River Seven, Yorkshire

Exploring the upper reaches of the Seven: tough going but ultimately rewarding


Keen to cram in as much fishing as possible before the season’s end, I decided to have a crack at the top end of the River Seven on the North York Moors on a stretch of water I haven’t yet fished.

When I looked at the river earlier in the week it was running too high and fast to risk wading. But in the meantime it had fined down nicely and was looking eminently fishable when I arrived late morning. The air was crisp, with steam on the breath and a light mist rising off the water. I decided to start off with a small goldhead hare’s ear on a 6ft 3wt with shortish leader. The water looked in fine nick:


I fished the first pool for about 15 minutes without troubling a trout so moved on. Fishing this water is slow because the boulder-strewn bed means you have to edge your way upstream with extreme caution. In the next pool I had one on then off again. I hoped it wasn’t going to be one of those days. Then a touch of resistance as I was drawing the line in and bingo, first fish of the day and a record!


Yes indeedy, the smallest trout of the year! Well, I’m counting it so no blank today. A couple of casts later another tiddler on:


Well, at least they were getting bigger. Carried on through water like this:


And eventually connected with a nicer specimen, still on the goldhead:


Ninety minutes’ of fishing had produced three little trout; tough going. Came to some deep, slack water above a natural weir:


Fish were rising beneath the trees on the right, so I put on a foam-headed emerger. I’ve tied a few with really fat heads to improve buoyancy. I’ll find out if the oversized blob of foam won’t be to the trout’s liking:


Well, it didn’t seem to bother them because once I’d found my range and put the fly over the rise there was a slashing take and I had a really nice fish on: was bringing it to hand when it thrashed violently and disappeared back into the water – taking the fly with it. It was about 11″ I’d guess. Ah well. Anyway, couple of casts later and another good ‘un was on. This time I brought him in:


They wised up after that and disappointingly despite continued rises I failed to entice another, so moved on up the river and back into faster water like this:


I continued prospecting with the emerger despite the lack of rises and picked up a small fish before reverting to the goldhead. This soon produced a nice one:


and his little brother:


I’d been fishing for just over three hours and had eight to the hand – hard work. I decided to call it a day and made my way back along the bank. I came to a nice pool that hadn’t produced earlier and decided to wang the nymph in from the bank. I cast a few feet upstream and let the fly drift along, following the leader with my rod tip. I’ve got a feeling I might have been doing something akin to French nymphing, although to be frank I’m not entirely certain what French nymphing is. I was watching the coils on my leader (my leader is highly coiled because I am too lazy to change it and leave it wound on the reel when I tackle down) when I noticed a slight tautening. I lifted and was chuffed to have hooked the best fish of the day, a real belter of maybe 12″:


That’s a cracking wild trout for these parts. So, on what may turn out to be my last day of trouting this year, nine fish from a stunning little river.

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