Trout That Never See A Fly

micka

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2010
Messages
1,056
Sometimes on my club waters and occasionally on waters I may be visiting I will see pools and lies which are almost impossible to fish and cover with a fly even in low water and yet seem to have all the characteristics of superb holding water.

There are two examples which spring quickly to mind. The first is on the Ure not far below Masham. Anyone who knows this area will know of a nice walk at Hackfall Wood which follows the river Ure as it makes it's way to Rippon. One holiday in Wensleydale I walked the steep path adjacent to river which I think is part of the Swinton Park Estate, though I may be wrong. The river falls quite dramatically in this almost gorge like environment producing some really interesting pools and some fascinating pocket water. The left bank is very steep and heavily wooded and quite inaccessible and for much of it's course the current on the right bank is just too strong to wade to cover some of the tantalising pools opposite. The tree cover, the seductive foam lines, depth of some of the pools for trout to quickly escape to and the proliferation of rocks must surely be home to some very decent trout I thought at the time. But I had to conclude that given the prohibitive currents and wholly inaccessible left bank any resident trout will surely never have seen an angler's fly.

The other section containing 'undisturbed' trout which occurs to me is on the River Lune in the Rigmaden area. This is an area just below a natural 'weir' like structure where the water drops into a series of very sexy pools on the right bank. Again there is simply nowhere for the trout angler to cover these as this is a salmon pool with deep central run and a good width of river separating you from ever covering them effectively. I have tried with a streamer but even double hauling did not allow me to cover it effectively as the intermediate fast currents whipped my line away too quickly - also you don't get a second chance with wary trout by such an intrusive method imho. Similarly to the Ure above, the right bank itself was totally inaccessible given the steep and heavily wooded bank. But once more so many foam lines concentrated in these inaccessible pools that I'm convinced must necessarily hold some 'big boys.'

Now I know that trout have resting lies which are not always feeding lies and they will move out of the former if a sudden emergence of food in the form of a hatch occurs. Indeed, once when the Lune was in spate just on the sill of the natural weir I refer to (above these pools), I was streamer fishing and hooked and lost a huge trout. I convinced myself that in spate conditions this was a feeding lie where this brute seized the best position to intercept any food brought down by the current. But normally I pondered, he would be in those inaccessible pools where the concentrated foam gave him all the food he wanted with the safety of a steep bank and deep water near to hand. Oh how I dreamed of subtly dropping a dry fly or nymph into those dense foam lanes to lure some brute out of its lair.

Everyone on this forum will have a story where they wandered rashly into a river to cover what they think is a prime bit of water holding some specimen fish but immediately regretted it when they felt very vulnerable in fast or deep water which was threatening their safety - often beating a retreat as best they could. As Keith Arthur rightly says NFWI (no fish worth it). And the deaths of some unfortunate anglers every year reinforces why we should always err on the side of caution in such circumstances. So putting your safety first above your hunting instincts do you have experience (past or present) of some very, very tempting water which could hold a possible PB trout but where you can never put your curiosity to the test?

Mick
 
Last edited:

eddleston123

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 3, 2012
Messages
9,578
Location
Peebles, Scottish Borders
I can remember walking past many deep gorges in my time with lots of trouty tasty looking pools.
The only way down to them would be by a bit of rock climbing - Maybe 50 years ago I might have been tempted!

I am fortunate to have access to some small streams which I would confidently say have never seen an artificial fly (other than mine) - Doesn't seem to make them any easier to catch though!


Douglas
 

easker1

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 10, 2010
Messages
7,419
Location
Highlands
how would you know that the trout hadn't been moving about in the river? they do do that you know> easker1
 

micka

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2010
Messages
1,056
how would you know that the trout hadn't been moving about in the river? they do do that you know> easker1
Yes they do Easker but firstly on the Ure vast and continuous sections of it were inaccessible so allowing for that it would still be of no avail to the wandering angler On the Lune all my gut instincts told me those pools opposite were prime lies where decent fish would bully lesser brethren away in the piscatorial pecking order and keep those choice spots for themselves because the amount of foam concentration would bring enough food and the steepness of the right bank and overhanging branches gave them innate safety.

The big fish that I briefly hooked must have been partially a fish feeder to grow that size I surmised and I think a lot of that sort of feeding goes on at night when big fish have an additional safety factor encouraging them to wander to seek out minnows, bullheads and the like. But in the day time inaccessible choice lies are prime real estate for decent sized trout imho.

