Yorkshire Waters

Pritts Apprentice

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Jul 17, 2007
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521
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West Yorkshire
Had an afternoon on the Wharfe yesterday. Level was up quite a bit more than on recent weeks, which was nice to see. River was still fishable though flowing quite quickly and pretty coloured. I fished a team of spiders across and down and picked up 5 fish of 10 inches or less. The fresh, coloured water was making takes a bit more hesitant, but by inducing the flys to lift and fall on the dangle I was able to connect. Fishing downstream in fast water is a lot less fatiguing than fishing up, which is a plus. I suppose I could have shortlined some heavy nymphs, whether I would have found bigger, heavier fish lower down who knows? I was too lazy to change and much of the water I was fishing was quite shallow.

Was thinking of going today and taking some lures, but with the earlier rain, the river could be rising. So will probably give it a miss, saves getting a soaking anyway.

There has been very little hatching on the river, not seen much midge in the last few visits. What the fish are getting nourishment from I have not got a clue. The fish I caught were in good condition, so they are obviously finding enough food, perhaps they have all turned veggie :) and just eat gluten free bread and chips the tourists drop off bridges.
 

tigermoth

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May 17, 2006
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6,228
Location
The Wild West of Dymock
The Skirfare trout renowned as some the spookiest and most challenging to fish for. Personally it’s a challenge I enjoy, as the river holds some special fish. Watch and wait. And when you move, do so as if you were burgling a house.

In a related note, I’m thinking of venturing to upper Wharfedale myself. How is the upper river - around Kettlewell - holding up?
 

Pritts Apprentice

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Jul 17, 2007
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521
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West Yorkshire
Upper river fishing is much improved with the recent rains. This is after a somewhat latent season so far, purely down to the heat wave the whole of the UK has experienced this year.

The Skirfare has a bit of an unfair reputation, seemingly because some websites have described it as a difficult river to fly fish and not for the beginner, whatever that really means. In reality with a good water height and settled conditions, it’s no different to any upper reach on a Dales river. In fact it might even be a little easier as the river narrows and you can get a better drift more easily. Method/ fly choice is easier as your pretty much limited to upstream nymph or dry. With plenty of trees lining the river you also have good cover. Unfortunately and the reason I think the river has more of a frustrating reputation is that it often runs low to very low in a normal season. It is of course a river that runs through limestone country. Consequently an angler or more usually the flash of rod/line is more easily observed by fish, which are spending some of their time avoiding other predators because of their more exposed posistion.

I would encourage all fishers to experience this type of small, river fishing as it is so absorbing and rewarding and catching a fish is simply just the finale. Being creative with your casting, concealment, fly and tippet choice, patience and observation and simply being able to commune with nature are all rewards in themselves. Try it...then ask ‘was it a difficult river’? Not really just a river that’s taught you something about yourself and where you are now with your fishing and points the way to where you want to be. Good luck :)
 

george387

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Oct 28, 2009
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1,587
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Bedale North Yorkshire
had an hour up the Dale last night, the wind was gusting but manageable & the river on the top end of being fishable, nothing for the first hour then a trout, a chunky chub and another trout lost. Totally unfishable today.
 
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Fish_Spooker

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Mar 18, 2018
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26
Location
Yorkshire
Hi does anybody on here know anything about joing Wensleydale Angling Association? I’m a Wharfedale lad looking for a second river to fish (ideally with less footpaths) cheers in advance
 

george387

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Oct 28, 2009
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Bedale North Yorkshire
Was out again on one of the Dales rivers...It was hard! 3 Grayling & 1 OOS Trout for 4 hours of hard fishing, but had a laugh at a guy who claimed to have 40 fish & a 3lbs fish although he never took a picture of it nor did he have a set of scales!!:eek:mg:

my biggest fish of the day, nowhere near 3lbs but you get to see mine...:whistle:

Grayling25.11.18-01.jpg
 

Pritts Apprentice

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Jul 17, 2007
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521
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West Yorkshire
Early season on the upper Wharfe and the fishing is anything but easy! The weather since opening day has been quite pleasant, warm at times, but there has also been a nagging easterly breeze, which combined with bright conditions, very low/ cold water and no fly on the water is making catching extremely trying. There has been the odd LDO coming off between 12:30 and 1 pm, but nothing much to write home about, at least not enough to get the fish feeding. Until we get the trees in leaf or some more, fresh water, its going to be a struggle. There was a bit of flood about 3 weeks back, judging by the debris and torn down barbed wire fencing it was not insignificant. Normally at this time of year your sliding about on the river bed rocks, its like walking on ice but the flood has cleaned away all the detritus and its very grippy now. May should be a good month, once the black fly comes on and if we can get some water the season will get underway proper. For now though its more productive chase rainbows on a still water, happy casting :goodcast:
 

haggstock

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Aug 25, 2012
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Halifax
You deserve a medal for trying , I went out last week and my knees are still seized solid due to the water temperature.
 

