did, however on route I stumbled over this lovely little stream which am sure in the summer months will see wild fish rising in the pools.

Looking upstream I can just picture small wild brown trout rising on the insects falling from the overhanging trees above.

Driving over the few inches of water in the ford, I definitely wouldn't want to see it at 6 foot, thats for sure.

Finally I managed to drag myself away from the stream and looking up through the woods, the light was casting long shadows through it.

My walk to the Druids temple on the Swinton estate was a pleasant one and a few families out enjoying the warm afternoon sunshine.

One of the rock stacks surrounding the collection of stones.

 Looking down on the Druids temple itself 

And finally a 5 minutes walk through the woods and you were given the view over Leighton Reservoir & beyond.

Today seen me head up onto the river just after 10am, the sun wasnt quite out yet but you could tell it was going to be another good day so with that in mind I was hoping to be able to get some dry fly action so headed to a place where I thought my chances were good. 

Starting off on the spider set up I had last week it wasnt long until I had connected with my first fish of the day, a small Grayling, we were off the mark.

Soon afterwards the 2nd Grayling of the day, a better fish than the first graced the net, it had been through the wars by the look of the tear in its dorsal fin and the damage to its gill cover.

The next hour or so produced no further fish and I noticed a few other anglers appearing on the bank upstream of me, so decided to wander up and have a chat, only to find it was a guy I know & regularly see on the river at various times throughout the year, Jonathan Barnes the england fly fishing angler & river guide.

We started chatting and soon an hour or so had passed and we had been joined by another 2 anglers all out for the same thing, a Grayling on the dry fly. But alas none of us had seen any surface movement of fish and very little insect life hatching apart from the occasional olive. From the conversation between all of us I was the only one who had managed to catch any fish, even Jonathan was on the back foot until he managed to hook a very small grayling which dragged him out of the blanking books. We said our goodbyes and headed in opposite directions.

Jonathan was heading to another part of the river but I opted to stay where I was and another hour of fishing produced a small out of season trout but alas not on the dry fly either.

Walking down the bank back towards the car, I couldn't help but notice the crocus out on the river bank in beautiful purple colours.

With  a final view upstream at an angler continuing to try & raise a fish, I headed back to the car.

Contented as always.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Long Overdue!

Finally a day on the river!

The temperatures are increasing, the days are getting longer and the predicted bad winter hasn't happened, what could possibly go wrong.

With the river at summer levels I wondering where to go so decided to stay local, take along the camera and make a complete day of it, if the fishing wasnt too good there is always something to point the camera at, so thats exactly what I did yesterday.

Setting off from the carpark just after 10am I walked downstream hoping to glimpse any fly life coming off the river as the last couple of days have seen bright sunshine and warm temperatures, apart from a few midges there wasnt that much happening.

First thing I came across was the abundance of wild flowers, mainly snow drops but a few crocus throw into the mix also.

First few pools didn't result in anything and after almost an hour of fishing I decided to change tact from the european nymphing style I had started out on and changed over to spiders. I had it in my head that the fish wouldn't be hugging the bottom of the deep pools but instead would be in the faster water with a possibility of looking upwards and not downwards for their food. Sure enough 20 minutes or so later I was into the first fish of the day, in this case an out of season trout which if I were to be honest was in a poor state so released immediately in the water without even hitting the net.

Moving downstream I came to my favourite part of this stretch which is where the path pulls you through a bit of fir wood, it always seems magical as I enter it and it was nice to get out the wind for a short time.

Deciding to fish the pacy water, it was again drawing a blank & it wasnt until I had dropped right down to the very bottom of the runs in the slacker water which was no more than 1 ft deep did I register the another fish, & I was playing the first grayling off the day.

Nothing big by any standards but it was a Grayling and I was thankful for it.

With lunchtime fast approaching I decided to take some shelter out the wind and crack out the storm kettle I had brought along, nothing finer than having a fresh coffee on the bank.

10 minutes later I was sat at the base of a large beech tree with a fresh coffee watching nature go by, it was a nice half hour or so of doing absolutely nothing but soaking in the surroundings.

As I sat there letting time go by I got my photographic head on and started playing around with the camera for a few moments. This being the Ivy that was reaching up the tree trunk I was leaning against.

the next couple of trees up were fir trees and some nice mix of colours.

From afar

and in macro

Lunch over it was time to get back to the task in hand and pick up the rod again.