Mick
 
Last edited:

micka

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2010
Messages
1,056
I miss my Wensleydale fishing holidays 🥲
It's a beautiful valley for sure and Covid allowing I hope to be back there in the Whitsun holiday staying at Middleham, affording me the opportunity perhaps to fish the Cover as well as the Ure.

Mick
 
Last edited:

easker1

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 10, 2010
Messages
7,419
Location
Highlands
long time since I fished the Wensley caught my first Grayling there just up from the town stretch, easker1
 

micka

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2010
Messages
1,056
I was reading some older Trout and Salmon mags the other day and Andrew Flitcroft penned an article based on a trip up that way. The rivers were very low but he caught an absolute clonker which shows the quality of fish the Ure and its tributaries can produce.

But going back to my earlier points, it's been said many times that when you have a prime trout lie attractive to one of the bigger brethren in the days when it might be caught and when some angler knocked it on the head, its place would quickly be taken in no time by the next fish in the pecking order. Of course, what I perceive to be a prime lie from a distance might not be so in practice - I had no way of putting it to the test.

When I think again about some of the pools I refer to they seemed to offer everything a trout could want in terms of steady food supply and a secure (from predators, including man) environment.

I simply don't know what research may have been done on the movement of trout around a stretch of river, how much do bigger trout wander to feed at night (often stated). But its pretty well documented that after any movement they will return to their favoured lie.

Finally, on whether some trout never see an artificial fly, there is the role of the angler and how far anglers are prepared to walk on a beat. A while back I put a thread up asking Clyde anglers why when I took the train to Glasgow in seemingly perfect conditions I never saw anyone fishing the river with its mouth watering pools. Some of the Clyde anglers on here admitted that some anglers were reluctant to walk any real distance from the most convenient access points. That perhaps and the low density of population for much of its upper/middle course might explain why "angler spotting" from the train was not very productive for me. But it's certainly a lovely river and I envy those who do have access to it.

Mick
 
Last edited:

Paul_B

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 14, 2008
Messages
4,249
Location
West Riding of Yorkshire
It's a beautiful valley for sure and Covid allowing I hope to be back there in the Whitsun holiday staying at Middleham, affording me the opportunity perhaps to fish the Cover as well as the Ure.

Mick

It's a beautiful valley for sure and Covid allowing I hope to be back there in May staying at Middleham, affording me the opportunity perhaps to fish the Cover as well as the Ure.

Mick

We like Middleham, also Aysgarth, the cottages next to the Aysgarth falls hotels car park
heres a view from our cottage at Middleham
P5120111.JPG
 

micka

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2010
Messages
1,056
We like Middleham, also Aysgarth, the cottages next to the Aysgarth falls hotels car park
heres a view from our cottage at Middleham
View attachment 35125
Beautiful Paul. The cottage we've rented (a former pub) is just a bit further up that same side of the street I think. I'm hoping that having been cancelled last Easter that it will be on for this Whitsun holiday as a session on the Cover is on my bucket list.

And there's the great castle of Middleham, home to Richard Neville, better known as Warwick the Kingmaker for some time then eventually to Richard of Gloucester, the future Richard III, when he took over all the former Neville lands and effectively governed the whole North on behalf of his brother, Edward IV.

When they found his body in the underground remains of Leicester Abbey and subjected it to detailed forensic analysis they found that fish featured prominently in his diet. No doubt the Ure and it's tributaries would provide game fish a plenty and in it's lower reaches, coarse fish. Also York, where Richard often stayed, was navigable from the Humber estuary and so would provide sea fish too. Game rivers do take us to some beautiful and fascinating places for sure - one of the real pleasures of our sport.

Mick
 

Paul_B

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 14, 2008
Messages
4,249
Location
West Riding of Yorkshire
Beautiful Paul. The cottage we've rented (a former pub) is just a bit further up that same side of the street I think. I'm hoping that having been cancelled last Easter that it will be on for this Whitsun holiday as a session on the Cover is on my bucket list.

And there's the great castle of Middleham, home to Richard Neville, better known as Warwick the Kingmaker for some time then eventually to Richard of Gloucester, the future Richard III, when he took over all the former Neville lands and effectively governed the whole North on behalf of his brother, Edward IV.

