Monday, 3 August 2020

Yorkshire Day. The river Ure and Yorkshire Trout and Grayling

Yesterday was "Yorkshire Day"  .  A day to celebrate our County and its heritage and Beauty .   By coincidence I had planned a day of fishing .  To the river Ure in Wenslydale.  A more Yorkshire fishing destination is hard to imagine .  I had invited a friend along for the day .  Part of the fun of membership of Fly fishing clubs or syndicates is that it gives you the opportunity of sharing days with friends .  Apart from good company  on the day the cries of lapwings , curlews and the occasional buzzard overhead added to the scenery.  As for fishing conditions , well low water , bright sun and a cold downstream wind made fishing challenging .

We both were hoping for dry fly fishing but on the day the conditions told us"Nymph" . But after a bit of fruitless Nymphing in the faster runs I switched to a duo .My fist decent fish was a Grayling which came up and hammered the Klinkhammer.  After that we both pretty much reverted to dries occasionally casting to the sparse visible rising fish but mainly casting to likely lies and holding places .  here is my Guest for the day happily exploring the Skinny water 

My first few fish were dwarfed by a pretty average Cuban Cigar this was the first decent fish to show .   On a dry fly despite both of trying nymphs extensively all fish came of the top  despite there been very little evidence of rising fish .  It was a case of putting a fly where you thought a fish should be .

Apart from a couple of little wildies the other trout that showed up was this one and one a good bit bigger .  Pretty sure that despite the colours this was a stocked fish .  Pulled well though and was welcome on a pretty slow tough day. 

I suppose the winner on the day was Wenslydale . Tremendous scenery a beautiful river and the sounds of Curlews , lapwings and Oyster catchers , even a kingfisher put in an appearance.  On the day we sort of ended honours even I had six trout and two Grayling ,  my guest did the opposite with six grayling and 2 trout. He has a well deserved reputation of been able to sniff out a grayling in a puddle. 

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Chalk and Cheese

The title is an old saying popular in the English language and it refers to things which are totally different ,  It  also links the two places I have fished this week rather nicely .  Not having had any significant time of work since Christmas I decided this week to have three days of.  Wednesday I planned to fish the Ure .  A beautiful Yorkshire Dales river flowing through Wenslydale .  Interestingly Wenslydale is the only one of the Yorkshire Dales which is not named after the river that flows through it ,  it is named after the town that is shares its name with .  It also shares its name with a famous cheese , Wenslydale is a delightful crumbly pleasure recently made famous by that cartoon series Wallace and grommit.   The chalk half of the saying is relevant because of the delightful Chalk stream that I was invited to fish on during Friday .  The Yorkshire Wolds are a series of rolling chalk hills that are host to a few Spring fed streams of extraordinary clarity and richness ,  it was the Driffield West beck that a Friend invited me for a day ,  but first was the Ure this was one of the first areas we explored my companion is there exploring the faster water.

The river was at a reasonable summer level,  and was running that nice colour which can either be said to resemble cold tea or a fine Yorkshire beer depending on how you like to describe it.

For once this yours truly pictured mid stream and rather smartly photographed which would indicate that the casting style is somewhere near decent ,  Also perhaps confirming that photos can be very misleading .

The Ure is a largish freestone river famous for its trout and Grayling , it is one of the birthplaces of Spider ( Soft hackle ) fishing ,  It is also infamous for its ability to rise with terrifying speed should heavy rain fall at the head of the valley. On the day I shared the day with a good friend who made the journey over there at the same time ,  As far as the fishing went the least said the better the highlight of the day was in the end the scenery and the sound of curlews , My Companion had the better of it , My tally was a few small brownies most came in the last hour or two of a long day .  My companion had both a a decent trout and a nice Grayling as well as other bits ,  On Friday it was a different story the fish gods shone on me . aided by some canny guiding this was the result.

This next  picture gives an idea of both the size and the extraordinary clarity of the stream .

Fridays trip ending up being a totally different day ,  the day was blessed on a number of counts ,  the weather was kind , the Wolds streams can be a trifle windy ,  Or more accurately a gentle summers breeze down at sea level at my home can turn into a wind that bends trees over up on the wolds .  The fish were there in profusion and for a change Lady Luck was smiling on me .  But more importantly my host as well as being a damm fine angler is extremely knowledgable about the stream.   I was guided skilfully to where the hotspots were .  Fish of prodigious proportions were there to be seen .  Even accompanied by a native guide many were spooked .

My first five minutes casting was rubbish ,  well more rubbish than my usual casting is ,  but after that I improved from awful to passable and settled into the day .  In the end I managed a good few fish the best two were carefully weighed at 3lb 3 oz and 2lb 12oz. The 2lb 12 was a stunning fish but avoided the camera , after been carefully weighed in the net as I went to hold it up a last thrash of the tail sent it sailing back into the river .  ah well such is life.  It was in the end a stunning day finished of by the last half an hour trying to tempt some large resident chub and Grayling a in a large deep pool.  The late afternoon sunshine beating down on our back was the signal that the day was done .  A memorable day with great company.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

A little stream and Blue winged olives .

When it all comes down to it ,  as a fly fisherman who loves small streams I guess it does not get any better than a summers evening on a pretty stream with rising fish .  When you analyse it all there are really only a couple of months maybe three at best when the evening rise has a chance to develop properly .  This year apart from Covid lockdown we have had a strange year ,  months of unbroken sunshine which followed a very wet winter , then after the recent hot spell the last few days has seen heavy downpours with rivers rising several metres almost overnight .   Anyway last Friday after viewing the weekend weather report which was for thunderstorms starting that evening and getting worse over the weekend  I decided to risk the weather.  The rivers were fairly settled and it was very warm and sticky. I decided on stretch of river based on how near I could park my Jimny if I had to exit quickly in case of downpours. 

