Yorkshire Waters

Pritts Apprentice

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Joined
Jul 17, 2007
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532
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West Yorkshire
Hots the word, too hot for daytime fishing. The last couple of weeks on the Wharfe have been disappointing with either single fish or blanks predominant. Not much fly life visible either on the streams of Yorkshire and Lancashire. Foam slicks in the back eddies normally have plenty of victims trapped either dead or dying, but I have seen little evidence of this in the past few weeks. To fair there are some sedge over the water and sometimes a few spinners, other than midge not much else. I blame the amount of slurry that’s going on to the fields, visibly and going by the stench it’s a continuous practice. All for a big yield in producing more milk.

I fished a couple of evenings ago and it was surprisingly cool at 7pm in a freshening north easterly breeze. The water felt dead and produced nothing, typical August, but it would be nice to fish some big sedge. I had a rise to a silver sedge, but the fish decided it was not for eating.

A little more luck on a small, moorland stream I fish, has produced some small fish in extremely low water conditions, 6” and less in places. Providing there is flow and good tree cover/ shade I have caught well on the snipe and purple spider, in the surface film. Think it might be taken for egg laying sedge/ needle fly. The emerger has been less effective and the nymph ignored. If we get some rain, I have found a new little beck to fish, so will give that a go. Not sure who owns the water (probably a farmer), but it has a public footpath so it’ll only be half a trespass. There is another beck spurs off but that looks to be very private, judging by the signs and barb wire, so I will leave well alone. Doubt it ever gets fished, but it’s not the point, it’s on private land, so I won’t overstep (pardon the pun) the mark.

I fished the Aire, one evening a week ago. There was an old chap rolling a worm, but he hadn’t had much luck, but then he was fishing a rubber worm, after failing to purchase live ones. I had half dozen small Grayling and a small trout to spiders. Again it was a cool breeze from the North West and the water felt very quite, despite being a good level and clear.

It’s not been the best of seasons for me so far, but with luck it might change as we draw in to September. Next time out, I think I will take an old rim fly reel I’ve had since I was a boy. It would be good to get a strong fish on that old reel and hear it sing out again, funny how such a cheap little reel can bring so much pleasure. Hope everyone else is faring much better on the Yorkshire waters this month.
 

Pritts Apprentice

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Joined
Jul 17, 2007
Messages
532
Location
West Yorkshire
All this rain is making for some fabulous beck fishing. A couple of becks very local to me have produced some stunning fish last couple of outings. These fish are fat and fighting fit and at 8” in length are big for my little becks, carrying no more than a foot of water. This morning I had 5 fish between 9am and 12pm on a gold headed nymph, fished almost euronymph style, hardly any fly line out of the rings as there is just so little space between pots and with the enclosing vegetation. It’s good when it comes right and there are many days of hard work before you have a gem.

Main rivers have been fishing poorer, for me anyway. In the high water I have been out with the heavy lures, and despite clear water, I m still not getting any interest. Canoeists have been out in force making the most of the high water conditions on the Wharfe. Last couple I saw going over some falls had me a little worried. They were very cautious in their approach, the first one over capsized and the second got through dryshod. They weren’t foolish but at the same time didn’t appear too confident.

Next month, the lasts month, so let’s hope for some good fishing, before the close of this very short and awkward season. I might try my hand on a Stillwater if we have a nice late September. I always enjoy a late season rainbow on an upland reservoir and not had much chance to fish one so far this year. Make the most of the last few weeks and at least we are getting some water now.
 

Overmiwadrers

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Joined
Mar 25, 2018
Messages
516
Location
Yorkshire
Have to say that the becks and small rivers around my part of Yorkshire are fishing well to. The grayling stocks in one small river are looking particularly good , with lots of this years brood already growing well and the river producing plenty to 15 inches which are good fish for a small stream. Brownies doing well to

O M W
 

Pritts Apprentice

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Joined
Jul 17, 2007
Messages
532
Location
West Yorkshire
I had a walk along the banks of the upper Aire this morning, between Bell Busk and Airton. What a fabulous stretch of water this is, very beautiful today in the sunshine, a princess of a river. The water was at the perfect height and had that typical Aire clarity, which to me is always slightly milky, I think it comes from the limestone. The access is very good along this stretch, threading though level meadow grassland, with only occasional low trees, lining the bank, the most you would need is thigh waders. The river width is no more than 15ft and the water runs shallow (avg. 1ft) however the sides, where the main current flows are much deeper (3ft). You could quite easily fish along rod and enjoy yourself immensely fishing dries, spiders or upstream nymph, all visual fishing in the clear water. This is historic water and was enjoyed by the North Country school of fly fishing a century and more back.

Alas, today there was not a sole to be seen fishing and not much evidence on the bank side to show its fished very much at all. This seems sad, however this is very private water and belongs to Bowland Game anglers I believe and so no day tickets and in a way this might be a good thing as it keeps the river pristine. Even so it was missing a fisher today, it just seemed right for the river. Having sung this little river praises, all was not perhaps perfection. I looked keenly for fish, but saw none, not one, no shadows, no rises, no splashes, nothing. There was no fly life over the water, plenty of cow dungs on fresh pats in the fields. There were no dippers, no king fisher, no herons, and thankfully no gooseanders or cormorant.

