YORKSHIRE DALES FLY FISHING

STILLWATER FLY FISHING IN THE YORKSHIRE DALES

The Yorkshire Dales is well known for the quality of its rivers and the trout fishing and grayling fishing that can be found here. But we also have many lakes that have fly fishing for wild brown trout and rainbow trout. There are lakes to suit every taste ranging in size from very small to fairly large and to suit all abilities, from beginner to experienced. These stillwaters, like the Yorkshire Dales rivers, are set in outstanding surroundings, some are frequented by many anglers every week, but others are likely to only see a handful in a full trout season.

Starting with the smallest, Kilnsey Park is set right in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales with Kilnsey Crag, a magnificent limestone crag, as the backdrop. This is small stillwater flyfishing in the best surroundings possible for hard fighting rainbow trout. There can't be a more scenic small stillwater in the country! Kilnsey Park is particularly suitable for the beginner learning fly fishing for the first time and for this reason I like to teach my "Full Day Introduction To Fly Fishing Course" there. The 2 lakes at Kilnsey Park are very sheltered from strong winds, have open banks for unrestricted casting and are very well stocked with rainbow trout.

There are many more opportunities for stillwater rainbow trout fly fishing in the Yorkshire Dales. Fewston, Swinsty and Leighton reservoirs are much bigger than Kilnsey Park, and may seem daunting to the inexperienced fly angler. At over 100 acres each they are all very similar in size and character. Their waters are stained with peat of the moors from where they collect their water. This is typical upland trout fishing; these waters are not the rich larder of food that our rivers are, they are acidic as a result of the surrounding moors. This acidity restricts the amount of food available for the trout and as a result the rainbow trout can be hungry and not very selective. Other times the opposite can be true. Buzzers are always on the menu and a slowly drifted team of buzzers and nymphs can often be the key to some exciting sport. Lures and dry flies work well also. Orange is always a good colour to incorporate into your flies when fishing peat stained water; try a Pheasant Tail Nymph with an orange thorax. Black works well too. These well stocked lakes are a natural progression from small stillwaters for the inexperienced angler.

Why not spend a day with me and let me introduce you to reservoir fly fishing in the Yorkshire Dales. We can spend some time brushing up you fly casting skills. These bigger lakes often require a long cast (though not always) and are quite often windy. I can help you achieve more with your flycasting, which in turn will help you achieve more with your fly fishing. I give tuition in fly casting in windy conditions and coping with steep banks behind. We will look at the places to fish, the features to look for, how to get the most from your day. We will look at the many tactics employed on reservoirs and when to use each for better success. If you have never tried fly fishing with a sinking line before we can. Casting, retrieving, flies, methods, re-casting, etc.

One of the most relaxing ways of flyfishing is from a drifting boat, especially when you have the Yorkshire Dales to admire all around. Here in the Yorkshire Dales we have 3 fine lakes that have boats available for fly fishing for rainbow trout and brown trout. Well 2 actually! The third is just outside the Yorkshire Dales and though I hate to admit it, it is actually in....Lancashire! In the Yorkshire Dales we have Malham Tarn, a fine, but demanding, brown trout lake with limestone enriched waters and some pretty large trout. We have a little known gem called Coniston, run by Coniston Hall Hotel, stocked with very hard fighting rainbow trout. Coniston is very rich in fly life and is a buzzer or nymph fishers paradise. Stocks Reservoir is in Lancashire and is the nearest thing we have in the north of England to Rutland Water, Grafham, Chew or Bewl. This is a big lake by Yorkshire standards at about 300 acres. It is stocked with rainbow trout, brown trout and blue trout. These blue trout are superb sport and they give an unmistakable fight from the second you set the hook.

These 3 lakes give us a variety of opportunities for boat fishing in the Yorkshire Dales. Coniston Hall is a perfect size to learn the art of loch style flyfishing (where we drift with the boat angled sideways to the direction of the drift). Coniston Hall is fairly sheltered and is quiet, with only a handful of boats. I can give you instruction in fly fishing from a boat, starting with the flyfishing tackle required and used, how to enter the boat, setting it up for your day afloat, casting off, motoring, rowing, safety considerations. All this before we even think about the fly fishing. What to look for when deciding where to start, wind lanes, slicks, feeding fish and birds, etc. Setting the boat up for a drift, using the drogue, the fishing methods to be employed, landing fish without them snagging the boat or drogue, boat etiquette, etc. Yes there's a lot to boat fishing, let me get you started the right way!

Stocks Reservoir, being much bigger and deeper than Coniston, gives us many more things to consider and is a good venue for tuition in competition loch style fly fishing. Wind always plays a bigger part in the proceedings when fishing a larger lake and makes things more difficult, you will need learn to cope with the wind when fly fishing from a boat. Stocks Reservoir is a good venue for just relaxing fishing. Let me take the hard work out of it for you by 'captaining' the boat and taking you to the current hotspots and showing you the latest match winning tactics.

Malham Tarn is different again. Not the place for the inexperienced or for fly fishing tuition as such. More the place to try out what you have done before and to hone your fly fishing skills on the wily wild brown trout in this shallow fertile lake. Unlike Stocks Reservoir and Coniston Hall, Malham Tarn is a natural lake, formed when the ice sheet retreated after the last ice age. It is fed by limestone streams and it sits on glacial deposits providing rich feeding for the brown trout which inhabit its pristine waters. Fly fishing on Malham Tarn is not at all easy, but you could be rewarded with a trout of a lifetime!

 Wild brown trout fly fishing is also available on Scar House Reservoir, located at the very head of Nidderdale, at the headwaters of the River Nidd. The surroundings are stunning with high moors and windswept hills. It provides us with good wild fishing for brown trout from the bank only, but due to its position it is best fished on calmer days. Scar House trout are free rising and give good sport throughout the brown trout season. You can split your day here with fishing for brown trout and grayling on the River Nidd in the valley below. Scar House Reservoir is well regarded by the few who fish it. This is the nearest we have in Yorkshire to fly fishing on a Scottish loch. I can guide you around Scar House or teach you the art of flyfishing for wild brown trout from the bank, confident that you will enjoy the fishing and the sense of solitude it will give you.

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