Pritts Apprentice

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Jul 17, 2007
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521
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West Yorkshire
You deserve a medal for trying , I went out last week and my knees are still seized solid due to the water temperature.
Aye, I think I have probably hardened up to cold water temperatures with a couple of still water visits in February. However, I don't wear breathable's early season, I wear those Liverpool waders, mine are PVC, if your only in at Wellington boot depth, the boots are brilliant, keep your feet warm and I only wear a single pair of medium walking socks. I'll stay in them until mid May. I am also wearing Damart finger less gloves, they are fantastic, my hands go like wood in cold or wet and windy conditions and these keep my hands truly warm and I can still tie knots. I have worn neoprene gloves in winter, but they are not as warm and there is very little feel. The only problem with the Damart gloves is the sizing they are quite a small fitting, I have not got big hands but they are still a little short in the wrist. I don't bother with a fishing vest at this time of year, just wear a big coat (Korum all weather) and I have downsized to carrying just 1 single fly box, so its handy in one of my jacket pockets. Its a cheap Yorkshire, plazitote box and I can carry everything in it, I always carry far too many boxes! Then again come May I'll probably be upping them again, I have to justify the use of my Wheately boxes. Nippers and forceps I am away, nice and light.

Sessions this time of year are never long, 3 hours at the very most. Its a good time of the year to get in some casting practice whilst the fishing is poor!! With the water level and flows low, I have concentrated on the upstream nymph and duo and when a trickle of LDO's has come off changed to a couple of Waterhen Bloas, fished up as well as down stream. Sometimes popping on a grey beaded, dark olive baetis nymph to give a bit more fishing depth. Tried the dark olive F fly and small dark olive emerges, right into the bank and under leafless willows, all to no avail! I have tried the fast, shallow riffles and long, deep glides....nothing. The fish are there and their heads are down, probably resting under some big rocks at depth. If your not putting it on their noses, they won't budge. The other week I came across 1 rising fish, not to the LDO Dun but it was rising to the nymph, coming into the surface film and making a very, gentle splashy rise. The rise was so short, less than 3 minutes, I didn't have time to change fly, I think the Klinkhammer was the right colour, but it was too big (proper partridge klinkhammer hook #14) and the nymph trailing was possibly dragging, in the clear water. End result was refusal, I put the fish down, with bad presentation, clumsy casting and my own stumbling, movements. That was it not another fish seen!

The above will change if we can get some water (not too much!) together with a SW wind. It'll bring on the fly and more importantly it'll bring the fish on the feed. Other than the LDO's, I have seen 1 Large Brook Dun, which emerged before me in midstream and that's it, nothing else. Even the grey and pied wagtails and the dippers seem bored with the lack of available food at the moment. You could blame the overall, trend in reduced fly life, but its not that, its simply very early and a little too cold for productive fishing. Hope it won't be as hot as last year, pleasant as it was to have a nice summer, but it ruined the fishing. Some time soon we are going to get a bumper year on the trout, so I am looking forward to that, please let it be 2019 :)
 

liphook

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Mar 23, 2011
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326
We had our 1st outing on the Wharfe on Saturday. Saw plenty of needle flies and one or two LDOs on what was a pleasant day but with an ever present cold easterly. Very few rising fish though we both caught trout. Most noticeable was the amount of plastic in and around the river; fertiliser bags, bits of land drain, off cuts of water pipe, broken mineral lick tubs, tree guards and all kinds of unidentifiable (and some unmentionable!) dross. Disappointing to say the least so I've contacted our club secretary in the hope of organising a work party. Stern words should be had with the farmers upstream of Kilnsey as this hallowed national park is in danger of becoming a disgrace and there's no doubt that the bulk of the offending items were of agricultural origin.
On a 'positive note' I found a fiver in the tide line of the winter flooding - yet more blue plastic! There'll be a Yorkshire man loosing sleep somewhere....
 

Pritts Apprentice

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Jul 17, 2007
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West Yorkshire
On a 'positive note' I found a fiver in the tide line of the winter flooding - yet more blue plastic! There'll be a Yorkshire man loosing sleep somewhere....
That's well funny....but I can do better once found a tenner below Bolton Abbey after high water, rich southern tourists!. Your right there are some tired Yorkshire farmers who should be cleaning the mess up. I spotted a dead sheep, mid river Saturday, it must have been lying there for a good 2 weeks since levels dropped. It had started balloon and once we get some warm weather will stink the place out........still, looking on the bright side the maggots it will be producing will have every fish in the river below it.......great place to fish a killer bug of something. Well done on catching in difficult conditions, that breeze was sharp!
 

Pritts Apprentice

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West Yorkshire
Back on the Wharfe, Sunday. It was great to see a slight lift in water height, having been below summer levels for the past month. The only downside, as to be expected was the water was colored, full of soil silt from the dried up becks higher up. I didn't catch, however in the the thin, faster riffles, where water clarity was better I was getting a few nips at the spiders I was fishing. Up until Sunday I had been crawling around on hands and knees targeting the ulta spookey wild trout in the low clear water. Again getting fish coming to the fly but hooking up has been difficult.