This was not a stretch of river that would be regularly fishable, it needs water, as it was today, otherwise being so shallow, any dry spell would quickly render it unfishable. Below Bowlands water, Coniston Cold hotel have a nice stretch of day ticket water, slightly less accessible but eminently more fishable, as it runs, partway anyway, between wooded banks and is deeper overall. Think I might have to give it a day sometime in the spring next year, perhaps early May.

Returning to the car and changing my boots for slip on shoes, in between chatting to a black cat, a large sedge fly alighted on my shirt sleeve. A great meal of a fly, a few of those on the water might well bring forth the fish, methinks.

Finally, spent Friday afternoon on a new, larger beck, not more than a few short miles from home. A magical piece of water, lots of dippers, heron and a sparrow hawk working over the water and yes a hatch of olives and fat brown trout rising. Not easy to tempt, but a well presented size 20# parachute duster was the downfall of a few greedy takers who obliged me. A lovely height of clear water, flowing between big boulders and down slipways of smooth gritstone, bubbling runs, smooth glides, deep pots and swift, foamy currents tucked into dark banks of stone and shale, often with a long drop to the water. Ivy stems hanging down 30ft to trail in the water, made this feel like the Amazon in places, particularly with shafts of sunlight streaming through the canopy. 7ft rod country, but you could have fished an 8ft.

Well only 3 weeks remain to the end of season, I best get back on the Wharfe for a few more sessions before time runs out or the Barbel of the Swale prove to irritable through September.
 

Pritts Apprentice

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Joined
Jul 17, 2007
Messages
532
Location
West Yorkshire
Well almost a month into the new season and I have yet see a Wharfe fish, never mind catch one. I have had 5 forays so far this season, albeit very short sessions of no more than 2 hours around the middle of the day. I have seen very little hatching, other than an odd fly or two around 1:15 pm, Brook Dun/ March Brown I am not sure which, they both look so similar and today a couple of needle flies. I’ve fished dry and emerges predominantly in these very low, clear and cold water conditions, but no interest. Tried the nymph, no interest and in exasperation the lure, again no interest. It’s been bright and the air temperature cool, though it is warming. The wind has been cool but also light, however today it was warmer and from the south west, which made life more pleasant. The land is bone dry and the river a trickle, making for hard fishing, though fish have been caught.

Spring is getting into its stride though. The first of the sand martins have flown in and I was watching a pair of dippers busy building a new nest with the moss from the rocks. They were having to wet it before taking it up to the nest for building in, it was so dry. A couple of pied wag tails were giving me that look on the bank of ....this is pretty dire pal finding any insects. Even the goo-sander and cormorants have given up fishing for the moment. It’ll all come right but the river is desperate for water, at the moment it’s a boulder strewn desert. The odd decent run from last year has been filled in by gravel, but else where new deep channels have been cut, so it will be good to experiment and see how the changes fish this year.

The price rise at Bolton Abbey is appalling. It’s nice water and has a great history but it’s not worth what they want for a season or day ticket. It’s a real shame, as it was reasonable value for money and affordable to anyone keen and living close to fish a couple or more times a week.

I hope May brings some much needed water, just not too much or too quickly. We want heavy showers spread out over the weeks. once the trees get in to leaf and provide shade and food, I might have more success to write of in my fishing diary, here’s hoping so.
 
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haggstock

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Aug 25, 2012
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Location
Halifax
The price rise at Bolton Abbey is appalling. It’s nice water and has a great history but it’s not worth what they want for a season or day ticket. It’s a real shame, as it was reasonable value for money and affordable to anyone keen and living close to fish a couple or more times a
I didn’t buy a season rod last year as a bereavement meant I had a lot of organising to do , This year I was looking to subscribe again , but the new asking price just made me laugh . For £80 - ish , I’ve joined both the Leeds and Bradford angling associations at senior rates . I’ll probably have to travel a bit further and work a bit harder , and I’ll miss Bolton Abbey , but compared to their 2021 fee I’ve still got £640 in my pocket to explore other waters with . I can do a lot with that ,
 

Pritts Apprentice

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Joined
Jul 17, 2007
Messages
532
Location
West Yorkshire
I didn’t buy a season rod last year as a bereavement meant I had a lot of organising to do , This year I was looking to subscribe again , but the new asking price just made me laugh . For £80 - ish , I’ve joined both the Leeds and Bradford angling associations at senior rates . I’ll probably have to travel a bit further and work a bit harder , and I’ll miss Bolton Abbey , but compared to their 2021 fee I’ve still got £640 in my pocket to explore other waters with . I can do a lot with that ,
I think you made the right decision Haggstock. If you consider how much you would need to fish there to get a return on your spend, bearing in mind that conditions in certain years can really curtail how much you can do. Your never really going to reclaim the value. Yes, it’s nice water and well kept, has good mixture of wild and stocked fish and good hatches. But you can get too familiar with the same water and with Bolton Abbey the crowds will only keep coming, reducing your access to certain sections, not to mention lessening your piece and seclusion. There is some water which might be not too much further than what you travelled for Bolton Abbey, it’s on the Aire at Coniston Cold, I think there is a couple of miles, possibly more, belongs to Consiton Cold estate and there is a club/ association ticket, which includes the Tarn it’s £225/ £300 if your over 60. I have never fished it, but looked at it and it’s very traditional fly water. It’s the next section up after Bradford city water. The few times I have stopped and looked it is very quite with no one fishing. The river is also stocked. Check out their website it has all the info. Might be worth a day ticket to check it out.
 

