River Seven, Yorkshire

Tamed by the tamer beat of the Seven


Most of my attention on the River Seven lately has been on the new stretch, a tumbling, boulder-strewn frenetic moorland river. Time therefore to see how the lower beat is faring – a more sedate section of the river, in keeping with the gentler contours of the surrounding farmland.

The day had a faint nip of autumn in the air, with the temperature at around 14C when I got to the water. The river looked in fine nick, a bit of colour and the water nicely up thanks to the recent rain:


I thought I’d bow to tradition to start with and give a couple of spiders a rare airing, or watering, and stuck a partridge and orange on the point with a snipe and purple on the dropper. Rather poor specimens both in terms of their tying and of their condition, but I didn’t suppose the fish would be too bothered:


Rod was the usual seven-and-a-half foot Chas Burns 3 wt with a leader of around 11 ft. Decided to give the spiders an hour before switching if there was little action. Few fish were rising in the long, slow stretch I started on. After 25 fruitless minutes the line suddenly went taught and first fish of the day was onto the orange partridge:


Picked up another similar about ten minutes later. After a bit over an hour decided to switch to an emerger as I’d seen enough rises to convince me it would be a reasonable bet in water like this:


Came to one pool where the fish were rising like billy-ho. I thought I’d fill my boots but the little blighters resolutely refused to play ball. Eventually hooked one:


Then a couple more of similar ilk. The air was getting decidedly heavy and a roll of thunder in the distance suggested a deluge was on the cards. It didn’t materialise, and once the threat had passed the river seemed to go rather quiet.

I worked my way up, seeing the odd rise and hitting and missing half a dozen fish. Things weren’t really going according to script. The recent heavy rain had introduced a number of interesting new features into the river:


Things were getting a bit frustrating; with around three hours’ fishing behind me I’d had seven fish to hand. The river had by now slimmed down and had plenty of bankside vegetation to make things tricky. Short reverse side casts under the trees were required:


Eventually hit a nicely coloured little specimen:


Last stretch of the day was long and shallow with loads of fish moving.


The leader was clearly visible and the trout were having none of it. I switched the fly to a slightly larger, olive emerger and was rewarded by the last fish of the day:


Just short of four hours of pretty intense fishing had produced nine fish. I thought I might have been in for a bigger haul than that, but whenever has this game been predictable?

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