The River Tees is not
actually in the Yorkshire Dales, it is in County Durham, though it once
formed the border between Yorkshire and Durham. It rises on the highest
of the Pennines, Cross Fell, before flowing into the impounded waters of
Cow Green Reservoir, an outstanding wild trout fishery in its own right.
As soon as the Rivers Tees escapes from Cow Green it cascades down the
impressive Cauldron Snout waterfall. It is from the foot of Cauldron
Snout that fly fishing on the River Tees starts, running for many miles
downstream. There is fishing on the River Tees above Cow Green
Reservoir, but it is even more inaccessible than the Tees below Cauldron
It must be pointed out that from High Force Waterfall, upstream to
Cauldron Snout, the upper River Tees is pretty difficult to access and
involves a long hike to get to most sections. Once on the river though
you are in for some outstanding fishing. The River Tees must have
one of the highest populations of brown trout in the whole of the UK,
not big fish, but certainly lots of them. There are grayling present in
the river from just above Middleton-in-Teesdale downstream for a
I have fished on the River Tees on many occasions, mostly fishing
matches and National Rivers Finals there. This intensive fishing has
given me a good understanding of the river, its fish and topography.
While many fly fishing techniques work well on the River Tees it is the
north country wet fly fishing (north country spiders) that
reigns. Supplemented with a few dry flies you will have a day to
remember on the River Tees in Upper Teesdale.
I fish the River Tees from just above Middleton-in-Teesdale to Cauldron
Snout. The trout that inhabit the river are typical wild brown trout;
hungry, but intolerant of a badly presented fly. Get the presentation
right and you'll have trout coming to your fly all day.
The River Tees will still fish well when swollen by heavy rain. Though
it may appear unfishable and unattractive the fish just move to slacker
water and keep coming at the fly. If things get too bad there is always
Cow Green Reservoir as plan B.
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