jaybeegee

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Sep 25, 2017
Messages
1,642
Location
Yorkshire
I didn’t buy a season rod last year as a bereavement meant I had a lot of organising to do , This year I was looking to subscribe again , but the new asking price just made me laugh . For £80 - ish , I’ve joined both the Leeds and Bradford angling associations at senior rates . I’ll probably have to travel a bit further and work a bit harder , and I’ll miss Bolton Abbey , but compared to their 2021 fee I’ve still got £640 in my pocket to explore other waters with . I can do a lot with that ,
Which of the Bradford clubs did you join haggstock?
B
 

Pritts Apprentice

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Joined
Jul 17, 2007
Messages
532
Location
West Yorkshire
Finally an end to my stretch of blanks. I’d fished the resovoir without success on the Saturday, but had noticed the odd fish taking black buzzer, as they were trying to break through the waters surface film. Today, Sunday on the river Wharfe was different, I had a total of 21 fish within the hour, despite the exceptionally low, clear and cold water levels. My wader legs were number with cold, when I finally left the pool I was fishing. Now, before you believe me some type of magician for catching all these fish, unfortunately I am not, they were all recently stocked Trout and they fell without fail at each cast as soon as I got the technique correct, cast, pause, fast tweak, stop dead, fish on, played quickly, netted, unhook and release. As easy as that, a repetitive production line process. I meant to Stop after a dozen, but thought after so much time without my string pulled and rod bent, I best get some practice in, so doubled it. But was all rather, repetitive and unsporting, so I moved on.

What was a highlight were the aerial displays. A lot of swallows just arrived came on the scene and the air was filled with excited birds. To choose a metaphor, for what I witnessed would be a score of classical music and the birds the notes upon that score; diving, twisting, turning, ascending, sweeping, soaring, plunging, quickly, steeply, flashing, whirling, a pause, gliding, lifting and spiralling. What a display, you could feel the excitement, as they were coming together to feed and love. Yet some were so tired from the journey and the hectic greeting, they had to sit on a barbed wire strand and watch the show go on before returning to it. They truly are lovely birds with their dark blue backs, white undersides and trailing tail feathers. They were taking advantage of a hatch of midge, despite the cold conditions they seemed comfortable enough, thought they had probably been expecting more sun, like us all. It was so cold in the showers, even some of the lambs were hunched over and looked miserable. My hands despite gloves, felt painful, I think I was still a little inadequately clothed for the weather. It nearly sent me home at midday, but thankfully I stuck it out and by 1:45pm the sun, though not showing, warmed the air enough for me to enjoy the remainder of the afternoon.

I noticed a field full of Curlews, I never seen so many together in 1 place. They were very flighty though and despite the cover of trees took flight when they saw my movement.

The river is so low it provided plenty of opportunity to explore the river bed. Now I know where the bedrock is and where the holes are in this and the boulders fish can hide under. Low water is not necessarily a wasted fishing day, this knowledge will come in handy in the months and even years to come.

The highlight of my day was spotting a big wild fish in the clear water. It was one of those sights where I had spotted it and it had spotted me and both of Us were trying to leave a room on tip toe, thinking the other would not notice. The fish turned on its outward patrol and just a little more flicker of its tail to move back into shadow. Rather than flying dart like which it knew I would notice. I could see the undercut bank, overhung with the root balls of a couple of trees that it had swam under, but despite leaning up against, an accommodating ash, which leaned over the water it failed to re appear. I think it knew, just where I was waiting, we were keyed into each other thoughts. I tried for it later, from the opposite bank, with heavy tungsten nymph, slowly drifted into that hole under the bank and tweaked back, but no joy. Anyway it was fun stalking it in those clear conditions.

Well it’s raining today, let’s hope for a lift in water and temperature and perhaps we can get the season underway proper, here’s hoping so. I am not sure the ash I was leaning against would agree it’s leaf buds remained tightly wound, green and waiting.
 

Overmiwadrers

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Joined
Mar 25, 2018
Messages
516
Location
Yorkshire
A frequent theme this year with everyone I talk to is that the Grayling keep feeding and the Brownies are hard to find , same for me dry fly fishing for brown trout has been ultra slow but put a nymph on and you catch a grayling. Anyway Sunday morning on a local stream and starting to see a few risers the water that arrived yesterday though will help immensely as everything is so low and clear . Maybe if it warms up I will stop struggling it’s been a tough April
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