I have just returned from a week in the Yorkshire dales , a lovely area to visit . Especially for me as it doesn't seem to matter which part you stay in you are never far away from one of the beautiful Dales rivers . This time we were in Richmond and the local river is the Swale , in fact the river flows right through the town. Apparently the Swale can be the fastest rising river in England . Due to its extensive high ground catchment catchment and steep valleys . When we arrived it was dead low due to the last few weeks lack of rain.
Despite the idyllic scene above its sad to report the litter muppets still manage to spoil things , the shingle bank showing was liberally scattered with dozens of broken bottles and the remains of a good few bonfires . Sadly it's an all to common story of many people's lack of respect for the countryside.
I managed a few early morning sessions on here , not an ideal time to fish but under dead low summer conditions it has a good few things going for it. The river has been un disturbed for a few hours and water temperatures will have dropped slightly . Also the procession of dog walkers , fire lighters, bottle smashers and other bank side dwellers has been absent for a few hours . The river is as quiet then as at any time of day. Swale dale certainly is a very handsome place . The first fish of the day and in fact all he fish I caught came from Runs less than a foot deep fast broken water , "skinny water"
The river was a cracking place to be early morning , I shared it with Buzzards, Kingfishers , Dippers a couple of foxes and butterflies in abundance , should know more about butterflies but it's something I have never got to grip with , not sure what these are but there sure were a lot .
The run below was pretty typical of where fish came from fast, and generally less that a foot deep with a few pockets a bit deeper , a size 16 Klink with a nice visible post was the best on the day. Rises were sometimes amazingly small given the speed of the water often the fly just seemed to sucked through the film. A highly visible fly was essential. Its also worth mentioning that not one fish was targetted as a riser. All fish were taken by casting to likely lies and holding spots. Fish that were visibly rising were small fish splashing in the dead slow pools.
I caught a lot of the size below and a few better fish , my best of the trip was about a pound and a half But stupidly allowed it to flip out of the net after carrying it to the edge of the current . Barbless hook came out and the fish bid me farewell before the camera could be deployed
The run below was where I had my best success between one and two feet deep of very clear fast water over a very rocky bed in a 100yds I had five fish , one released at the net as stated above and four to hand , the best photogenic one is below. They put up a tremendous scrap in the fast current , great fun on a 10ft four weight .
Just as an aside , I like a lot of anglers can be guilty of indulging in expensive posh label gear , I do love Winstons and have several , but last year needing a 10ft 4 wt for exactly this kind of occasional use I took a risk on a cheap ebay Trabucco 4 pce. Quite a sweet rod think it was about £75 quid. Just shows whats out there in the marketplace.
My few days in the dales were delightful , The rivers although low and full of spoooky fish were great fun.
Until the last couple of days when overnight rain demonstrated why this river is known as the fatest rising in England. From dead low to bank high in just a few hours..
Lovely post Andrew and some very beautiful trout. The Swale is not a river I've fished and I need to correct that sometime soon!
Your butterfly is a Meadow Brown by the way.....
Great to see you took my advice Andy and although low water had a good few sessions. Well done mate.
I'm off to Carperby for a couple of days with Mrs BF so no fishing but may have to take not of suitable fishing spots. You have given me a good starting point , sounds lovely!
Well done Andy! This time of year the fish are in the more oxygenated skinny water over on this side of the pond too! Looks like lovely country. I enjoyed reading James Harriot's stories of working as a country vet in the Dales.
When I was a boy I was at boarding school just outside the town where James Herriot had his practice me and a friend took a pet hamster to him I remember he never charged us
I have just discovered your blog today and enjoyed reading a couple of your posts already. Happy reminisces. Thank you.
I was brought up in Stockton on Tees and enjoyed, from early childhood until my early thirties, fishing the Tees, Swale, Ure and numerous other local water bodies, but not as a fly angler.
It was not until I settled in Calgary, Western Canada that I took up fly fishing - in truth, I could not afford it when I lived in England. Here all running water is owned by the general population and not individuals, syndicates or clubs. The one restriction is that water can only be accessed from public property, and providing one remains at or below the nominal high water mark, you can walk as many miles as you wish along the river side - heaven. Here we do not have the problems of dense populations and over crowded waters.
I fish the Bow River for wild rainbow and browns. The fish stocks are self sustaining and 17" to 20" fish are common. Like you I fish nymphs and drys, depending on time of year and conditions.
I also fish some of the mountain streams for wild rainbow, cutthroat and bull trout. Here it is very rare that I see another angler on my days on the water. My companions are more often deer or moose, and very occasionally I will see a bear or wolf.
I am lucky to have local access to such beautiful and prolific water but I look at your photographs and blog words with fond memories. My best memories are of stalking chub and barbel on the Swale at close to midnight on starry July nights.
Thank you for providing this great reading.
Ed its comments like yours that keep me going when I feel like putting the blog to sleep. , I caught my first trout in the leven near Stockton nearly 50 yrs ago . Glad you are enjoying the blog
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