Not big but from a tricky lie and on a dry , it will do nicely 

 I love this stream pretty wild and challenging  but a lovely place to be .  It has a good head of fish to 

It was nice to see rising fish almost immediately ,  not huge numbers but enough to promise an interesting evening ,  there were BWO coming of and so choice of fly was easy .  A size 18 fly fly with a dubbed seals fur body.  Well seals fur and artificial dubbing , I find just seals fur a pain to dub on small flies.  but mixed with some artificial dubbing it works much better.

My only company were these sheep.  They were very curious .  

This is the F Fly pattern I use this is a size 18 .  Love the spikiness of seals fur.  Body dubbing colour varies orange , olive and black are all good depending on whats hatching ,  also plain black thread body and stripped quills ,  It is a hell of a pattern

After a dodgy first 10 minutes when I caught a tree and two clumps of Grass I got into my stride. the fish were rising well but were very spooky ,  generally you only got one cast and in the very tight surroundings you have to get pretty close often roll casts between bushes were the answer ,  but you tend to do a lot of improvised casts , also you seem to spend more time checking behind your arm than aiming at the fish ,  which is why roll and spey casts are so useful as least you can keep the line in front of you.

 Lots around this size were caught ,  The bigger ones were hiding .

My car was well populated with resting fish food when I got back to it .

The highlight of the evening was the fact that the Grayling were rising to dries to . Sadly the best one of the evening was the best one I nearly had after shaking the hook and saying goodbye.  When I got back to the car it was covered in Flies, Mainly BWO but also a few Sedges and I think Olive Uprights .  I drove home after best part of four hours fishing ,  saw a few rain drops and heard the odd rumble of thunder but very little wet stuff. Only three or four miles into my Journey and roads were awash so not just a good night it had been a lucky one .  

Monday, 8 June 2020

First trip of the Season on the River Seven..( and the third )...

This post is a bit late coming .  But its here now   I am fishing a new stream this year ,  the little Lower Yorkshire Seven.  I decided that I would spend opening day ( the post covid lock down one ) not the real one on the river . So on a cold day in mid may we ventured forth.  Myself and a companion to a very low stream on a very cold day .   Amazingly we did pretty well in the few hours fishing I finished with seven pretty little wild browns.

two from the first day ,  For those technical souls amongst you size 18 CDC IOBO was the winner on the day 

I followed the trip up a week later with a return visit .  The day was much brighter and warmer sadly the river was even lower but in the few hours managed a dozen fish .  Should have been more but missed a good few .  Mayfly were hatching but the fish were not really taking them.

The river is delightful , quiet unspoilt away from both crowds and dog walkers .  Interesting varied water with a suitable number of long flats. Short rapids and everything in between to require varied approaches ,  requiring at varying times either a machette or the wading skills of a ninja assassin.

The fish are pretty and up to a suitable size to put a bend in a two or three weight . little wildies can create quite a fuss when they realise they are hooked.  This was the best of the day..

In places the casting is a bit tight .  Not impossible I might add but tight enough to be interesting and keep you coming back . Yes  I am going to enjoy it here....No I didnt catch the one I was after .  Fluffed the roll cast and spooked the bugger...

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Normal Service restored ( well nearly )

So things are gradually returning to normal, or should I say things are settling into the new normal .   There is this new thing called Social Distancing . Well its new to some folk .  Personally have never been a lover of crowds and given that casting a fly on a secluded stream  is probably near  the polar opposite of being in a crowd . Anyway apart from that  given how Society normally works there are some pretty fundamental changes to how we live heading our way.  In a lot of ways not a bad thing I guess . 
 Anyway this last week or so has seen me get back to my local streams a couple of times ,  The streams are very very low . We have had no rain of any consequence now for several months .  But at last we are allowed out to play . The rivers although low are full of lovely free rising trout.  Even Grayling appear to be free rising at the moment . 

 I always feel immensely privileged when I fish my local streams . We still have several that are relatively unspoilt and no longer stocked .  Sadly there are still many clubs and syndicates that stock quite heavily. This impacts on both the Native Trout and also the Grayling . It is also becoming more apparent  that it impacts on peoples desire to fish them .  The club that I am Chairman of has seen a noticable change in what people are looking for. .Increasingly people are enquiring if the club waters are stocked or wild , with a preference for the latter .Also do they contain Grayling . I really believe that there are enough put and take fisheries stuffed with willing stockies and people are looking for something a bit different .  Quality over Quantity I suspect.

Anyway for now the sun is shining the rivers are buzzing the Mayfly are starting to hatch and I have a trip planned for the weekend to one of the Classic Dales rivers. So for now all is well with the world .

Well a little bit of a late addendum .  The weekend trip to the Dales didnt happen due to the ultra low water levels there . Also hearing some bad reports of the area been overun by visitors .  So as the Mayfly were starting to do there stuff and the local streams are always quiet it was another weekend spent locally.   So the pictures below are all from a couple of trips on another local stream. 

Just to confirm what I said about the Grayling I was surprised to catch this on a dry fly the other day . Out of season as well. The fish was lifted very briefly from the stream and I could not resist a photo and to briefly reflect on what a beautiful fish they are .  Interestingly on both these local streams the Grayling grow to a better size than the native browns do. 

In places the fishing is very tight . Roll casts and short rods are the name of the Game .

The fish are small but free rising and fight harder than there size would have you expect.

On this stream and those like it this is may favourite outfit .  A very light 7ft 3 wt . 

The lack of any rain for many months have left the streams very low ...

And left them very clear.....