I dropped down the the bottom of the current section and decided to fish the spiders upstream and it wasnt long until I got another fish interested but alas again another trout which again wasnt in the best of health, very lean and empty feeling so released immediately.

The next couple of casts & I actually seen the fish come out the water for the top dropper which was just starting to break the surface to sink, a Grayling of better size.

I was almost back at the point which I had lunch without any further interest from any fish, so a couple of shots of the river around me.

And the house with a view all the way up the river.

It was time to head back upstream towards the car and fishing my way upstream I managed to connect with another trout which took to acrobatics out the water & threw the hook but I didn't care it would simply save me unhooking it.

Back in the fir wood I took one last picture with what was lying around the forest floor with a bit of photographic arrangement before heading back to the car.

A long awaited day back on the river which turned out to be a cracking day indeed, the Grayling might not have been biting much but an enjoyable day nevertheless.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Winter Bimble.

Well another week off the water with levels down to 0.7m where normally they are 0.45m - 0.47m.

This Grayling season has without doubt been like the last trout season, low water and struggling for fish. I dont think it really matters where you are in the country a lot of results have been the same, many miles of looking with plenty of no fish and if your lucky an odd one or two.

With the conditions the way they were today I never even bothered talking the rod out, instead I took the camera out and although not fishing it was still an enjoyable few hours in the cold but beautiful settings of the Yorkshire Dales.

3 seasons rolled into one with autumn, winter & spring.

The view upstream was quite stunning today.

With the walk to the woods giving not a bad view either.

The bitter north easterly winds had taken care of much of the wildlife today, and nothing much to see but the snowdrops and the geese gave a pleasant view along the route.

And a few fresh eggs on the way home for lunch.

Fishing next week? who knows its all down to mother nature & what she gives us.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Back on the Water..

25th November 2018 was the last time I was out on the water and it feels like an eternity away, my fishing mojo has taken a bit of a knock due to it, I knew today was going to be hard as the river was at summer levels, crystal clear and not much in the way of movement. I hope this isn't a sign of things to come again this year

The first snowdrops of the year are now out in bloom.

I wasnt getting up super early so after a bit of a lie in I drove up the Dale to clear skies and a bit of sunshine. The river was very low, levels which I would expect at the peak of summer, not in the depths of winter and looking at previous weeks results there wasnt much fish being caught anywhere.

Undeterred I was out to try & get back some of my mojo which has disappeared since my last outing nearly 2 months ago. 

Starting at the bottom of the beat I decided to approach the low water with a couple of spiders on droppers and a single # 18 nymph on the point.  It was very hard going there was no denying it and I was wondering if a trotted worm below a float would have achieved anything better, as that is now almost another season over without me getting the trotting rods out, something that was unheard of in years past, and hopefully something I will have to rectify soon.

Almost an hour had passed before I felt a slight tug and lifted the rod to find that I actually had something on, and a moment later my hand had slipped under a small fingerling Grayling, the first fish of 2019 for me, it had taken the partridge & orange spider on the 1st dropper.

a few more runs through the same glide and I felt another fish.

No record breakers by any means but I was starting to enjoy myself again, the sights and sounds which used to excite me were returning, a dipper came and said hello by sitting on a stone some 15ft or so away from me and started singing. I was back in a happy place again and the absence had been far too long.

A few moments grabbing a coffee from the flask and I entered the water again where I had caught the previous two Grayling hoping for maybe a couple more. Around 30 minutes had slipped by before I felt the next indication of a fish.

a further 15 minutes or so proved fishless so I decided to head upstream in search of maybe another fish or two. Stopping off at various point on the beat resulted in no further fish but I wasnt too dismayed I was back on the water and enjoying it.

Deciding to call it a day after 3 hours was my way of keeping the interest alive as the river was so low and with only a limited number of places to fish, I wasnt going to flog them to death in pursuit of a fish and after all I had enjoyed myself up to this point & didn't want to spoil that feeling.

I would have been back on the water last sunday if it hadn't been for the high winds that had hit the Dales, and looking at friends results on the river Im glad I opted for a walk with the camera. It was bitter but by keeping on the move I was able to keep warm and enjoyed taking a few shots on my travels.

I may not have been fishing but I wasnt too far from the water with this shot looking upstream.

And no shortage of these fellows running around in the woods at the moment, as I was taking shots of him I saw movement out of the corner of my eye & saw that I too was being watched so very slowly I turned & managed to grab a photo of the culprit watching me.....

A Grey Squirrel.

A couple of wax caps finished off my walk last week.