When they found his body in the underground remains of Leicester Abbey and subjected it to detailed forensic analysis they found that fish featured prominently in his diet. No doubt the Ure and it's tributaries would provide game fish a plenty and in it's lower reaches, coarse fish. Also York, where Richard often stayed, was navigable from the Humber estuary and so would provide sea fish too. Game rivers do take us to some beautiful and fascinating places for sure - one of the real pleasures of our sport.

Mick

We us the Mystified bungalow at Bishopdale nowadays, very quite and peaceful and amazing owners (y)
 

jaybeegee

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 25, 2017
Messages
1,506
Location
Yorkshire
It's a beautiful valley for sure and Covid allowing I hope to be back there in the Whitsun holiday staying at Middleham, affording me the opportunity perhaps to fish the Cover as well as the Ure.

Mick
I had a look at the Leeds stretch above the bridge after lockdown last year. As you say, some superb looking water, but very steep overgrown banks and deep margins make for difficult access. There were one or two spots but it’s long drive for me for a short session. The Cover is on my list too.
B
 

micka

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2010
Messages
1,056
I had a look at the Leeds stretch above the bridge after lockdown last year. As you say, some superb looking water, but very steep overgrown banks and deep margins make for difficult access. There were one or two spots but it’s long drive for me for a short session. The Cover is on my list too.
B
Given the fact that much of my fishing can involve a 3/4 hour round trip, a cottage holiday with some nice fishing nearby is such a joy. I can drop into the river very early or late in the evening. I now take tackle for my son in law to use too which makes things even better when the family are with us in the cottage too, which is often the case nowadays.

Come back from a good session on the river and then put some beef or pork to roast in the oven, pour out a nice big glass of Rioja or Primitivo, followed by several more, seeing my son in law joyous after landing a fish or two perhaps - heaven indeed.

You could begin a thread in it's own right on the theme of best family and fishing holidays combined you have had. Not all of mine have been successful fishing wise. If it's salmon or sea trout that is the quarry then drought conditions can put the mockers on things. If its an early Easter the rivers might not have woken up properly for the trout but you still relish them.

Some of the the valleys and bases which have been the focus of past holidays that I have really enjoyed over many decades would include:

Usk/Monnow - Abergavenny/Brecon
Swale - Richmond
Teifi - Newcastle Emlyn
Derbyshire Wye - Ashford in the Water
Wharfe - Kilsney
Spey - Boat of Garten
Dee - Strachan
Torridge - Torrington
Ure - Masham

And perhaps this year the Cover - we'll see.

Very different to pure fishing holidays with fishing buddies but lovely because your see your family grow up over the seasons and now we go with the grandchildren as well.

Mick
 

Paul_B

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 14, 2008
Messages
4,249
Location
West Riding of Yorkshire
A friend of ours who sadly died early last year had cottages to rent next to the Tweed in the borders, anyone who used one had a complimentary ticket to fish, and the river was a short stroll away.
Those were happy days
 

sewinbasher

Well-known member
Joined
May 16, 2006
Messages
11,720
Location
North East Wales
I've been a member of a very good club on the Monnow for over 40 years and fished as a guest before that. Since moving to North Wales some 30 years ago my trips have been limited to just a couple each season, usually for the mayfly. Naturally I tried to make the most of each trip and during the fall of spent in the last couple of hours of daylight I was reluctant to waste time on "difficult" fish. There is a spot where the river is tree lined and narrowed by an old submerged stone wall that speeds up the current but above which is a steep bank making a stealthy approach impossible. Despite seeing what appeared to be a large trout rising there on many visits I never invested the time to try for it.

Then, on one visit I was staying for two days and saw it there again on my first evening, Having caught a dozen good fish that evening, I decided to have a go for it on my second evening. I checked that the fish was rising, clambered down the bank inevitably putting it down, got into position behind a large clump of wild mint and waited. After about 10 minutes it started knocking off the spents again barely a rod length out. I let it take a few then cast over it and it took first time. I felt the weight of a good fish before it let go!!!!

Two years later I got another chance, repeated the same process with the same result, but this time the fish stayed on and turned out to be one of my best ever Monnow trout, and definitely the prettiest! It was 16.5" of trout perfection and since then the renowned local artist Humphrey Stanley has felt moved to commit my photograph of it to canvas, that picture now looks down on me!

16 inch Brown - Mint Island 2003.jpg
 
Top