Oxfolds Beck, North Yorkshire

Pesky aliens steal the show


Bloody cattle. I went up to the Duchy section of the Pickering Beck to do my regular invert sampling and found the field was now home to a herd of cattle. What was worse was that a big sign on the gate said ‘Beware of the Bull’. Well, that put paid to that. I’m going to have to find a new sampling site. So I abandoned that plan and went off to have a crack with the fly on the Oxfolds Beck.

I tackled up by the road and climbed into field – more cattle and not one but two bulls. I skirted round the perimeter, watched closely by a couple of suspicious cows but ignored by the big boys. I don’t like big beasts and was happy to reach the style that lets you onto the water. Then I realised I’d left my flipping wading staff in the car. The beck is very silty with some deep, well-disguised holes and can be hazardous. I needed my staff. So cursing mildly I started to trudge back when one of the cows decided to start bucking and rearing. Keeping a close eye on the bulls I quickened my pace, all the while glancing at the barbed wire fence at my side and wondering if my waders would survive if I had to do a rapid high-jump. I really am getting too old for this kind of malarkey. Anyway, I got back to the car and decided I’d best drive to the other end of the beat and start from there.

As I’ve mentioned before, Oxfolds, despite its modest dimensions, used to be highly prolific with a large head of big fish before it got ravaged by pollution. There are invariably trout-farm escapees, including quite a few rainbows.

The beck has been somewhat neglected over the past few years while the club has tried to sort out the pollution issue, so the fishing can be tricky. I use a six-foot three weight.

Anyhow, to cut a long story short I saw relatively few fish – certainly compared with a few years ago. One or two were rising and my emerger picked up a grand total of four fish – sadly all rainbows. The best one was pretty meaty and came from this narrow stretch of water towards the top end of the beat:

Nice to have a big fish on light tackle but it doesn’t really count because it is a stupid, fat, greedy rainbow trout.

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  1. Even though it is a fat bloated pellet pig, it must be great to be fishing. Hopefully in Scotland we will be fishing soon.
    The Beck looks fantastic, I should get down there sometime and give it a go.

    1. Great to hear from you David. Well, hopefully you’ll be back on the water in a few days. Shame about Scourie this year – never mind. If you’re ever down this way give me a shout and I’ll get you out on some of our waters!

  2. Hi Simon
    Great to read your missives again.
    Sadly no Scourie this year. I was looking forward to catching up with the gang again.
    Do the rainbows ever breed in your rivers? You must be similar climate to Derbyshire Wye. On other hand hopefully all the escapees should be sterile.

    1. Good to hear from you Graham! Yeah, shame about Scourie – still, next year (I hope!). Pretty sure the rainbows are all just escapees. I suppose I should knock them on the head. Hope you are managing to get some time on the water. See you in 2021 with a bit of luck.

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