Sunday, 19 June 2011

Fishing notes: on the Ribble, Yorkshire.

I spent the afternoon on the River Ribble, Settle - Yorkshire. Arrived around 11.30am. Very good conditions. Disappointed to find the river still on the low side. Yet, despite the water level, there was a palpable freshness and vitaility about the river. There were no fish rising, nor any hatch of any significance. A few sedges about. I set up with a team of small spiders, starting off with a black spider on the point, patridge and yellow (variant) on the middle and a patridge and orange on the top. I considered placing a black and silver spider or a black pennel on the point - to possibly connect with some sea trout that were supposed to be in the river but I decided otherwise.

On the third cast, I took a thump and landed the first brownie of the day on the black spider. This followed with five more fish around the 7-8inches mark, two being caught on the partridge and yellow and the rest on the black spider. No monsters - but still great fun!

Around 4.00pm just before heading off, I took off the black spider and replaced it with a Grouse and Green spider. With this spider, I was thinking along the lines of sedge nymphs. Several more small fish followed on the Grouse and Green. I then connected into a very decent fish only to come off. All together, an enjoyable day with the wets. Yet, the day was made truely special when my 4 1/2 month year old baby boy gave me (with the obvious assistance of his Mother) his first Father's day card and present (priceless!)


  1. Martin, you've got some beautiful patterns on here - great work. I hope you don't mind if I steal some inspiration when I'm rebuilding my boxes. Lovely brown trout by the way!

    Forgive me for my ignorance, but how easy is it to fish for trout on rivers and streams in the UK and Ireland? I've read that just about all the flowing trout waters are private, pay to play fisheries (there are folks here in the states that would like nothing more than for this to happen here) and that trout fishing for the masses is largely limited to lakes/lochs, and that most average fisherman either fish the sea, or they fish for carp.

    Great blog you've got, I'm looking forward to more posts.

  2. Yes, there is a vibrant 'put and take fishing' scene in the UK. Mostly stocked fish and you pay per fish or catch and release. They can range from small ponds to 500 acre loughs and the quality and value for money will vary. They tend to be get vilified by certain people. My view is that they have their place in the wider scheme of things, and if they satisfiy people, then fine. I have always thought that if they did not exist, the pressures on the wild waters would be much greater. Some of them can be very good and some just don't appeal to people. Likewise, wild river fishing does not appeal to them.

    The public utility companies in the UK manage large resevoirs for fishing. For example Anglian Water in the Midlands have Rutland, Grafham, Eyebrook etc, and these are considered very good and large stillwaters, probably the best in the country. They are stocked but have much overwintered fish in them and they can offer really challenging and exciting sport. Or, Bristol Water company run Chew Valley and Bewl Water and they are considered to be excellent 'top of the water' fisheries with excellent buzzer fishing. Some of the UK's stillwater innovations have emerged from the these places, like the lures from Bob Church, or the buzzer imitations such as cove pheasants tail, green tag stick, bristol hopper' and the shipmans buzzer, for example. As I think you know, this is a big part of the trout fly fishing landscape in the UK.

    For Ireland, the best of the lough brown trout fishing is still considered by many, to be located in the West of the country - the big limestone loughs in Mayo and Galway, such as Conn, Corrib and Mask. And Sheelin in Country Cavan is still much respected. Fishing on these waters is free. However, due to the typology of the loughs and their sheer size, they are best fished from a boat and that is where they cost: boat, engine hire and ghille. Yet, there are many loughs all over the country that are accessible through fishing clubs, hotels etc for not big money for a day ticket. As for the rivers as well. It would be similar to the UK with much reasonable priced day ticket water available through clubs.

    I know of some small private syndicates when membership is closed - taking over strecthes of water and this is worrying.

    And as for clubs, my impression so far, is that some clubs can be very open towards new members and some can be closed. It just depends on the club I suppose and whey are in terms of attitude, development, finance etc.

    I was not aware of that development in the US, that is interesting. Is the fishing over there largely free? Do clubs have any ownership and what about fisheries etc.

    I hope this helps. All the best, Martin.

  3. Martin,
    Most waters here in the states are publicly owned - and thus free to fish (free, of course, being relative. There are fishing licenses, parking fees in many areas, park passes for the publicly owned or privately owned public parks. The parking fees can range from $3 to $10 for a day, most of these places sell seasonal passes that go from $30 to $100)

    There are a number of waters, and the number if growing, that are privately held, or at least, the land surrounding them is privately held, and thus there is little or no public access. Many states have adopted laws that state that the public has a right to use waters either by floating, or by staying below the average high-water mark (which is generally considered where vegetation on the bank gives way to the rock/sand/dirt banks).

    There are of course lakes and ponds that are completely privately held, and streams that are privately held. Water-rights laws vary from state to state, and just because you own the land surrounding a body, doesnt mean you own the rights to it, but it may.

    To muddy matters, some land owners pay no heed to public access, and will still attempt to close off public waters to all users, floating or afoot.

    There is a bit of an upswing in the number of fishing clubs that own or lease land on the fishing waters. They usually buy up the best beats on moving waters, and usually manage their still waters for trophy fisheries - which are generally catch & release.

    The number of streams and rivers stocked in the US is going down, generally - while still waters are usually the choice for put & take fisheries, especially impounded waters that would otherwise be flowing waters. Man made lakes = man made fisheries.

    From the sounds of it - a day's fishing in the UK can be inexpensive or very expensive, just like here in the states.

    While I rarely fish private pay-to-play waters, it normally costs me at least $40 to go fishing for a day, when factoring petrol to get there, the parking fee if I'm going a place with one, and other incidental costs. If I'm fishing tiny creeks close to home, I might get away with $5 in petrol and that'd be it.