Really hoping we get some decent water and weather conditions through May, as the fishing has been tough up to now. Not noticed much fly on the water either, but with the Sand Martins and Swallows arriving, a feast cannot be too far away, lets hope so, for now everything is in hope :confused:
 
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Pritts Apprentice

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West Yorkshire
Finally the river has awoken. The spirit is uplifted and my smile grows wide as I watch the river come alive with life. Our winged friends have arrived form warmer climes, just as the leaves, newly open on the trees and fly life begins to emerge in open water and best of all the fish have started to rise and sip down these tasty treats. Mind! This weekend has been cold, especially Saturday, I needed gloves, in May! that’s too cold for comfortable fishing and with inadequate clothing I was forced to leave early with my business unfinished. Today I was equally punished with a soaking, I wanted rain and I got it, but it did feel slightly warmer after it stopped.

The river has changed and where I fished was inviting, gin clear water, a deep channel, with a good flow over fine gravel, easy casting with the waters pace giving me a steady retrieve. After catching rainbows and river stockies, today I finally secured a nice wild fish, a female, a golden bar, a 1 1/2 lb’er in superb condition. She fell willingly to my big klinkhammer. Fought hard, took line and tried to shear my leader, by diving under a rock embankment then swimming upstream to rub the monofilament against the overhanging lip. No luck for her, despite the head shaking and deep plunging, dives. In the net she went, wild with rage. As I looked in to that fishes eyes I could see and feel her contempt and annoyance, to have lived through a winter and now caught at the best time of the year. Letting her go, I felt her scold me for my foolishness in fishing for no gain, a ridiculous pursuit, to any creature in the wild. Although strong, I made her weaker for a short while and easy prey for fishing eating birds. But I am confident that fish would be a surviver and long lived and not so easily caught tomorrow or indeed in a years time :) Fishing such a great way of life.
 
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Pritts Apprentice

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West Yorkshire
Fishing along the length of the Wharfe is now slowly picking up. The suns warmth, gentle up stream breeze and a slight flush and consequent lift in water height is making the fishing pleasanter and more profitable. Hatches seem to be occurring anywhere between late morning and mid afternoon, when they happen, but there is no telling what will come and exactly when. The bigger, wilder fish are putting in an appearance and a good bend in the rod when you hook one. The ones I have caught have been in great condition, 'All Gold' if rather slim in the belly. Hopefully we will continue to get rain showers and it won't remain too dry for too long. I have found fishing dry fly at a distance on very fine tippet to be the best tactic, the water is extremely clear and you can watch the fish rise to your fly (without Polaroids) if your fishing from an elevated position. Water temperature is still cold and that is slowing fish activity a little, stand in the water for an hour or so and your feet start to feel rather cool. As the black fly starts to come in greater numbers, I am sure most visits will see some score achieved, hope so. The wind although light can be tricky at times and makes me feel my casting is rotten, perhaps I am trying too hard and reading too many casting related articles/ publications, trying different approaches and making a mess! But I am learning and improving, so that's the main thing and taking enjoyment from it, as well getting frustrated :mad: occasionally! Well I'll a tie few more flies the next couple of evenings and look forward to the weekend. Its just a little too early for evening fishing yet, I feel. Later next month it'll be good to make a trip or 2 after work
 

walney

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Jan 1, 2008
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30
Location
Roundhay, North Leeds.
Had a few hours late morning early afternoon on the Wharfe. Good hatches of Yellow Mays and Mayflies. Fish not yet onto them, watched numerous Mays drift over 50 yards or more unmolested. Managed three browns and a grayling all to DH emerger and F Fly
 

jaybeegee

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Sep 25, 2017
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Yorkshire
Had a few hours late morning early afternoon on the Wharfe. Good hatches of Yellow Mays and Mayflies. Fish not yet onto them, watched numerous Mays drift over 50 yards or more unmolested. Managed three browns and a grayling all to DH emerger and F Fly
I saw the same yesterday, two or three really good hatches largely ignored, but the fish willing enough to take near the bottom. It will happen soon though. :thumbs:
 

Pritts Apprentice

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Jul 17, 2007
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West Yorkshire
Fished for a few hours today. Very, very hard conditions with such low, clear water and hardly any flow in the fastest of stretches. There was a large and ongoing hatch of aphid/ green fly on the water between 11 am and 1 pm, not sure how much the fish were on them. A few olive uprights, the odd brook dun and surprisingly some spinners hovering above me at lunch time.

Fish were spooked every time my line got within a yard of them, splash down (5# weight) was simply pushing them further up river, frustrating. My wading was as bad as my casting today, started to lose my belief that I had any ability to fish properly at all. Late in the day managed a decent fish to a John Storey under the canopy.

Love my fishing, but some water would help. Hatches as mentioned in earlier posts are improving, as is water and air temperature. Things could turn really good soon. If they don’t I am going to have to reach for the size 24’s and 26’s IOBO cdc Humpies I have been tying, if that’s the case things will be desperate. Anyway best of luck to all those battling the Wharfe at the moment.....chin up :)
 
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