Sunday, 23 March 2014

Out of Yorkshire

With the trout season still closed in North Yorkshire I wanted to get out for a day at the trout so had to travel North into the Northumbria  region where the trout season opened yesterday.  I have always planned on fishing this small river for well over a year but like everything else never got around to it up until today.

A small river which is quite technical and certainly makes you appreciate your casting abilities but I do like a challenge and it made a difference from the normal larger rivers.

After getting geared up and dropping down into the Small Dale the first thing that hit me right away was the pungent aroma of wild garlic, the air was thick with it and the sides of the wooded gorge were covered in new shoots of the stuff.

The river was low and quite clear which would make it that little bit harder but with some river craft  and slow wading I didn't see it being too much of a problem.

The view upstream from my starting point, & with curiosity in my head I wanted to know what lay around the corner out of sight.

The view downstream and probably an instant give away to some of the blog readers.

I set off upstream moving through the water as quietly as I could casting the team of spiders I had chosen to fish into the pocket water searching out the trout I was told frequent the river.

After some tricky negotiating larger boulders and deeper runs with overhanging trees which were constantly reminding me to improve my casting abilities, and that I'm no longer 21 years old,  I finally settled down into a rhythm of looking, casting then moving.  After about an hour and a half had passed I came upon a corner pool which just shouted trout so decided  to sit and watch and to grab a breather as my legs were aching already.

The weather was warming up and the wind down in the gorge was virtually non existent so I was hoping that before long a hatch would start and hopefully I would start to see signs of trout. I sat for around 20 minutes or so without seeing any signs of fish so decided to cast through the pool with the spiders and see if anything would oblige, on the 2nd cast I felt the gentle pluck and struck and sure enough a small trout obliged the net.

The first trout of the new season, taken on home tied spiders, nothing could be better and very welcome on a day which was proving to be very hard indeed.

I continued another couple of casts but nothing more came from the run so decided to head upstream which seemed to be opening out, which I was glad of as the legs were taking a hammering with the constant sklimming up and over the banks to negotiate upstream.

I came across a small pasture where around 8 or 9 deer had heard my movements and decided to take off up over the top but it was great just to sit and watch them disappear over the top and out the corner of my eye I seen movement on the other bank climbing around on the moss covered stones looking for insects.

Spot the wren.
I sat and watched it for over 5 minutes hopping around on the moss strewn boulders looking for insects where shortly after it was joined by another wren and they flew off downstream

I was very welcome of the sides starting to open out above the pasture as at one point I was hanging on for dear life trying to negotiate a steep rock face...must remember abseil ropes & crampons next time.

I started to see the odd olive hatching off and on the large flat above seen the odd small fish rise to take them off the surface which was a great sign to see so decided to tie on  dry and have a bit of upstream dry fly fishing and sure enough first cast up it came and fish on. A small par no bigger than the palm of my hand so released to grow bigger, I covered a further 4 fish on the way up the flat and everyone of them took the dry fly off the top and everyone not bigger than the size of my hand, miniature fish from a miniature river but perfect in every way.

The hatch didn't last long as hail stones the size of small peas came across and gave a 15 minutes downpour and as quickly as it came it disappeared again. It was back to Sklimming over & under fallen trees for the next stretch before finally I reached the limit of the fishing, I could go no further.

The confluence pool was warm and the odd larger fish was sipping flies off the top so after a quick brew, I set about seeing if I could temp a couple, after about 5 casts to a rising fish the reel spun off at a rate of knots, and kept going, whatever it was it wasn't for slowing down and then it was off.....of course I didn't say too much to myself...........Not!
 I suspect it may have been a blue trout or rainbow trout which has probably escaped from the reservoir above.  I fished on for almost an hour but nothing else decided to have a look.

I set off back downstream with trepidation as I wasn't looking forward to the sklimming as my legs really were aching by this stage in the day but the sun was hot, and on some of the stretches and an abundance of olives were lifting off so this was hopeful for more fish to show & not before too long a slighter larger fish than the others obliged the dry fly, nothing huge but well fed and fighting fit from a small river.

Back down in the enclosed pasture another couple of deer heard me stumbling around and broke cover and ran across the open grass, I never tire of seeing deer and nature on my travels and noticed that the gorse was coming back into flower again.

I was almost back at the corner where I had taken my first fish and really was hoping that there would be some fish rising with the continuing amount of downstream  olives that were coming off the river, and sure enough as I got close I could see a couple of fish rising to the flies, so as stealthy as I could, I approached the pool and got myself into a low casting position and waited to see where the fish would rise so I could cover it, it didn't take too long and within a minute or so I seen a fish rise just off the flow of the stream so covered it and first cast over up it came and fish on.

An absolutely cracking fish by previous standards of the day and  was well chuffed,certainly made all the pain and effort well worth it. I sat there for another hour or so but nothing else moved in the pool so started heading back towards the car, just as I was about 5oom or so from my starting point as I was negotiating yet another large tree blocking my path in the water I caught my foot & over I went, luckily onto the land side and not the river but something had given and I thought I may have broke my ankle, on lifting my foot out the river I was in severe pain and my boot had taken a hammering too, the upper had parted company with the sole almost, I sat for a half hour as the pain subsided and hobbled back to to the car via the easiest route I could find.
My ankle is swollen but the boot came off the worst  think........Evostik Impact called for!

Thankfully nothing is broken and the drive home although in pain passed off without too much trouble and after a long soak in the bath and a chill pill on the couch I have to admit, I'm no longer 21 years old and this sklimming around is definitely a young man's game but hey what a cracking day and worth the aches & pains.


  1. looks like a cracking little stream George, hard going maybe, but worth it for that last trout, very nice.

  2. It was lovely Brian makes a change from the normal rivers I fish, much more intimate and the aches are still with me but well worth the effort.


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